Thank you all at Camp Highlands for all you do to make camp such a wonderful experience for all boys, and in particular, our little one during first term.
Our son and his friends built these elaborate cities made of pine needles and twigs on the morning of pick-up. That kind of play has just continued at home. He is building forts, playing outside, desperate for more board games, and clamors to be read to and read himself. (He ADORED his counselor! )Yes, he’s always loved these things, but it’s with a sweet intensity that is so noticeable. In our tech-crazy world, this is the respite he needed to reconnect to all he loves.
Thank you and your staff for helping him continue to grow into himself. He tells us daily how ready he is to return (he would like it to be sooner than next summer).
– parent from Madison, WI
“Our son has had an amazing year at school, due in part to the ego-building summer at Highlands which set him in the mindset to have a successful year.”
– parent from Bainbridge Island, WA
“I’ve joked before that every single day someone in our house is wearing something with the camp logo…today was the first time we had matching shirts! I can’t tell you how important camp is to my [four] boys, it even surprises me. I see daily the influence it’s had on their lives.”
– parent from Purcellville, VA
“Thanks for everything you all have done for Evan and Colin through the years. Their mom and I are convinced that their Highlands experience as campers, and especially as counselors, has been one of the chief reasons they have turned out to be such incredible young men. We’re very proud of both of them and very grateful to you all.”
– parent from Chicago, IL
“It is hard to put into words the value of Highlands. I was concerned about sending my not-even-8-year-old son last summer, but my worries for naught – it was better than we could have imagined. He loved it, he is begging to go back, and there is no doubt that Highlands will now be a part of every summer for our family. I will never forget the phone call I got after my husband picked him up – begging me to sign him up immediately for next summer. Months later, Zach still talks about the Army-Navy games, Sunday Sing, paddling with friends, swimming across the lake, having countless buddies and something to do everywhere you turn. He came home changed – more confident and outgoing and willing.”
– parent from Gainesville, FL
“Each aspect of camp seems to work together to create an atmosphere where he can grow and mature. We are extremely thankful for all the time and energy that so many people give to CH. Senior Row was a great experience for him. No doubt due to the leadership of the counselors and campers.”
– parent from Holland, MI
“Going to camp for a while now, I realized a couple of years ago how camp effected me so much, even when I went back home to the craziness of school, I found myself taking the qualities above Ellsworth the Moose’s head along with me. The great thing about CH is that everyone there becomes a more Worthwhile man. Like this past summer all the senior guys (14-16 year olds) got around a fire and talked about what they appreciated about each other, life, and how much CH meant to them. I’m pretty sure that most guys my age would never do that, so that just shows how extraordinary the place really is.”
–15-year old from Naperville, IL
“Activities are the best! You get to do things here you never do at home like archery, rifelry and water skiing.”
– 13-year old from West Chicago, IL
“I like water skiing and sailing because I love the water, and Plum Lake is awesome!”
– 12-year old from San Francisco, CA
“The best thing about Camp is the friends I have made.”
–11-year old camper from Gudalajara, Mexico
“Just the people. Everyone is so nice, that if you’re walking around and you see somebody, they’ll say hi even if they don’t know you. People are just really friendly to each other.”
–10-year old Camper from Chicago, IL
“Almost everything that defines me as a person is a consequence of working at Camp. Consideration for others, a desire to work with youth, a deep abiding love and respect for nature, and a sense of spirituality. All of these things are because I made the best choice of my life in 1993. Oh, and pep. Gotta have pep.”
–Nick Katzmarek, current staff
“When I think back on my time at Camp Highlands, I’m struck by the realization that so long as I continue to draw breath, my experience here continues. It started when I was a camper, persisted across my years on staff, and though I took a 24-year break before returning again for Friends and Family in 2016, camp always had a fixed grip on the person I was becoming, on the Highlands Man that I proudly am, and that I see my two boys developing into with each precious opportunity they have to come up north and be part of it all – to add to it, and to take something with them that they couldn’t find anywhere else. The Highlands history is a vibrant, dynamic history, living on in each one of us lucky enough to experience it, and I feel blessed and fortunate to be able to send my kids here and do our small role in furthering that history, and to be among the fortunate few to benefit from the magic that happens up here on the shores of Plum Lake. Thank you for that.”
