Category Archives: information

Adventure is Worthwhile in itself

July 07, 2016

  1. adventureWho wouldn’t want their child to have a real-life adventure?
    Your boys have arrived and the fun, challenges, self-discovery and friendships begin exactly…NOW.
    The adventure starts the minute boys get off the bus and counselors and campers alike swoop in, grab trunks and bags and things are delivered to cabins in about 6 minutes flat. Boys who ride the bus will make their beds and head to the infirmary to check in with our two outstanding nursing team members Madi K. and Nathanial B. The bugle will blow (yes, we still use a real, live bugle at Highlands) for supper at 5:50 and then we’ll settle down to the traditional first night’s supper of spaghetti and meatballs. It’s a crowd pleaser!
    Tonight the guys will play division games and get to know each other a little bit. Andy has a rule that boys can’t “throw balls at each other” until they know each other’s names. So the games tonight are all about FUN and team building. After games, they’ll get a lay-of-the-land and hear the basic rules of camp. We sweeten the deal with campfires and s’mores. At 9 o’clock, taps will play and the guys will head to bed.
    I have to admit, the weather is a little glum (I’m from Florida, so I’m a bit of a baby when it comes to the temp!). But tomorrow we’re expecting 87° weather, so we’ll bundle up tonight and wake up to the best kind of camp weather. Warm and sunny!
    You can find all the passwords you’ll need for the gallery and instructions for how to use the email system in the Highlands Handbook (or in one of the many emails you’ve probably gotten from me). You might also want to take a look at our Instagram account to take a peek at the hidden corners of Highlands. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email us!
    Andy and I are so thrilled to have your boys with us. They are each unique, creative, energetic, brilliant creatures – 130 of them – that will make second term amazing. Thank you for sharing them with the Highlands family!
    I ♥ CH!
    tracy b.

  2. Countdown to Summer!

    We’re 29 days away from the start of our 113th camping season. And we can’t wait!
    We have an incredible array of campers and staff coming this season—and we have made some exciting improvements in our camp facilities to ensure that, while we’re still the oldest continuously-operated boys camp in the midwest, we’re still making the necessary improvements to keep camp awesome. Just wait until you see the TWO new cabins we’ve built!
    Right now we’re starting to review travel plans, consider cabin assignments and order t-shirts. If you haven’t finished filling out your forms, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible. We especially need to know if your son is going to be riding the bus by May 25. If your son will be taking prescription medication, you are required to register them with CampRx. Those directions can be found in the forms section of the website. We stock most over-the-counter medications like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Benedryl, etc. at the infirmary to be distributed by our health staff.
    If your son’s physical isn’t until closer to the start of camp, that’s OK! While we’d prefer to have them in as soon as possible, we understand the headaches joys of trying to get your kids into the doctor during this busy time. Please make sure to photo copy both front and back of your insurance card and to sign the bottom of that form. That is the medical release form.
    Finally, we have two helpful resources that will be like gold to you—especially if you’re a first-time Highlands parent. That is the Highlands Handbook and the Packing List, both of which are located in the Forms and Documents section in the parent log in page. Almost any question you have can be answered in the Handbook. Mail, email, packages, homesickness, medication – you name it – it’s in there.
    We are so excited for this upcoming season. We’ve got another incredible lineup on the staff, including a few new faces that I know are going to be awesome fits at Highlands. And we’ve still got a few spaces in our first term—so if you know some great young guy that would benefit from the Highlands experience, send them our way!
    We can’t wait for another incredible season at Camp Highlands!
    Better. Worthwhile. Highlands.

  3. 10 Day forecast – for fun


    It’s hard to not have an awesome time at CH!

