Preparing for Camp

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare for the upcoming summer.

Required Forms

All required forms for your camper can only be accessed by logging in with your username (email address) and password. Once you are logged in, click FORMS & DOCUMENTS.

Camp forms are extremely important for your camper and allow your camper to participate in activities and to receive care in the event of an accident or illness.

All forms can be completed online except for the Physicians Exam Form. This form is a downloadable/paper form and has a bar code that when faxed back, allows direct transmission into your camper’s records. Once the form has been completed, please upload or fax this form back to the camp office at 828-891-1960.

Please do your part and complete all forms by May 1, 2018.

Opening and Closing Days

Instructions For Opening Day

1. Plan on arriving at camp between 9am and Noon on the Sunday the session begins.

2. Have all luggage tagged prior to your arrival with your camper’s name (not parents name).

3. Please wear comfortable shoes and bring an umbrella in case of rain.

4. Drive slowly being alert for staff, campers and families walking about.

5. When you arrive at camp, you will be greeted at the main gate and directed through camp to the luggage drop off area. Junior Camp parents can unpack their camper if they would like to.

6. You will then drive to the Gillespie Gym where you will sign your camper in, meet your camper’s cabin counselors, and have the opportunity to meet other Highlander staff to ask questions concerning forms, off camp trips, camper accounts, etc…

7. We make every effort to insure contagious sickness does not enter camp on opening day. Upon arrival to the Gillespie Gym, our nurses will initially screen all campers for sickness with a temperature check, look for visible signs of sickness and then collect all medications.

8. We also make every effort of detecting lice before they enter the cabin unit by having each camper and staff, go through a professional lice check with a local company called Asheville Lice Treatment Center (ALTC). The staff from ALTC specialize in non-toxic head lice treatment, removal and prevention. After visiting with the nurses, your camper will then move to the Lice Check area. If lice or nits (eggs) are found, there are two options for treatment:

A. ALTC will remove all lice and nits from your camper and then administer the non-toxic lice treatment. A follow up appointment will occur 5 days later at camp where your camper will be rechecked and retreated if needed. Asheville’s Lice Center fee for this service is $225 and payment will be collected at the time of treatment on Opening Day.

B. You may choose to leave camp, purchase Lice Treatment products from a local store and administer treatment on your own. Your camper will then be re-checked by camp nurses upon arriving back to camp and if is lice free, be admitted to camp. A recheck will be performed each day for 5 days and if lice or nits are found, additional professional treatment will be required by ALTC at the $225 fee. An associate from ALTC will contact you at that time to receive payment.

If your camper arrives by Bus or Airplane, your only choice will be Option A.

It is much better to find and treat lice at home! We recommend that you check your child for lice within 3 weeks of coming to camp and then again one week prior. If you treat your camper for lice before they arrive to camp, please notify the camp office. If you have any questions or concerns about lice and its treatment you can contact ALTC at 828-777-6540.

9. After your visit in the gym is complete, please feel welcome to take a walking tour of camp, visit your child’s cabin or shop in the camp store.

Instructions for Closing Day

1. Plan on arriving to retrieve your camper between 9am and Noon on the Friday that the session ends.

2. You will be directed to park on the land sports field where your camper’s luggage will be waiting. Highlander staff will be there to help load the luggage.

3. You will be shuttled to the Gillespie Gym where you will sign out your camper and be reunited with him/her. If someone other than a parent is picking up the camper, advance notice must be received in writing by the office and a photo ID must be presented at the time of pick-up.

4. You will have an opportunity to speak with your camper’s cabin counselors, the camp directors and camp owners.

5. You will also be able to register for Summer 2019 on closing day and secure your child’s spot for next summer.

Travel & Transportation

Tunnel from Bus

Please log in with your username and password and complete the online Travel Form.

Airplane Travel

As soon as you have your camper registered for camp you will want to start thinking about transportation to and from Camp Highlander. Many of our campers travel by plane, and we do offer transportation to and from the Asheville airport at no additional fee.

Please make sure your camper’s arrival and departure flight arrives/leaves between 6am and Noon. Our camp program begins at lunch, so we don’t want your child to miss out on one minute of fun.

