One of the first times I heard someone at Highlands talk about, “being a better man,” was at the very un-glamorous hour of morning dip. I was a camper at the time, but many of us would file down to the Towers for a quick dip in the morning before breakfast.
This was a particularly chilly morning. I remember, I for one, was not thrilled at the prospect of jumping into the brisk waters this northern Wisconsin dawn. But it was just one of those things that we did. And I think we did it because all our counselors did it. And if they were doing something a little wacky, a little out of the ordinary, a little challenging then I wanted to be part of it, too. Because, to me, these guys were the coolest of the cool. They were my role models in life. In attitude and approach to life, too. I wanted to be like them.
I believe it was Luke Hoyne who was particularly vocal about not feelin’ the morning dip on this particular morning. And I still remember Scott Jensen’s response to his trepidation.
“It makes you a better man.”
Luke (and I, and many others) ended up jumping in on that frosty morning.
Camp Highlands is a place where we are invited to participate in the change in our very own natures; to challenge our assumptions and attitudes about things that might be “too cold,” too daunting or too difficult, and digging a little deeper into our souls, knowing that whatever challenges we may face, we come out on the other side. We know we will be better men for having tried. At first, we often surprise ourselves with our own success. But success breeds success, and the next thing you know, making the hard or difficult choices (other people might naturally want to shy away from) become easy choices for us. We do it because we know we will be better for it; and when we’re lucky, the world will be a better place, too.
So how about it, men of Highlands? What experience did you have at Camp Highlands where you learned a valuable life lesson about how to be a better man?
Since I’ve become the Director at Camp Highlands, I end almost all of my Sunday Assembly’s and all of my End of Term Banquets with our most commonly held belief at Camp Highlands. That we are all striving to be Better Men, learning to be more Worthwhile Men, and that makes us Highlands men in the end.
My Grandfather, Snow, was well known for his common refrain, “How lucky we are,” and I couldn’t agree more. We are so very lucky to have Camp Highlands in our lives. We hope you feel the same way about having it in yours.