Archive for the ‘Worthwhile man’ Category

Tracy Bachmann | July 13, 2017

This Matters

Friendship, unplugged, fun, outside of our comfort zones, nature, becoming our best selves. This matters.

I was recently talking with a father of one of our campers. He shared how his son was receiving a LOT of pressure to attend the summer clinics of his chosen sport. The coaches were holding out starting position offers like bait, and head-shaking shame if this boy chose a path different from the one they were suggesting. Fortunately for us, the boy (and family) didn’t take the bait.

We have staff here who still remember when Division I athletes would come to Highlands. Our program director remembers how during free time, these athletes would pull out every heavy object at camp to haul around Senior Row. Meanwhile, they were also leading trips through the wilderness of the north woods; teaching boys the importance of hard work and perseverance in achieving one’s goals; and modeling for them the honor dignity of being a well-rounded human being. Not just an all-star athlete.

This father I was speaking with said the decision for their family was an easy one. “My son is not going to be a professional athlete. So skipping the summer sessions should not feel like he’s sacrificing a career. Five, ten years from now, none of that stuff will matter. THIS matters.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Better, Worthwhile, Highlands,
AB

4 Responses

  1. July 13th, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Love this!! Let the kids be. Let them work hard and achieve things and fail at things and have some fun and learn hard things. Let them be better than the other kids in one area and worse in another. It’ll be ok. They will learn to appreciate their fellow humans so much more. 4 weeks at camp is the best thing in a boys life. Being a boy. Learning from other men. Figuring out who they are away from the ball field. Finding an identity that has nothing to do with their home life, or school life, or sports life. It is just purely who they are. Love Camp Highlands for that.

  2. Mary Sennott-Shaw says:
    July 13th, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    Wise words from a wise dad!!! Well thought out decision! Bravo, Sir to both you and your fortunate son! I can think of nothing that gives a young man better or more tools for life than summers (the more the better) at Camp Highlands.

  3. July 14th, 2017 at 5:55 am

    We need to remember to let our children live in the present moment. It’s gone in a blink.

  4. Kris Milner says:
    July 21st, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Highlands is the best! John drove there this week from his job in Fort Worth, Tx just to hang out after being a camper and counselor for 10 years. Highlands Ra

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Tracy Bachmann | July 1, 2017

Strong Foundations

Cairns – not just a pile of rocks.

Several cairns have popped up around camp. At it’s most basic, a cairn is a pile of stones. But cairns have meanings other than *just a pile of rocks. Cairns mark the trail for our guys hiking across Isle Royale right now. Cairns can be found on the beaches of Lake Superior, possibly denoting a place or a time of significance for somebody. And at last week’s Sunday assembly, I talked about how our honor camper qualities and our camp motto can serve as cairns or wayshowers for us in our time at Highlands—and beyond. Now, we’ve got all these rock piles around camp. Which I love.

It’s a nice reminder that these guys aren’t just running around, tossing Frisbees and balls, paddling canoes and kayaks, sailing or skiing across the lake, or jumping in to the chilly waters for kicks. It shows that they’re also taking to heart the things that make camp so worthwhile. They’re recognizing that the words, “if he will, he can” aren’t just words; they’re goals accomplished, new friends made, new experiences tried. They’re building their own little way showers, using the stones of experience and opportunity to become a better, worthwhile, Highlands man. And they’re doing it all with a big ol’ grin on their faces.

Better, Worthwhile, Highlands.

– Andy

And now for some general updates…

We’re heading into our last week of first term, if you can believe it! Our trippers start to return this weekend – the Seniors have been hiking on Isle Royale and Pictured Rocks, sailing on Lake Superior and canoeing in the Boundary Waters. Juniors have been hiking in the Porcupine Mountains and will all return by this afternoon. If your kid is anything like ours, trip stories will trickle out over the coming year – it’s one of my favorite things about Camp.

Today’s theme day is Hobbit Day! The weather is gorgeous this morning – sunny, clear and calm. A great day for waterskiing. Tuesday night we’ll head into Sayner for the fireworks show, Wednesday night is Stunt Night, Thursday is the Kerchief Ceremony and then….we’re on to Friday and the final picnic and banquet!