A Highlander representative will be waiting for your camper to get off the plane at the gate (this is by permission of airport security and not guaranteed). If we are not at the gate, we are at the security gate and the baggage claim area. The Highlander representative will be expecting your child and will escort him/her from the airport to camp. When they arrive to camp, they are greeted by their cabin counselors who will assist them with settling in their cabin.

If your camper is an unaccompanied minor please designate the person meeting at the airport to take custody of your child as: Karl Alexander, 42 Dalton Road, Mills River, NC 28759. Phone: 828-891-7721.

If your child is flying home, please make sure the flight departs before Noon. Afternoon flights are sometimes cancelled at the Asheville Airport.

Asheville (AVL), just 10 minutes from camp – Complimentary Shuttle Provided
Greenville/Spartanburg, SC (GSP), 75 minutes from camp – NO Shuttle Provided
Charlotte (CLT), 120 minutes from camp – NO Shuttle Provided
Charlotte Shuttle Service – CLT Express or 704-825-0666.

Airplane Riders must prearrange and prepay all unaccompanied minor and baggage fees before arrival and departure to camp.

Please fax copies of travel itineraries and fee receipts for your camper three weeks prior to your child’s arrival.

Florida and Louisiana Bus

We are pleased to offer a chartered bus service from Boca Raton, Florida and from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Depending on the demand, these buses can also stop in St. Augustine, Jackson, Montgomery and Atlanta.

The round trip fee including luggage is $430 and $330 for Atlanta campers. One Way tickets including luggage can be purchased for $300 per camper ($200 for Atlanta campers). Luggage Only tickets can be purchased for $75. The Highlander chartered buses depart around 9:00pm on Saturday night before the opening day of the session and travel through the night to arrive at camp around 10:30am on Sunday morning.

The buses will depart for the trip home on Thursday night at 11:00pm and will arrive in Florida and Louisiana around Noon on Friday, the closing day of the session. Fees for this chaperoned bus service include one meal and camp snacks. This service has limited availability and fills quickly, so we encourage our parents to sign up as soon as you register for camp. Please access this link for the registration form: Highlander Bus Form.

Luggage – CAR, BUS, FEDEX

We allow each camper to bring one trunk and one duffle or two duffle bags to camp. There is not room to store more than that! If you are looking for a trunk, we recommend Everything Summer Camp, and enter the camp code trail291HD.

Please log in and complete the online Travel Form located on the Highlander website to inform camp about how your campers luggage will be getting to and from camp. ALL CAMPERS MUST COMPLETE THIS FORM (INCLUDING CAR RIDERS).

CAR LUGGAGE – Please pre-label all bags prior to arrival to camp.

Luggage arriving to camp must be labeled with Highlander Luggage Tags. (2) luggage tags per camper will be mailed to you in March. The tags should be addressed to Camp Highlander. The return address should include the camper’s name (not parents’ name) for appropriate cabin placement.


All luggage shipped to camp is delivered to your child’s cabin on opening day. Please make certain your child knows their combination or has the key to the lock on their luggage. ALL BAGS BELONGING TO YOUR CAMPER MUST BE TAGGED WITH A LUGGAGE TAG. If the bags are not labeled, there is a good chance the bag could get lost or misplaced. DO NOT PUT PARENTS NAMES ON THE BAGS.

TRUNK BOXES—We will do our best to store and reuse your shipping boxes for the return luggage shipment home, but we cannot guarantee the boxes will remain useable due to moisture levels on camp. Boxes or thick ULINE trunk bags can be purchased for the return shipment home. Please contact Mac Bishop for more information at .

Please ship the luggage so that it arrives no later than the Wednesday before the session begins. Luggage will only be accepted two weeks prior to the session start date. Please ship to: 42 Dalton Road, Mills River, NC 28759.


We are happy to ship your campers luggage back home using the Highlander FEDEX account.

Any items left behind will be shipped by FedEx at the parents expense. FedEx Ground is the preferred shipper for Camp Highlander.

Arrangements for this service must to be communicated through the Travel Form to the camp office NO LATER than one week prior to the end of the session. Any alternate shipping address must be included on the Travel Form.

Questions? Please contact Mac Bishop at or 828-891-7721.

