Perhaps it’s the warm, golden sunlight slowly flooding into each cabin; perhaps it’s the chirps and tweets and whistles of the mountain coming alive again; or, perhaps most likely, it’s the sharp, ringing tolls of the camp bell reverberating throughout camp. Whatever the cause, Camp Highlander wakes up each morning at precisely eight o’clock and campers get ready for breakfast, complete their morning chores and join the rest of camp for Reflect at the Rock.
Campers and staff alike start each day by reflecting on the Highlander Creed. Stories, quotes and lessons are powerful tools for building character.
Make today better than yesterday, as good as you hope tomorrow will be, with courage, honesty, integrity and faith as you live the Highlander Creed.
We close our reflection time each morning with these words, and then everyone is off to breakfast!
Campers enjoy a breakfast of champions at Highlander, including a hot meal, a large selection of cereal, yogurt, granola and even a fresh fruit bar – plenty of options to fuel every child!
After breakfast, campers return to their cabin for one final round of cleaning before changing into the appropriate clothing for their first activities. Before first and second period however, everyone makes their way to morning assembly where we raise the flag, say the pledge (yes, we still say the pledge of allegiance!), make announcements and share a good laugh to kick off the day. From there, everyone heads out for the first adventures of a brand new day!
Each cabin is given a schedule at the beginning of the week and, as a cabin unit, they travel to their assigned activities. Participating in activities as a cabin unit removes the element of competition between campers and helps every camper set individual goals to measure their own success. Each camper is challenged to push themselves out of their comfort zone and to discover new passions or talents.
We follow Cabin 26 around for the day as they enjoy an action-packed morning with land sports and waterfront during first and second period. These activities inspire teamwork and selflessness while encouraging campers to get out and get active!
Land sports help instill in each boy the ability to compete with integrity, to win with integrity and (sometimes) to lose with integrity. Then, at waterfront, each boy enjoys the thrill of jumping off the Blob Dock to send his cabin mate flying across the open air and into the lake … only to be launched into the water himself just moments later!
Before lunch, campers enjoy some unscheduled free time. Free time provides the opportunity for campers to socialize and build relationships. It also gives each camper the down time they need to feel independent. Some campers play basketball or ping-pong; some campers visit the camp store and others simply find a spot to visit with their friends.
Then comes lunch. As each cabin sits down, family-style, around their own table, they share stories of their morning adventures as they refuel for the exciting afternoon ahead of them.
After lunch is rest hour, a much needed time of relaxation for our campers to recharge before they return to their fun-filled schedule. In our busy world, we rarely set aside time to truly and simply rest. At Highlander, this is a priority. During this quiet time, campers can enjoy the old fashioned art of writing a letter, spend some quality time with their friends or even lose themselves in a handpicked book from our library. And sometimes, especially as the summer wears on, rest hour is about just that… REST.
The bell rings out across the mountain at 2:15 and camp immediately swings back into motion. Campers race to the snack bar for their afternoon snack before heading off to their next round of activities at 2:30. Cabin 26 is scheduled for flint-knapping, riflery and archery during third, fourth and fifth period.
In the middle of fourth period, they hear someone screaming “Apple Cart!” and watch as fellow campers rush toward a Highlander golf cart loaded with boxes and boxes of apples. The boys of Cabin 26 join in on the apple frenzy and soon find themselves enjoying a crisp, refreshing snack under the bright blue Carolina sky. Then it’s right back to the fun and excitement of their final activities!
Just before dinner, campers enjoy another round of free time. Some play tether-ball, some relax in their hammocks and some make one last visit to the camp store. With the hustle and bustle of camp and a fully-loaded schedule each day, campers really enjoy this unstructured free time.
At dinner, the dining hall is once again filled with energy and lively conversation. Plates of hot food and pitchers of ice-cold water are passed around each table as campers talk about all the fun they had that day and share their excitement for tonight’s Evening Program – the timeless, ageless Camp Highlander tradition… Square Dance!
The start of Evening Program is announced with another ringing of the bell between 7:30 and 8:00 o’clock. Until then, Cabin 26 is back in their cabin putting the final touches on their appropriately themed Square Dance outfits. When the bell rings, they head down through camp adorned in John Deere t-shirts, straw hats, bandannas and cowboy boots, ready to take the dance floor by storm!
As the music rings out, campers lock arms, exchange smiles and cheer wildly with excitement. Surrounded by hundreds of their closest friends dancing joyfully, those with any reservations begin to loosen up and join in on the fun. The night effortlessly gives way to laughter, energy and excitement.
After one final round of “Carolina Shooting Stars”, “Brevard Bow-ties” and “Four-Leaf Clovers”, the music dies down and campers head back to their cabins. The boys of Cabin 26 brush their teeth, wash off the fun of the day and climb into bed. Before each tired head hits the pillow, however, the counselors ask each boy to share what his favorite part of the day was and what he’s most looking forward to about tomorrow. Exhausted and excited, each camper slowly drifts off into a peaceful night’s sleep as the conversation tapers off and a nightly chorus of crickets, owls and a gentle breeze ruffling through the trees settles in over the mountain.