    I just had a parent text me and tell me how sweet our 10-day forecast looked. True story. Our apologies to you folks in Texas, Florida and even Illinois (who are experiencing the weirdest summer weather ever). But the amazing outlook doesn’t just stop at the weather here at Highlands.
    How can you have a bad day that starts off with pancakes!? That’s what the boys enjoyed this morning before they set off on their wild adventures.
    How can you have a bad day when after your awesome breakfast you then end up at the adventure ropes course with Kent Overby (cabins 21, 17, 9, 13). Or maybe you’re like cabins 1, 24, 17, 25 looking down the barrel at some time skiing on Plum Lake. I’m a big fan of the stand up paddle boarding (SUP) activity – cabins 22, 13, 6 and 7 will be exploring the lake that way today. I can smell the smoke from the fire that the expedition activity built this morning and figure the guys from 14, 13, 22 and 21 are going to have a ball boiling water. The fellows from 24, 25, 10, 15, 16, 18, 9 and 14 will be hooping it up on the basketball court today. I mean honestly. What’s not to love?
    There are several trips out on the trail or lakes and waterways right now. Two Isle Royale hiking trips are out, and cabins 12 and 11 are in the Porcupine Mountains on a three-day hiking trip.
    I’d say we have a 99% chance for a great time.
    Birthday Weekend Approaches
    We are 112 years old this Saturday. One-hundred and twelve summers, you guys. Now that’s something to celebrate! Per our tradition, we’ll kick off our Steeplechase event at about 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. If you are in the area, you’re more than welcome to swing on by to watch the fun. It’s my favorite day of the whole summer. Steeplechase is an Army/Navy relay that covers not only all parts of camp but a good part of Plum Lake. Whether it’s casting a line into a hula-hoop or pin bowling, kayaking around Five Pines island, or being a part of the water boil team, each boy has his own special part to contribute to his team’s success.
    Saturday after noon we’ll have a Senior Carnival down in The Row with all kinds of wacky homemade games including a dunk tank, pillow fighting and bug juice pong. This is good clean fun.
    We’ll have our picnic supper on the hill at 6 p.m. followed by Games on the Hill. The day literally does not stop.
    And on that note…
    I <3 CH,
    Tracy B.

  4. Run, don't walk to Camp Highlands!

    run to campSpring is here, and by our count we have 88 days until the first day of camp! That means it’s time to fill out all those forms online. If you get stuck on anything, just let us know and we can help. To access your forms you’ll need to log in through the “log-in” tab at the top of the homepage.
    The travel form to and from Camp is of special importance. If you are traveling internationally, please call us to make arrangements. We would like to know if you are traveling by bus by May 31. Thank you for your help with this!
    The Highlands Handbook is a very useful tool. You will want to download it here (or on the homepage) to have most of your questions answered. Additionally, the packing list is also on the home page.
    Have you not filled out your enrollment form yet? That’s OK, but spots are filling quickly. Sign up today! We can’t wait to see you!

  5. It's here! Second term kicks off today


    Beyond these gates lies a magical place called Camp Highlands for Boys. If you’ve been here, you know.

    A flight from somewhere far away, an epic bus ride, a never-ending car trip – by whatever means, your boys will all be in camp this evening and we can’t wait to have them with us. Can you imagine how these boys feel? So excited – the promise of new friends, fields to run, boats to sail, balls to throw, songs to sing. There is an unmistakable buzz in the air on this day. We. Are. Excited.
    The buses will pull into camp around 5:15 this afternoon, through those magical white gates that say “Camp Highlands,” and the boys will instantly be transformed. The sweet sound of the bugle calls and the entire staff and all boys that arrived by car will spill out onto the ball field to cheer for the guys arriving. It’s one of my favorite moments at camp, when boys that haven’t seen each other all year are reunited with bear hugs and high-fives. And the new kids? As a mom, I always worry about these guys! But they are intercepted quickly and their gear is enthusiastically hauled off, and the adventure begins.
    There will be jitters at supper, but it’s spaghetti, something that almost everyone likes. Afterwards, the evening is filled with tours of camp, some baseline rules and a campfire, the first of many they’ll have at Highlands.
    We know you moms, dads and caregivers will miss these guys. Our priority is your child. Our staff is ready to give them the guidance and support they need to try new things, to step out of their comfort zone and to experience a feeling of self-reliance and confidence that is difficult to duplicate anywhere else. Our motto this summer is, “Camp Changes Lives.” It is so true.
    And on that note…
    I ❤ CH // tracy b.
    Nuts and Bolts
    Remember that most questions you’ll have can be answered with the new and improved Highlands Handbook. The Bunk Notes code is FYXKNRWU. Everyone needs to set up a new account this year. And remember that if you’d like your son to write you back using a Bunk Reply, you must attach one when you send him one. The Highlands gallery password was provided in an email, but if you still need it, please email or call us (it’s also in the Handbook).
    The best time to reach us is between 9:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. If we don’t answer the phone, leave a message and we will get back with you!