The Highlander Way

At Camp Highlander, we always put our campers’ safety and well-being as our top priority at camp. We know that giving your child over to the care of other people is perhaps the greatest act of trust you can take as a parent. We try to do all that we can to keep that trust, but we need the help of every parent to make that possible. We ask you to partner with us on camp policies that will ensure we keep your child’s well-being at heart. We want to explain our reasoning behind these policies and hope that we can expect your support for this summer. As always, please feel free to contact a director in the camp office if you have any questions or concerns.

The Look of Highlander is a guideline for dress to keep our campers mindful of dressing appropriately for activities they will be participating in and respectful of our co-ed environment.  Please remember that while our activities are not co-ed, there are instructors of the opposite gender who instruct our activities and seek to provide the utmost professional experience for our campers.  We ask that you please remember this when packing your camper, and send clothes that comply with the Look of Highlander and will not interfere with their summer at camp.

The Look of Highlander

Female Campers

Male Campers

No crocs, flip flops or sliders. Sandals must have a back strap (teva, chaco, etc.)
Shoes must be worn at all times.

Packing & Laundry – Packing List

What do I pack?

Packing for camp is so much fun and adds to the excitement and anticipation of the summer, but sometimes it can be overwhelming. We have compiled a complete packing list of all your child’s needs for their time at camp, and remember if they forget ANYTHING we will do all that we can to get them what they need. We are committed to treating your child like our family.

Please make sure that all clothing, shoes and personal items are well marked with a laundry pen or nametags. The most common mistake is to over pack. Campers wear shorts and t-shirts most of the time. Evenings are cool, so pack appropriately with sweatshirts and clothes to layer. Pack plenty of socks and underwear; they seem to disappear. We do have special programs during the session so bring costumes, wacky clothing, camouflage, or accessories to join in the Highlander fun. Your child may also want to bring something special to wear for our evening activities such as dances and our final banquet. PLEASE PACK OLD CLOTHES!

There are no bare feet at any time during camp. Campers may wear the all terrain sandals if they have a back ankle strap. NO CROCS, flip flops or slides of any kind are allowed. (Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Fila, etc.) These types of sandals do not afford enough protection for camp terrain.

Horseback Riding – Shoes with a heel are required for horseback riding.
Cowboy boots for square dancing and rain boots for rainy days are great alternatives to horseback riding boots.

What should I pack for EP’s (Evening Programs)?

When the sun sets on the mountaintop, that’s when we turn the energy up and the nights come alive with our unique Evening Programs at Camp Highlander.

EPs, as they are nicknamed, have been a nighttime tradition at Highlander since 1957, offering different signature EPs every session. Many of our EPs are geared towards the cabin unit such as our cabin challenges, counselor hunts, or the famous carnivals and fairs. However, some of our EPs offer opportunities for campers to display their individual talents in our skit nights, talent shows, or our Saturday Night Live.

EPs provide our campers with lots of laughter and great memories. They are the perfect end to the perfect day at Camp Highlander. Don’t forget to pack whacky hats, crazy clothing, camouflage, costumes and other accessories to join the fun. Remember to be creative and express yourself! Also, pack something special to wear for dances and the final banquet.
Here are a few suggested costume ideas:

Jeans, Bandanas, Plaid Shirt, Straw Hat, Cowgirl Boots, Silly Hats, Mascaraed Masks, Beads, Face Paint, Colorful Clothes, Boa, Goofy Accessories, Halloween Costumes, Camouflage, etc…

Bandanas,Camouflage, Jeans, Plaid shirt, Boots, Straw Hat, Overalls, Silly Hats, Masks, Pirate Eye Patches, Anything black, Face Paint, Goofy Accessories, Halloween Costumes

Favorite EP’s During Each Session

Country Fair/Square Dance
Highlander’s Got Talent (props for talent)
Mardi Gras (purple, green & yellow)
Cabin Challenge (colorful clothing)

Monte Carlo (carnival/goofy)
Highlander’s Got Talent (props for talent)
Square Dance
Stars & Stripes (patriotic theme)

Highlander’s Got Talent (props for talent)
Square Dance
Color War (royal blue, white, black & red)

Is there a laundry service?