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Andy Bachmann | July 5, 2016

A CELEBRATION OF INDEPENDENCE

Flag in Dining Hall

Our flag from 1908 (Camp was 8 years old by then!) hangs proudly in the dining room

The Fourth of July is a little funny around here. Really, it’s just like any other day–except that we have the boys board buses to head into Sayner for a front row seat at the Sayner firework display. Although it’s SUPPOSED to be a surprise, truth is most of them already know. But that doesn’t make it any less fun.

Yesterday morning I had an all camp contest to see who could tell me the year and presiding President was when the flag that hangs in our Dining Hall hung over the capitol. There are 46 stars.

Believe it or not, a number figured it out. Whether it is because they are history buffs (which a few folks are) or because they remembered from our Teddy Roosevelt Theme Day last year, in total 14 boys got it right. (The answer is 1908, Teddy Roosevelt; but it’s special because the 46th state was admitted to the Union on the 4th of July of that year. Cool, huh?)

Here at Camp Highlands we celebrate the gifts of independence. Not in a, “Rah, Yay, America!” way, but in a way that is perhaps a little more in tune with the character of independence that fostered such actions to make this country great so many years ago. The gift of self-rule; self-control and personal responsibility are high on our list of what celebrating independence is all about.

Another contest I had (and will continue to have until Wednesday noon) is to see who can memorize our 18 Honor Camper Qualities and recite them in front of everyone in the Dining Hall. It’s a daunting feat; one that Hans F., Brewster H., Declan M., Jack R. and Quinn B. have already taken on, and accomplished. Impressive acts of initiative and leadership that are serving to inspire us all.

This is the kind of independence we cherish at Camp Highlands. When young men aren’t afraid to take on a task and see it through to completion, for the honor, pride (and ice cream) the accomplishment merits.

How lucky we are.

Better. Worthwhile. Highlands.

AB

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Andy Bachmann | June 29, 2016

ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE

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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Tracy Bachmann | March 14, 2016

Sad news

89889545-B3C5-479A-AF60-608EF5051F5FIt is with deepest sadness that we pass along the news that our beloved friend and Highlands man Ross Freeland has passed away.

After a valiant battle with late stage gastric cancer, he passed away earlier today with his wife and son, Anna and Eli, and his mother and father Jani and Jim by his side.

Ross influenced hundreds of young men and women through his teaching, coaching and counseling. One of his most outstanding traits is that he brought out the very best in all of us; inviting us to his positive world view and the simple but honest belief that if we will, we can. His never-ending positivity, optimistic view and heart of deep kindness will be a beacon for all of us to look to in all the days ahead.

Memorial service plans are have not yet been determined, but as soon as we have a time, place and date we will be sure to let you know.

In the meantime, do what Ross would want us to do. Have a catch. Watch the sunset. And live your life with meaning, putting God (however God is known to you) first, others second, and be third. Just like Ross.

4 Responses

  1. Riley Ewen says:
    March 14th, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    So sad to hear this. If someone from Camp Highlands can get me in contact with Jim and Jani and Anna and Eli for me to send a personal note, I’d greatly appreciate it. I don’t have any contact info. My prayers are with the Freeland family, and I’m very thankful to God for this worthwhile man.

  2. Kris Milner says:
    March 14th, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    This is humongous sadness for the Highlands family! Barely getting over the loss of Mike, now Ross! Stay strong, Highlands, and continue the Worthwhile Way. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, The Milner family, John, camper 2008-2012, staff 2013-2015

  3. Tom Sullivan says:
    March 14th, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Owen Sullivan and the Sullivan family are devastated by this sad news. We send our thoughts and prayers to the Freeland family. If we can live life with half the spirit that Ross did, we will be better people. A worthwhile man indeed.
    Tom (75-78), Owen (13-15), Laura and Emma Sullivan.

  4. Rusty Magner says:
    March 18th, 2016 at 12:01 am

    Ross was certainly a worthwhile man and lead my sons to be the same. He will be missed. Tonight’s wake for Ross was very sad, it was difficult to imagine how quickly he left us. Reuniting with so many friendly Highlands staffers this evening re-affirmed what a remarkable person Ross was and how fortunate we are to have a place like Highlands to call home.
    I just registered my youngest for his first summer at Highlands and look forward to him becoming a worthwhile man, like me and his brothers. And of course, Ross Freeland. #I’m Third

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