This year, we celebrate our 60th anniversary on Old Forge Mountain. We have thousands of Camp Highlander alumni all over the world, many of whom have continued the Highlander tradition within their families. Each month, we’ll profile one family who has come to the mountain for generations and experienced the magic and long-lasting positive effects of camp.
Our family in the spotlight this month are the Goods. Joyce (Scott) Good is a former Camp Highlander staff member who has held various positions including Cabin Counselor, Director of CITs and Camp Mom. In total, she has spent 15 summers at Highlander. During that time, Joyce introduced her three sons, Taylor, Treyton and Tanner, to Camp Highlander, and they, too, carried on the CH family tradition from 1998-2008.
What has Camp Highlander meant to you? Why have you attended for so long?
Camp Highlander is my happy place. In my college years when I was a counselor, it was where I went to have fun with my campers and fellow counselors. It was the place you could go to do everything you always wanted to do. I’ve always enjoyed working with kids and working as a camp counselor was a natural fit for an educator. I loved the crafts, the outdoor activities, and the evening programs. I especially loved day hikes and overnights.
Working at CH is being in constant movement from breakfast through midnight. I always left camp at the end of the summer exhausted, but the excitement, friendship and peace of the outdoors renewed my spirit and left me refreshed and ready to face another school year.
How have you seen your children grow from the camp experience?
I’ve always been a huge supporter of kids going to camp. As a counselor, I watched campers grow, but I didn’t quite understand how much campers grew until I watched my boys blossom at camp. That time on the mountain is priceless.
While I believe my husband and I did a great job of raising our boys, we could never have taught them the skills they gained at camp. Yes, they learned whitewater rafting, square dancing, riflery and horseback riding, but what I watched was them growing in the interpersonal skills needed to be successful adults. In their cabins, they learned how to work with different personalities, how to work through differences, how to compromise and how to communicate. Individually, they were challenged by activities to face fears, to feel the success of hard work and to try new things. They learned to face peer-pressure and make decisions both good and bad and to handle the consequences that accompanied their decisions.
Campers learn that failure is an opportunity to grow. Their cabinmates, counselors, and teammates affirm their personal value regardless of the outcome of a single event. And while the failure/success is almost never forgotten (in fact it often becomes camp lore and retold in stories for years to come), the outcome of the event does not define them. I know of no other place where kids can learn these life lessons.
What are your favorite memories of camp as a camper/staff member?
As a counselor, my favorite activity was always the two-day overnight to Shining Rock and Graveyard Fields. As the CIT Director, my favorite activity was the overnight to Panthertown Valley and the day hike to the Balds.
How have you seen camp evolve through the years?
While the camp experience stays the same, the camp has evolved. There are more activities and the variety of activities allows campers to explore all aspects of themselves.
The camp itself is BEAUTIFUL. The constant renovations are well planned and add to the CH experience. It always feels like home, but it hasn’t been allowed to grow old.
Did you attend Camp Highlander as a camper or work as staff and now you send your kids to CH? Tell us your story! Email CH alum, Julia Ade, at today, and you could be our next Highlander Family Spotlight!