–Jim Demos, former camper and now-parent of Highlands boys
“Camp Highlands has always been brilliant among the greatest privileges and opportunities and treasured experiences of life on this earth, all of which have created priceless and indelible memories. Camp for me was always beautiful, exciting, adventurous, educational and inspirational with horizons unlimited.”
–Ken Nelson 1924 – 1931, ’34, ’35, as quoted in “To Brag Little, to Show Well”
“Best memory at Camp? Starting camp in 2001 as Cub in cabin 22/21, and returning for 10 summers to become the counselor of that same cabin.”
–Pat Gallagher, Highlands man since 2001
“Like most boys, I listened to and, for the most part, followed the examples and standards set by my parents, often, I realize in retrospect, because they were around to ensure I did so. However, not until I attended Highlands, separated from my family, did I have the opportunity to independently choose my own conduct. Camp afforded me the opportunity to stand on my own two feet, and it surrounded me with wonderful people who set a fine example of positive behavior while I took those first steps toward manhood. What struck me about Highlands, from day one, was how effortlessly “good” all the people there are. The counselors are all genuinely nice men who come back, year after year, because they love the kids and the fellowship of camp, itself. The campers were great kids, ones who I wanted to be like. Everyone always seemed to want to do everything the right way, the good way, even if that meant it took more time, or was a little harder, or, especially, if it meant putting one’s self “Third.” Once I entered adulthood, I recognized that not all people adhere to such a code of conduct. However, the summers at Highlands, “on my own,” had well prepared me to stand on my own two feet. The choice to do the right thing happened repeatedly in high school, in college, as a naval officer, as a businessman, and, most importantly, as a husband and father. Having those summers at Highlands under my belt made the difficult decisions easy. My sons, Reed and Davis, both five-summer campers and fourth-generation Highlands Men, occasionally face these decisions. It’s no coincidence that when they need a little help choosing their paths, I need only ask, “What would an Honor Camper do?”
– Scott Altorfer, former camper and now-parent of two sons at Highlands
“Camp Highlands deserves most of the credit for the kind of person I have become as an adult. The people who lead me years ago continue to influence me, what I do, how I treat people, the kind of life I try to lead even today after I have retired. Many of these people are no longer with us, and in many cases, they are the campers I worked with as I was a staff member. I know of no other organization, and few other people, who have had such a positive influence on the direction of my life.”
–Mike Moen, camper 1961-1964; staff 1965-1973; 1977-1980; invading neighbor from around the lake and lifeguarding instructor 1982-present
“Up north in the quiet cool nights! The only care in the world was what activities should we sign up for! Take me back to my little red cabin, please, please, please. I miss Mike’s many words of wisdom. Sunday night sing, Army NAVY games. Camping under the stars. Going for a late-night swim under the moon. What I would do to get it back, even if it was just for a moment. I’d take that single moment over some of the moments we have to deal with now! Crazy to think those years are now so far away…17 years ago. They seem like an all too familiar past time. Feels like just yesterday I was in the main office with Mike on the phone with my parents, talking about coming home or staying because I had just broken my arm during a pillow fight during senior carnival or Sunday morning breakfast and continuing to carry on the tradition of sneaking into the upstairs of the main building to sneak some pop! Even without ice, those were some of the best darn pops I had ever had! Good night my little red cabin. Sure do miss you, Mike and Ross. I know there are many others who have passed but you two stand out in my heart and memory. I definitely miss our talks we would have out front by the kayak racks.”
–Clayton Carlson, camper 1994-2000
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