Each camper will receive a Camp Highlander laundry bag when they arrive to camp to keep their dirty clothes. Each Wednesday morning, the laundry is picked up by our laundry service and brought back on Thursday morning. Please remember that this is a commercial laundry service and all of the laundry will be washed together in a cold cycle, whites and darks. Please send clothing that is simple and easy to launder. Please make sure all clothing is properly labeled with the campers FULL NAME. No initials.

We also ask that you label your child’s clothing, sleeping bag, backpack, shoes, and all personal items clearly. For any labeling assistance, we recommend Lovable Labels.

Partnering with Parents


Are electronics, digital cameras, games and iPods allowed at camp?

It is our goal to get your child outdoors, playing and enjoying this beautiful world around them. We want them making friends, talking, laughing and enjoying their time as a child without the distractions of technology. We ask that you partner with us in this effort to keep our camp as tech-free as possible.

Please do not bring Apple watches, digital cameras, video cameras, Laptops, iPods, TVs, DVD players, Nintendo’s, PlayStations, XBOX, PSPs or other gaming equipment. If you insist that your child travel with one of these items, we will ask to collect it when he/she arrives at camp and lock it in the camp safe. Camp Highlander cannot be responsible for these items being left in the cabin or lost. Many newer digital cameras have internet capabilities and to protect the innocence of your child, only disposable cameras will be allowed on camp.


It is advisable that expensive watches, rings, radios, iPods, etc. not be brought to camp. It is not advisable for campers to keep cash in the cabins, as well. All campers should keep money in their camper account, which is located in the camp office. The money will remain there until the camper requests it. Camp Highlander cannot be responsible for any money or valuable items that are lost or stolen. Please explain the importance of this to your camper. Please do not send any item to camp that is irreplaceable.


As you know we have a “no-cell phone” policy at camp. Aside from the fact that cell phones are expensive and can get lost or stolen, there is a fundamental problem with campers having cell phones that is, TRUST. When children come to camp, they and you are making a leap of faith. As children learn to trust other caring adults, they grow and learn to solve some of their own challenges. This is one of the greatest benefits of camp. However, contacting you by phone essentially means they have not made this transition. It prevents us from getting to problems that may arise and addressing them. Sending a cell phone (or second cell phone) to camp suggests a lack of trust in Camp Highlander and our dedication to the quality care we provide for our campers.


We do not accept ANY packages for campers. Gift packages create unhealthy competition within the cabin unit and disrupt the harmony of the cabin. Please cooperate with this policy. We will be sending all packages back RETURN TO SENDER.

If you need to make special arrangements for a forgotten item, please prearrange this with Beth Lynch in the camp office.

To avoid frustration, please share this policy with grandparents, friends and others that may send packages to your camper.


Daily nutrition is an essential ingredient to the health and well-being of our campers. We offer 3 meals a day, 2 snacks during the day and an optional third snack before bed. Needless to say, we have plenty of food at Camp Highlander. We ask you to trust us to feed them by not sneaking food to them at camp. We have a “no food in the cabin” policy, however, every year we are confiscating trunks full of food from our campers. We believe that by sending food with your child to camp, you are in turn teaching them that the camp policies are not to be followed. Therefore, our job of keeping your child safe could become compromised. We have many children on camp with food allergies, and we do not want anything to go to the cabin that could compromise their health. In addition, please, NO HOT PLATES! NO HOT POTS! NO COOKING EQUIPMENT! We appreciate you understanding that these items are fire hazards and can put your child and other children at risk. Any of these items that are brought to camp will be confiscated and NOT returned. They will be donated to Goodwill.


North Carolina law prohibits the use of these. Our cabins are wooden structures and all fire hazards are prohibited. Our septic system is very sensitive, so water balloons and other “gag” toys can cause serious damage. Please refrain from sending these items, as they will be confiscated.


Campers are NOT allowed to bring personal property such as sports equipment or vehicles to camp. We DO NOT allow guns, knives (including pocket knives), pepper spray or weaponry of any kind. Bringing these items to camp is cause for dismissal.
Family pets are not allowed on camp property. Please leave your furry family members at home!

