As the sun sets over Old Forge Mountain, campers gather before the blazing campfire to reflect on their time together. The final campfire is the treasured finale to the session - it’s the closing celebration of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Campers and staff may return for five, 10, 15 summers and still each year is perfectly unique and irreplaceable. Cabin units change, campers grow and mature, and each summer brings its own set of experiences, relationships and memories to be celebrated and cherished.
Each girls cabin, once composed of 10 separate strangers standing an arms length away from one another, now huddles together as sisters, locked arm in arm. A mixture of smiles, tears and outbursts of laughter intermingles with the pops and crackles of the fire and the serenade of old, familiar, campfire songs.
As we often say, Camp Highlander is nothing without the people. On its own, camp is simply a collection of buildings, beautiful trees, some facilities and an array of activities located at 42 Dalton Road. But the heart of Camp Highlander, what makes us more than just a place, is the people who call this mountain home - the people who make us family. Final campfire, then, is a celebration of this family.
It’s a celebration of how they’ve poured out their heart, tried their best and given their all to their cabin mates, their counselors and their mountain home. And, in turn, while they leave these gates with a new sense of growth and maturity, and with new friendships and memories to last a lifetime, they also forever leave their mark on this mountain. They celebrate, surrounded by their dearest camp friends, both the impact they’ve made and the impact made upon them.
The light from hundreds of candles, the four Creed torches, and the roaring campfire rises up to join the brightly freckled night sky. As the girls Highlander reflect on the hope, joy, love and friendship they’ve experienced over the last several weeks, they prepare to finish out the summer with a newfound sense of confidence, accomplishment and belonging. This is not good-bye, but see you next summer!