Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Tracy Bachmann | January 28, 2019

We’re cooking up good stuff for 2019!

We’re zooming into 2019! Here are some things you can look forward on the ol’ internet…..
1. A new website….soon! You’ll be able to more easily access the information you need, but you’ll still have access to the great stuff you’ve grown accustomed to – photos, online registration, etc.
2. We scored big with a special delivery from our 1964 camp photographer, Robert Esposito. Dozens of beautiful, previously unseen photos will delight you on our social media. Make sure you follow us on Instagram to keep up.
3. Keep your eyes peeled for lots of new videos on the Camp Highlands YouTube page.

We can’t wait for our 116th camping season, which is less than 150 days away on this cold January 28 afternoon. Stay warm out there, folks!

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Andy Bachmann | July 19, 2016


There is something magical about the full moon this time of year. It peeks up above the treeline about the time the fellows are headed down for evening dip. The beautiful skies the last few days, combined with the magical silver bridge that starts small but stretches across the water as the night grows is a wonder to behold.

On Sunday night during our brief intermission at Sunday Night Sing, the sun broke out of the clouds and an incredible double rainbow appeared above Hooks Point. Sunday would have been my Dad’s 76th birthday, and it definitely felt like a warm greeting from the man who has meant so much to this place. So I did what I figured he’d do. We all ran outside to ooh and ahh at the skies before heading back in for the second half.

Life has shifted into a gentle flow around camp. The boys are in the routine; the new guys aren’t as baffled by all those bugle calls and the kids who were proclaiming to be homesick are having a harder and harder time proving they’re not having a blast. Most cabins have made it through all our activities, and some new favorites are popping up. It’s great to watch these guys go from Archery to Ultimate Frisbee to Water Skiing to Crafts. Yet another reminder how awesome camp can be.

Most of our trips are either out and back, out on the trail or about to head out. Seniors are in Pictured Rocks, Isle Royale and about to head out to the Boundary Waters and Apostle Islands. This Wednesday Cubbies head out for their second overnight camping trip of the term. This time they go to Pallate Lake, a place Kent Overbey proclaims to be one of the best campsites in the northwoods.

Life is good up north.

3 Responses

  1. Paulina Benton says:
    July 19th, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    What an awesome and passionate description of what´s going on back there. Thanks!!

  2. John Zokovitch says:
    July 19th, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Love the posts Andy. You do a nice job of painting the picture so that it almost feels like being there. Glad too for that rainbow, a message from your dad.

  3. Kris Milner says:
    July 19th, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    Up North is the best! Sorry John will not be doing it this year, but happy that his sister Kate is a counselor at Clearwater! John’s working in an accounting job in Ft Worth this summer, and I get to visit him next weekend!. Things evolve

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Andy Bachmann | June 29, 2016


This morning, walking up to flag raising I overheard one of our staff guys comment to a young camper as he was gazing out over the boating bay, “Another day in paradise, eh?” The young man simply grinned and nodded. Another day in paradise, indeed.

It’s been quite a week at Camp Highlands. This past Saturday we had our 4th of July Army/Navy Track Meet (on the 25th of June…don’t ask…) where it was LITERALLY neck and neck the entire time, INCLUDING our final lap on our final relay which saw an absolute TIE at the finish line, resulting in the first ever TIE of the track meet. At the announcement in the Dining Hall, with the anxious Admiral Armstrong and General Fox waiting to hear who would bear the brunt of the challenge, what I thought would be a disappointing announcement actually produced the opposite result. The hall erupted in cheers, and a spontaneous chant of, “Highlands! Highlands! Highlands! We’re all friends!” Everyone was thrilled—and the General and Admiral thought it only fair that they BOTH participate in the challenge. Go Highlands!

On Sunday at our Assembly, after telling the boys the story of I’m Third, we had some powerful testimonies from some of our men from Cabin One. It was great. Then, with a heavy heart I inducted Ross Freeland into the Camp Highlands Hall of Fame, and announced that we have renamed our ball fields, “Freeland Field.”