Cabin Requests

Please Do…

Please Don’t…

Two campers show off their wristbands

Camper Accounts

Each camper has an account that is used for purchases in the camp store or for cash for spending while on off camp trips to purchase souvenirs. At the camp store your child can purchase items such as t-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, stationary, stamps, crazy creek chairs, toiletries, Gatorade, etc… We discourage campers from keeping any cash in their cabin, as things may get misplaced.

Please send the amount appropriate for your child’s spending habits. Most campers will spend it all, so only send what you are comfortable with them spending. We recommend a minimum of $50 a week. You can log onto the Camp Highlander website and click on View Camper Accounts– Camp Store and view the items your camper is purchasing.

Please send a check made out to Camp Highlander prior to your child’s arrival with the amount you would like to have deposited in the account. You will also have an opportunity to deposit money in your campers account on opening day, but it is better to mail the check ahead of time. Camper account funds cannot be charged to a credit card. It must be paid by cash or check.

Any money remaining in your child’s account at the end of the session will be kept as a credit balance until next summer or refunded to you upon your request.

Send Your Camper a Care Package

Every camper loves receiving a care package from their parents. When you order a Highlander Care Package for your camper, it is delivered to their cabin with a personalized note from you. Save packing space and purchase a Highlander care package!

Care Package order forms can be found on your FORMS DASHBOARD.

A camper celebrates her birthay at Camp Highlander

Birthday Parties at Camp Highlander

We love to celebrate birthdays at camp! We honor your camper’s special day with cake and ice cream, a gift and the “Happy Birthday” song during dinner!

Communication with Your Camper

How Can I Communicate with My Camper?

MAIL! MAIL! MAIL! Campers LOVE to get mail. There is nothing better than getting an old fashioned, hand written letter in the mail from mom, dad, grandma, or even your best friend. It is a lost art, but one we cherish here at camp. Please write happy letters of encouragement, interest and support. We strongly encourage you to write your child, and we will require the same of them.

A few days after your child arrives at camp, you might receive a letter from them implying they are homesick or that they are not having a great time. This is very sad news for you as a parent, but very normal behavior for our campers. Nine times out of ten, by the time you receive the letter, your child will have worked through the issues and will be having a great time!
The most important thing that we tell campers about homesickness is that being homesick is a good thing. Being homesick just means that your camper has a really great, loving home. This relieves a lot of embarrassment the camper may feel and frees them to move beyond the negative feelings.

Campers are required to write their parents once a week during the session, and their counselors will write the parents on the progress of your child as well. You will cherish these letters for years to come. If you are worried that your child may not know how to address his/her mail, it is a good idea to send pre-addressed and stamped envelopes so all they need to do is write the letter.

Email Your Camper

You will also be able to email your camper by purchasing emails through our online provider. Please remember that your camper cannot email you back, but they really love getting emails from you each day.

Phone Calls

Campers cannot receive phone calls from home. We ask that communication to or from home be restricted to letters and cards while at camp. Important lessons of independence and self-reliance beyond home situations can be short circuited by a quick call to and from home. If there is an emergency at home, or a concern you have, please call the camp office and ask to speak with a member of the Leadership Team.

Visiting Your Child at Camp

Attending camp provides a unique opportunity for campers to gain independence and self-reliance. It can be challenging for campers to readjust after a family visit for both the camper and friends or cabin mates whose parents cannot visit, so we discourage frequent visitation, particularly for children away from home for the first time.
If parents are in the area visiting, visitation is only allowed on Sundays between 10am and 6pm. Parents are welcome to spend time with their camper on the cellar deck porch or if more quality time is needed, take their camper off camp for the day. Campers are only allowed to leave with their parents. Proper Identification will be required.

How You Can Participate in the Fun at Highlander

We Love To Take Photos of Your Camper

We realize that being away from your child can be hard on you as a parent, and we want you to feel comfortable with that separation. We will post pictures daily on our website which will give you a window into the world of Camp Highlander and the fun that your child is having! You can view and purchase photos of camp activities each day using your login on the Camp Highlander website. We encourage you to view the photos daily.

Please also follow us on Facebook and Twitter (CampHighlander) for more daily pictures of camp.