  6. First term is coming to an end

    Argh! It's Pirate Day!

    Argh! It’s Pirate Day!

    We had an awesome weekend! You likely saw the pictures from Pirate Day on Saturday. We had somuchfun! The boys were placed into four teams and spent the day in pirate-themed activities. I don’t know who had more fun, the campers or the staff (including Andy Bachmann, who fully embraced his role as Black Beard). Saturday evening we had a picnic supper on Junior Hill. It was a great end to the day.
    Sunday’s Assembly allowed us a time to reflect on our summer so far. Boys shared in their cabin groups whether they had achieved the goals they set during the first week at camp. If they hadn’t, they were prompted to think about what they could do to achieve them this week. Assembly is a quiet time in camp. After a fast and fun week, it’s always good to have a few moments to think about the incredible achievements the boys have made.
    The show must go on!

    The show must go on!

    Sunday afternoons are open activities, so boys can choose which activity to attend in order to work on Achievement Credits or just participate in whatever their favorite activities might be. And of course Sunday Night Sing is a blast. The power was knocked out by a brief thunderstorm. Conveniently our caretaker Kevin is the fire chief and he cruised up Junior Hill in a fire truck and hooked up a generator to run the electricity for the lantern slide projector! What a hoot!
    The week ahead is going to be a good one. Today is the final Division Day. The Cubbies have the bus today and are headed to the Wildwood Wildlife Park and then to the Lumberjack Show. They have a big time, complete with ice cream at the corner store! The other divisions have camp-based activities and a cookout tonight.
    Tomorrow will bring to Sayner, WI the 2014 First Term Stunt Show. We would call it a talent show, but that might be a stretch! In all honesty, it’s a blast – and rumor has it there are several outstanding skits and performances planned.
    Thursday evening is the Kerchief Ceremony, a quiet and special time at camp when boys are recognized for their achievements at camp. They’ll don their red kerchiefs and each boy will place his stick into the “fire of friendship.” In this busy, changed world, it’s so neat that boys get to have this sort of rite-of-passage experience.
    Friday is our final banquet, Highlands fans. If you’ll be joining us, we’d love to know. You most likely made a note on your forms, but if you suddenly decide to come, just send me an email. We’d love to have you! The schedule for the day is as follows:
    3 p.m.: Water Carnival
    6 p.m.: Picnic supper and banquet festivities
    8:45 p.m.: Wrap up!
    You are free to take your son home with you, or you can pick him up by 9 a.m. on Saturday when First Term comes to a close. We are really looking forward to seeing all you parents and caregivers, but we aren’t ready to stop the fun yet! Off we go to make the most of this last week!
    And on that note…

  7. The makings for the perfect start to camp? Check.

    PicFrameSun? Check. White puffy clouds? Check. A gentle breeze on the lake? Check. All travel plans go off without a hitch? Check. What a way to start the summer. I am happy to report that the buses have arrived and the 2014 season is underway.
    What happens when two motor coaches filled with excited boys unload on Highlands property? It’s a miracle, actually. Bugles blow to welcome the buses in and campers pile off the buses to be greeted by the boys who arrived by car and our staff. Trunks, duffel bags, tennis racquets and lacrosse sticks are distributed and toted off to their cabins. Beds are quickly made, and at 5:50 the bugle calls for supper.
    Lois has had the water on to boil since lunchtime, at just the right moment she’ll drop 20 pounds of pasta (!!) in and spaghetti dinner will be served, hot and delicious. After supper, the boys will play games, get a tour of camp and learn some baseline rules while they sit around the first of many campfires for the summer.
    We are so excited to have your sons with us. After all the forms you’ve filled out and socks you’ve labeled (you DID label their socks, right?), I might guess that you are feeling all sorts of things right now. Will he like his bunkmates? Will he eat the food? Will he drink too much bug juice? After 111 summers, there’s a little miracle that happens at Highlands. Things just sort themselves out after a few days. Both for you and for your boys! We have put together a fantastic staff who are trained to nurture, teach and guide your sons. We have a dedicated kitchen staff that’s making delicious food from scratch. And you have Andy, Tracy, Mike and Sharon Bachmann whose primary concern in life is making this experience the absolute best possible for your child.
    Thank you for sending them to us. It’s our honor to have them for this amazing 111th summer!
    And on that note,
    I ❤ CH // tracy b.

