Hearts of Highlander

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched - they must be felt with the heart.

Helen Keller

It was a great day - a beautiful blue sky, a warm shining sun, and a light breeze whispering in the Carolina Pines. Today was camper’s choice day and the last full day of activities for campers in Session B. The campers LOVE camper’s choice days, so it is very fitting that we give them the opportunity to finish strong by choosing their own activities, setting their own schedule, so they can leave camp with no regrets. Today we had campers who were focusing on finishing their Master of the Mills requirements, campers finishing art projects at woodshop, painting or pottery, campers reaching their goals, crossing things off their camp bucket list and overcoming their fears. Every camper set out this morning to make the very most of their day with heart, determination and joy.

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Today I reached a goal, made a dream a reality, with the help of many of your children. I’ve always wanted to incorporate a service project into camp to give our campers a chance to show the ONE LOVE of Camp Highlander to others. This afternoon I led a camper’s choice activity called Hearts of Highlander. Sounds fancy, but the class was really just a bracelet making class. It wasn’t the class; it was the mission behind the class that made my dreams come true. This friendship bracelet making class made bracelets for needy children in DSS/Foster Care services in Western North Carolina.

During the year I volunteer with a non-profit organization called Sleep Tight Kids, that was founded by a Camp Highlander parent. This organization provides comfort bags with newly purchased bedtime-related items for children including blankets, stuffed animals, dental care kits, and books either directly to needy families or through partnerships with other non-profit organizations supporting needy families, with a focus on families in Western North Carolina. The goal of the organization is to promote feelings of hope and comfort in children as they lay their heads to rest each night. After today, the bags will include hand-made friendship bracelets that were “made with love by your friends at Camp Highlander.”

When I announced the service project in the dining hall on Tuesday before camper’s choice sign-ups, everyone cheered, clapped and some even stood up in support. I am so proud of our campers, your children, for the heart that they showed today for children in need. Over 40 campers came and made bracelets today, using their talents and their hearts to give to those who are less fortunate.

In addition to the friendship bracelets, we are also selling teddy bears in the camp store that can be purchased for the Sleep Tight Kids comfort bags. We will be donating the bears to the organization at the end of the summer, as well as the profits from the sales to impact as many children as possible in the Western North Carolina community. Sleep Tight Kids is an amazing organization, and we are honored to be able to play a small part in helping children feel loved and comforted.

Favorite Details of the Day:

  • Reflect - Beth talked today about one of our core values - faith.
  • Meals - Fun fact - today is National Blueberry Muffin Day! To celebrate, we had homemade blueberry muffins, eggs, sausage, oatmeal, grits and fruit bar for breakfast. Lunch was pulled pork sliders, onion rings, vinegar cole slaw and salad bar. Dinner was greek chicken, greek salad, veggies and pita with hummus.
  • Dessert - We had ice cream sundaes for dessert tonight, but that’s not the best part…the best part is that we had dessert FIRST! Every once in a while, the counselors will band together and spread the word around camp all day that after grace ends, the entire camp has to chant “DESSERT FIRST, DESSERT FIRST, DESSERT FIRST!” Tonight they did, and we obliged. I know what you’re thinking but…THIS IS CAMP!
  • Special Events - Senior Camp was surpised to have a senior late night pool party after EP. Everyone had a blast!
  • EP - Tonight we rolled out the red carpet for the 2018 Film Festival. Cabins have been working all session on their short films to be shown at tonight’s festival. I wish you could have seen all the hilarious, adorable, silly and creative productions put on by our campers. It was so much fun! (A side note - Film Fest is not very much fun to photograph because all do we sit and watch. This is very fun for us, but not so excitig for you. Please pardon the pictures. Sometimes, you just gotta be there!)
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Camp is full of heart moments every day. I have witnessed some beautiful things over the past two weeks from our campers and staff - including a friend who felt left out of the group, sharing costumes with the cabinmate who didn’t bring any, speaking truth in love over a disagreement, giving away the last spot in a class to a younger camper at camper’s choice sign-ups, forgiving a friend after hurt feelings were shared, giving a shout out in the dining hall to a cabinmate who needed it, making bracelets for a friend you will never meet and the list goes on.

For these moments and so many more, I am grateful. I want to thank you for sharing your child with us this session. Thank you for allowing Camp Highlander to be a part of your family. Thank you for your support of camp and for connecting with us on this blog each day.

Our hearts are full of gratitude and love for you!