A commemorative, panoramic photo will be taken during your child’s session. This group photo is a favorite of campers and includes all campers and staff members for the entire session.

We encourage each family to pre-order the group photo using the form on your FORMS DASHBOARD. You will also be given an opportunity to purchase these photos in the camp store or on closing day. The regular or silly photos are $30 each or $55 for both.

Preparing for Goodbye

DO NOT emphasize how much you are going to miss your camper. Saying, “I am going to miss you” or “I am going to miss you so much” implies a sense of guilt for the camper. Children think that they should not go to camp because their parents will be miserable without them. However, do not emphasize the opposite of how glad you will be when they are gone! Instead, discuss how much fun the camp experience is going to be for your camper. Tell them how you can’t wait until you are all back together to hear about fun adventures.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. For example, “I’ll call and write you every day.” The truth is that you will be busy. No matter how much you are agonizing over your child being gone from home, your life will go on, and you may not be able to write every day. We have told you that you cannot call every day, so the best thing to say is, “I can’t wait to get your letters telling me about all the fun you are having. I will write you back too!” or “I’ll write as often as I can.” The worst mistake you can make is to say, “ I promise I will come and get you the minute you are unhappy and don’t like camp.” If you tell them they can come home instead of sticking it out, you are setting them up for failure. You have taught your child that giving up is acceptable, and you are setting a standard for the rest of their lives. Let them know that you believe in them. There is nothing they can’t do. Be positive and supportive.

*Say “I LOVE YOU!” * You can never tell your child enough how much you love them. When your child says, I miss you, your response should be “I love you so much, you will have so much fun!” This will hurt because you want to tell them how you will miss them, but telling them you love them is a better way to communicate how you feel about them and frees them to enjoy the magical gift that you have given them. Even when they return home or you pick them up and they say I missed you, tell them how happy you are to see them and that you love them.

Prepare them with conversations before camp. “You will be part of a cabin group, so you will have to help out with cabin clean-up and chores.” “Remember your counselor is there for you to help with anything that you might need, or you can go to the directors.” “Don’t be afraid to try new things, even if you are scared. That is part of the fun of being at camp and having this adventure. Don’t worry if you are not the best at it. I am proud of you for trying.” “Be friendly to the camper who looks lonely and kind to everyone in your cabin.”

SAYING GOOD-BYE! Good-byes are always hard, whether they are at the airport or at the cabin at Camp Highlander. But you have to remember that you are the adult, so you have to be strong. Don’t linger, cling to your child or sob! A tearful, smiling “good-bye, have fun, we love you” and a quick hug are okay. Save the sobs for the car ride home. Depending on your child, you may get the cold shoulder. This is a good sign. Let them go. They still love you, and they will be home before you know it.

Life After Camp…Returning Home

From the moment they leave camp, some campers will talk nonstop about camp until their first day of school. They might not need to adjust, but live on a camp rush for a week. They want to celebrate, laugh and tell stories all day and all night.

Other campers are not as vocal at first. You might want to save the celebrations (eating at a favorite restaurant, visiting relatives) for the next day. Some campers will have camp withdrawals when they get home. They have just made the best friends and had the best summer ever, so they experience somewhat of a “letdown” when they get home. Don’t get your feelings hurt. This just means that they had a great time, and they have you to thank for it. Give your camper a few days and they will start talking. Each child is different.

You might unpack some yucky stuff. Your camper’s laundry is washed just before they go home, but some yucky things always find their way into the trunks. This is why we encourage you to send old clothes and old towels. We will return labeled items that your child may leave behind. However, don’t be surprised if some things are never found. In the confusion of packing up to go home, some items may get mixed up between the campers. Please return any nice items that don’t belong to your child so we can get them to the rightful owner.

We look forward to getting feedback from parents and value your opinions. You will receive a parent evaluation through an email survey that will help us with the hiring of future staff and will aid us in improving camp year after year. This can be very encouraging for them to keep up the good work throughout the summer and summers to come.

When your camper comes home, they will likely start counting down the days until next summer. You will have a special opportunity to register your camper for Summer 2018 on the closing day of the session and ensure that your child will enjoy another magical summer at Camp Highlander.

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