  8. New Travel Policies – Make your plans now!

    thiswaytoCHHi moms and dads! It’s about that time that you start making travel arrangements to camp.

    Most things are staying the same.
    If you are in the Chicagoland area and your son rides the bus, nothing has changed. If you are flying into O’Hare from the East coast or somewhere in the Midwest, nothing has changed. If you are flying from: the West Coast, Florida, or Mexico or from outside of the US – things are changing!
    We prefer that if you are at all able, your son should ride the regular bus that departs at 10:00 AM on Sunday morning. (Sunday June 22 for first term or July 13 second term). This way he arrives at camp before it gets dark and can eat supper and participate in all the first night activities. That means if your son flies to Chicago, please have his flight arrive no later than 9:00 AM.
    However, it’s become increasingly difficult for people to obtain flights to O’Hare that arrive before our normal 9:00 AM cut off time. We can no longer host boys overnight in Chicago on Saturday night – BUT – we’ve hopefully come up with a solution that is even better than that!
    All camp travel will now be on Sunday June 22 for first term or July 13 for second term.
    To and From Mexico: Flights from Mexico must arrive by 11:30 AM on Sunday morning. We will have a staff member meet them at the gate as usual and then take them to the chaperoned charter bus that will depart at about 1:45 PM, once everyone has cleared customs. There is a United flight 474 that departs MEX at 6:30 AM and arrives at O’Hare at 11:33 AM. It is ideal to have them on this flight. We can no longer pick campers up on Saturday night and have them spend the night in Chicago.
    West Coast of US, Florida, or from outside of the US: All flights MUST arrive by 11:30 AM. Boys will ride on the 1:45 bus with our international campers.
    Please advise us of your travel plans by filling out the travel module on your child’s forms online no later than June 1, 2014.
    Thank you for your understanding and cooperation!

  9. Camp Highlands Meet & Greet

    Make new friends, but keep the old… It’s a favorite song at Sunday night sing – which you can learn more about at this year’s Chicagoland meet and greet! Here are the details:
    Saturday, March 8, 201410 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
    The Rench home
    150 N. Main St., Glen Ellyn
    Parking on Fairview just south of their lovely home
    Please RSVP to Tracy.
    Whether this is your 39th season, you’re enrolled this summer for the first time, or you are just looking for more information about CH, we’d love to see you there!
    We will:
    • Watch videos from last summer
    • Staff will be on hand to answer all of your questions
    • Catch up on all the latest CH news
    • Enjoy some punch and cookies, see old friends or make some new friends before camp this summer
    This is a fun and easy way for you to introduce some of your friends to the world of Camp Highlands, so bring a guest with you. You can link to the Facebook event page and share it with your friends. 
    We hope to see you there!

  10. Retail Therapy at Highlands

    I’m a shopper, what can I say. Who doesn’t love a little retail therapy? At Highlands, each boy has a $100 store allowance and we only charge you for what your boy spends. You can feel good that if your child forgets (or more likely, loses) his toothbrush he can buy a new one in the store. We stock soap, shampoo, chap stick and lots more!
    Remember parents, you’ll have time to shop yourselves if you are coming up for the banquet on Friday! And if your son qualified for a free store account with early enrollment, it’s a use it or lose it situation! Tell him to stock up on those hoodies!

    CH swag – what everyone wants!

    CH swag – what everyone wants!

    Sunblock, bug spray and other essentials

    Sunblock, bug spray and other essentials