And then we added a new Honor Camper Quality to our list of 17. The new quality added is one that is exemplified in the I’m Third motto. This trait encourages us to measure our sense of self esteem and pride against a higher moral code; a moral code that places our value in the ways in which we act and interact with the world around us, not by the amount of “likes” we get on our selfies.

Truth is we are flawed people; we make mistakes and fall short; we let our vanity take advantage of our morals, and our desires overcome our hopes and visions. And that is just part of who we are. Which is why this value is a good one to have.
This value affirms us in our brokenness, and invites us to give life a go again; to try, and to fail, and to try again.

So we add our 18th honor camper quality. It is, “Humility.”
Author CS Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”

Contrary to what popular culture may want us to believe, we believe that the greatest rewards in this life come from our ability to live well, love others and be of good service. And this trait is the cornerstone to understanding that and living into it well. And this place is one where we are affirmed in our willingness to try again, to be good to one another, and to have a great time while doing it. Another beautiful day in paradise, indeed.

Better. Wortwhile. Highlands.

2 Responses

  1. John Zokovitch says:
    June 29th, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    Love this post Andy. I know how much Johnny thought of Ross and I am glad he will think of him every time he sets foot onto Freeland Field. I’m so thankful for you, your staff and family, and everyone at Camp Highlands.

  2. LIz powell says:
    October 7th, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Nicely said Andy. I love how you brought the number of likes into their reality in contrast to what we “mature” and broken adults know about leading a worthwhile life.

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Andy Bachmann | July 17, 2015



Completely in the Flow on Plum Lake

And just like that, we’re in the flow…

“Flow” is a big thing at Camp. There is only one way for our waiters to flow around the kitchen to pick-up food or drop off dishes. When we remove the tables and benches from the Dining Hall there is only one door that we use; and whether we’re clearing it out or putting it all back in determines which way we will flow. When we all are in the flow then things are running smoothly, all systems are “go” and life is good.

This week we work towards flow in a more pseudo-psychological way. When things are flowing then that means campers no longer have to ask where to put the wash buckets, which way they should go to Riflery or what we do during rest hour. When we all know where we’re going and what we’re doing, then life is good.

I’m happy to report we’ve found the flow.

Camp is bustling. Our activities are in full-go mode. Cabins 15, 17 and 18 are out on their three-day canoe trips, and our two Isle Royale trips and Pictured Rocks trips are already on the trails. We’ve played Capture the Flag, had our first Division Day and the ladies from Red Pine Camp came over for a social. We know each others names, have figured out who goes where and with what and we know what all those bugle calls mean.

I love it when we hit the flow. It means the odds of homesickness have dropped dramatically. It means our staff and full termers have gotten over the “newness” of second term and are feelin’ good. And it means we can all get out and do what we’re here to do; which is make the most of our Highlands days. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s 78 degrees and there’s a sweet wind blowing!

So on that note, I guess I’ll get my own flow on and get outside! It’s a beautiful day at Highlands!


Better. Worthwhile. Highlands.

Ps. Check out the new pic’s on our gallery and catch a glimpse of your favorite camper in the flow!

4 Responses

  1. Tim Bachmann says:
    July 20th, 2015 at 12:33 am

    Andy! Great picture of the solo sailor!!! That’s on to have painted up by your favorite artist!! Nice work on the blogs – loving them.

  2. hilda sitges says:
    July 21st, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    i love this idea of the flow, will have Esteban Esqueda teach us how to make it work at home as well.
    it was great seeing you last week and having the opportunity to have my son out for dinner and shopping salsas. I hope it was not a terrible idea to bring many of them back to camp. I guess it was his way of sharing some Mexican flavour with his friends.
    best, Hilda : )

  3. Denise (Gustafson) Hayward says:
    December 5th, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    I am in need of email contact..please. I was watching American Pickers tonight and they purchased Tom Swift books. I remembered the family camp that I alphabetized your entire library to find that termites had invaded. I told your dad and your mom and showed them where. Now I have a 4 year old grandson. That I realize I need to get on the ball. WHEN is family camp?

