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Category Archives: goodbyes

Welcome Second Term

July 07, 2017

  1. And just like that, second term has started! Drop off was a bit damp, but you’ll be happy to know that today the skies are clear, the lake is gorgeous and the boys have a great northern Wisconsin day ahead of them. Today’s schedule includes safety talks in the various areas of camp and swim tests. After that’s complete, the guys will get to it with activities.

    The Instagram Story is a great way to get a quick taste of what’s going on around camp. But keep up! The clips disappear after 24 hours!

    We’ll start uploading photos to the gallery this evening, but in the meantime, don’t forget to check out the Instagram Story – it’s where we’re doing a lot of posting this year. You’ll love it.
    As a side note, Andy and I will be living out your reality, as we drop our middle daughter off at her camp this morning. I’m full of jitters – a mix of excitement and heartache – you guys might know a thing or two about that! Even after five years of going to camp, she gets excitedsadnervoussuperhappy on drop off day. This is one of those profound concepts that Michael Thompson talks about in his book, Homesick and Happy – the idea that we can have simultaneous conflicting emotions. You can be completely thrilled to be having an amazing time at camp AND also feel really sad missing your family. Can you tell I’m trying to talk myself into having the right attitude about today’s excitedsadnervoussuperhappy drop off?
    And on that note…
    I ♥ CH,
    Tracy B.

  2. Fare thee well from Friends + Family Camp

    A note from F+F coordinator, Tim Bachmann…

    “Fare thee well for you must leave us, do not let the parting grieve us, but remember that the best of friends must part, must part. Adieu, adieu good Highlands Friends, Highlands Friends! We’re sorry, that our days must end, days must end – But we’ll be back next year as happy as can be, fare thee well, fare thee well, fare thee well!”

    fandfcampThe 47th annual Friends and Family Camp Week has come and gone. The last of our guests has driven out. Staff members have put away the kayaks and canoes, sailboats and paddle boards. The outboards are out of the water. The tennis nets are down. The kitchen staff is busy cleaning out freezers and refrigerators. It’s leftovers for one last lunch. It’s a sad day – but a beautiful one. It’s warm and the lake beckons, though seems much quieter.

    We had a banner year this year at Friends + Family Camp. Every cabin was occupied. With our late father, Mike, not here – we simply did what we had to do. We stepped up on the bench of the Doc Monilaw dining room porch and filled his shoes with ours. Andy, Ross and I were no funny-one-of-a-kind Mike – but we were still full of caring, and this was enough. We found that Highlands is still Highlands, and that the ever present void left by Dad’s absence was not something so powerful so as to steal our joy. Camp is still here – if not on an ascent. Thank you, Dad – we saw you all summer in the breathtaking rainbows and moments of pause. We remembered your specialness so many times, and in so many ways.

    One of my first campers, Rob Rousseau (Cabin 23, 1985), was here with his two sons. Who do you think taught them to water ski? It was David Kuesel, the son of Artie Kuesel. Artie taught Rob how to ski – now 30 years ago. Others had the same experience, perhaps with Kent Overbey teaching their children at Adventure. We had 34 alumni on the Peninsula with their respective friends and family. They were universally surprised by the number of faces they knew!

    In 1963, Norvil Beeman made a decision. It was yes or no – to sell camp to a 23 year old staff member named Mike Bachmann. Norvil’s answer was yes, and the rest is history. Those of us at CH this summer have Norvil to thank. In fact, this was true more than ever as Norvil’s extended family was with us for a family reunion. Daughters Dottie and Marty were with us – stars of their clan. Memories, reflections, and gratitude for Norvil and his wife Cleo were recorded. Thank you, Beemans!

    Tonight, we will take the post camp staff out to dinner. For me, it is one of the highlights of the year. Despite the fact I wasn’t here for Boys Camp, I love these men and women. They have worked SO HARD! They are true Highlands! We will dine at the Clearview Supper Club on Big St. Germain Lake. It will be a wonderful night full of reflections, stories and laughter. Most of all, it will be night full of appreciation –  for the beautiful North Woods, each other, and Camp Highlands. There will be a bittersweet feeling we already feel in our hearts – the realization that another beautiful, happy season at Camp Highlands is over.

    Check out the photos on the gallery of all the fun we had. The password can be requested by emailing tracyb@camphighlands.com.

  3. End of Camp, what you need to know

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    Today marks the beginning of the end of the term (excuse me while I dry my eyes!). Here is what you need to know about this week.
    Tuesday: Our final Division Day. The boys hang out as a division, cook out and our cooks enjoy a night off.
    Wednesday: The evening brings us Stunt Night our infamously famous talent(less) show. 7:15 p.m.
    Thursday: Kerchief ceremony in the evening.
    Friday, August 7Parents are invited to arrive at 3 p.m. to hang out, watch the football tournament, cheer for our 5K racers, meet your child’s counselor and bunkmates. New this year: Please sign in at the office to get your name tag when you get to camp, thank you! Picnic supper is at 6 p.m. followed by our final banquet festivities which conclude around 8:30 p.m.
    You are free to take your son after the banquet, please communicate that with your son’s counselor and with the office.
    Boys depart camp Saturday, at 8:45 a.m. on the bus back to Chicago. **If your child disembarks in Madison (1 p.m.) or Rockford (2:15 p.m.) PLEASE contact the CH office.
    If you haven’t updated your travel information in your parent log in area, please take the time to do so. If you still need to RSVP to the final banquet, you can do that by emailing us at camp. THANK YOU!
    It’s going to be a great week!