    • January 30th, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      Hi Denise! We’ll contact you about Family Camp. Indeed you are correct, there are several Tom Swift books floating around Highlands! Nothing like the real deal books with paper pages! 🙂

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Andy Bachmann | July 15, 2015

CHOF’s on Parade

I had an interesting realization the other day.
I was sitting with THREE of my former counselors at supper. And there were only 4 of us at the table.

How lucky am I?

Someone recently remarked to me that they thought it might be odd that we have SO many CHOF’s on staff. To me, it would be odd NOT to have them here.

I’m a big fan of depth; whether it is on my staff here at Highlands, or really in any worthwhile organization. At a camp, having guys who are 19 years old is important. They can be your high energy, every minute is an opportunity to do something zany, let’s go ahead and play dodgeball for two hours kind of guys. And their energy and enthusiasm drives camp—keeps it action packed and adventurous. And we need that- and we love that.

But it is also important to me to balance that with our seasoned veterans- our 24 year old guys who are swinging through Highlands during their grad school years, or as a last gasp before they head into the corporate world. These guys can still bring the enthusiasm, but they’re also the guys who are willing to step up to leadership opportunities; whether it is leading our big trips or teaching fellow staff members about trip safety and cabin bonding. They are gold.

And then I have our CHOF’s (Camp Highlands Old…Fellas). The CHOF’s are those of us (yes, us…) who range in age from 27-77. Dave runs the trip room. Otter helps there, and pretty much anywhere else he’s needed. When not at Highlands, Loren is a teacher in Kansas; here he teaches canoeing. Kent is a retired teacher and cross-country coach. Here he leads our low-ropes course, and is the head counselor of our youngest guys. I have 14 guys over the age of 40 on staff.

The value of having this 60 year swing in staff age is that I have a grounded, well-rounded group of guys who can bring their passion for all things Highlands, and provide the kind of coverage and decision making skills necessary to ensure that our campers have an incredible experience here. Their history at Highlands (heck, I have a few 19 year old guys who already have 10 years at Highlands!) means our values and the qualities we hold dear run deep. Both (2!) of our new staff men caught on pretty quick to the Highlands Way. My hope is your campers catch the spirit as well. I believe that having the old guys around is just as important as having the young. And I consider myself quite lucky to have the opportunity to bring them all back, year after year after year. To me, this is just one of the reasons why we have thrived for so long at Camp Highlands. And, to me, it is so cool to have my first counselor here, my last counselor here, and not one but TWO of the guys in the middle.

Better. Worthwhile. Highlands.

From right to left, AB's last counselor, Craig Ericksen, his first counselor, Dave Baker, and one from the middle, Jim DiDomenico

From right to left, AB’s last counselor, Craig Ericksen, his first counselor, Dave Baker, and one from the middle, Jim DiDomenico

3 Responses

  1. Jackie Langas says:
    July 15th, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    The varied ages of all the counselors is one of the things that makes Camp Highlands a very special place!

  2. Kris Milner says:
    July 15th, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    Absolutely, such a great strength of staff at camp for my son’s five years as a camper and now in his third year as a counselor. It is amazing! He is just departing for an 8 day hike on Isle Royale leading a group of 6 guys carrying in and out all of their food and supplies to hike 110 miles.
    Please pray for their good weather and fortune. Highlands Rah!

  3. Julie Ott says:
    July 20th, 2015 at 12:38 am

    What a great article. As a mom of campers (and now seasoned counselors), seeing young counselors made me confident that my campers would benefit from the electric energy that youth provides. Seeing the more mature staff allowed me, as a mom, to be confident that the electric energy would be safely contained! Older counselors provide security to parents who may be separated from their children for the first substantial length of time, but more importantly, they allow campers the security of exploring and growing while knowing that someone who looks and acts just a bit like mom or dad (or grandpa or grandma) will know exactly what to do or say if they encounter a rough spot or just need some advice.

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