  4. 13 Stunts, 100 Kerchiefs and one Banquet

    The packages and letter has tapered off and that can only mean one thing. Summer is nearly over. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to get my kids back. I’m lucky. I get to see Judah on occasion, but our middle child is in her fourth week at girls’ camp and I’m about to burst. It feels a little like the night before Christmas when I was eight, only it’s been going on since Sunday. I can barely stand it! Three more days and our band will be back together. I know you guys are excited to get your kiddos back, too. While these last few days of camp have been the warmest and best of the summer, I know campers are ready to be back with their families.
    But the fun isn’t over yet! Our Highlands boys enjoyed an archery competition with Red Pine Camp this afternoon while the rest of the campers enjoyed one of the last days of activities. Tonight is our 2014 second term Stunt Show. We’d call it a talent show, but that would be false advertising. Somehow even I got roped into a skit. Tomorrow we’ll have a football tournament, a tennis tournament and a baseball game and more. We are going to squeeze every last minute of FUN out of this summer!
    These last few days are filled with activities and tradition. Thursday evening the boys will receive recognition for their efforts at camp as their name and ACs earned are read off. Boys will add their twig to the Friendship of Fire symbolizing a connection of all Highlands men that went before. It’s a special night, and in my opinion, it’s the most magical night of the summer.
    Friday is the last day of camp fun. For you moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles and friends, you’ll need to know that activities will start at 3 p.m after rest hour is over, followed by a picnic supper and the final awards and ceremony. We call it a wrap when taps blows for the very last time this summer around 8:45 p.m.
    And on that note…
    I ❤ CH // tracy b.

  5. The artful goodbye: How to say farewell to your child before camp

    When you start to feel blue, imagine you boy doing this!

    When you start to feel blue, imagine you boy doing this!

    Tomorrow’s the big day. I know this because I got a calendar reminder today on my computer: “Boys arrive tomorrow.” Gee, thanks, I hadn’t noticed. While we here at CH HQ are getting ready to say hello to those boys, you are getting ready to say farewell. Here are some thoughts we have on saying good bye when you send your child to camp. Tomorrow.
    1. Recognize that you will be as emotional, if not more, than your son. Being intuitive little creatures, they will pick up on your emotions. It’s important to be positive, even if you are feeling unsure and weepy. Crying or over-worry will undermine his confidence. Remind him that he *can do this*! Remind him you are just a letter away and that you love him and *believe* in him. Tell him you are excited for the experiences he’s going to have.
    Or imagine him doing this!

    Or imagine him doing this!

    2. If you haven’t already discussed homesickness with him by now, go ahead and have that conversation. Tell him missing home is natural, and that you’d be sad if he didn’t miss you. Tell him to talk to his counselor if he’s feeling blue. Remind him that you aren’t going anywhere and you’ll be there at the end with open arms dying to hear all the, as one parent emailed me today said, “the usual amusing, heroic, enlightening, and eyebrow raising stories that the boys come home with.” (Remember we are well-versed in helping boys work through homesickness.) If you have any doubt, check out Michael Thompson’s book, Homesick and Happy. It’s GREAT. Also, I recently spoke with Michael Thompson on summer camp and these issues, and it’s available on podcast.
    3. Keep it short and sweet. Make a plan ahead of time, so that there’s no surprise at 2:00 p.m. when you say, “OK buddy, we’re headed home.” If you’re taking the bus: Arrive at 9:15 – 9:30 a.m., check in with the counselor on duty at the bus, help your boy load his stuff on the bus. Make sure you’ve communicated any last minute instructions to the counselor and hang out until they move the boys on to the bus. Give him a big hug! Wave! Pat yourself on the back for keeping a stiff upper lip!
    ...or this!

    …or this!

    If you’re dropping him off at camp, tell him the plan. “First we’ll check in. Then we’ll make your bed. I’d like a tour of camp, and once we check in with the nurse, I’ll walk you back to your cabin and give you a hug from there.” Everyone likes to know what’s happening next (believe me, I have a two-year old, I know what I’m talking about). Knowing what comes next helps set him up for a confident start.
    That’s it! Positive attitude, preparation and a plan. With those three things, that goodbye will be sweet and relatively painless.
    We’ll Facebook it when the busses arrive and camp is fully underway. If your son is flying in, you’ll get a phone call from the counselor when they arrive.
    See you tomorrow!
    I ❤ CH // tracy b.