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fun in the sun at highlands summer camp by Kevin Starcher, Director of Summer Camps & Youth Programs


t has been an incredible summer here on the mountain at Highlands. Not only has summer staff joined us from six different states and four different countries, participants have come from all over the United States to visit our mountain getaway. While it has been exciting to help coordinate participants’ transportation as folks fly in from Salt Lake City, Utah, and Balmoral, Tennessee, it is even more exciting to think about how the beauty and

programming of Highlands draws folks from all around the country and world for an intentional time to focus on God and grow in faith through Jesus Christ. While drawing from a deep tradition of summer camping for people of all ages, we were able to try new and exciting endeavors this summer, includ-

ing Youth Re-Creation – a conference for senior high school youth, and a Day Camp program in Dalton, Nebraska. We had wonderful partners who helped support these two exciting programs, including the Denver Presbytery who provided a generous grant for Youth Re-Creation; and the Parish of the Plains, who supplied an amazing crew of volunteers that worked together with us to reach out to 55 children and youth in Dalton, Nebraska. Beyond the incredible beauty of Highlands, and the terrific array of programming options available to participants of all ages, I am convinced that the backbone of our ministry is its emphasis on relationships. While partnering with our churches and governing agencies, and our participants and staff, it is amazing to see God’s spirit at work among us, as folks work together for a common mission in our summer program: to share the grace and love of Jesus Christ to ALL and through ALL that we do – be it counselors helping young children grow by conquering homesickness with fun and understanding, campers overcoming personal challenges by making it all the way to the top of the climbing rock, or staff and campers breaking down barriers as we grow in Christ through experiential Bible Study and worship. It is God working through the people that come to Highlands that makes the ministry so special and transformative. So join us! We invite you to be with us up on the mountain for one of the many programs we offer for people of all ages. Experience the natural beauty. Grow in a Bible Study or specialized program. But most importantly, be part of a ministry that continues to grow in amazing ways through an amazing God! Page –1– August 2008

Dear Friends,


s I write this, we are in the midst of our last full week of summer camp. We have 91 campers here, including 10 special needs children from Respite Care who are participating along with our 5th/6th Grade campers. The highlight of my day is when I get to transport some of these folks to an activity. Their sheer joy in getting to ride in the golf cart and their contagious laughter makes me grateful for the many blessings of my life! It has been a fun, faith-filled summer . . . our summer staff is a remarkable group of funny, creative,

2008 Summer Staff

energetic people brimming over with a love of Christ. They came this summer to share that love with others and they have done an amazing job! Thursday evening worship around the pond is a moving experience that campers name as the highlight of the week. Our summer musical was written by summer counselor Jordan Liebing, and gives witness to both the talent and faith of our Senior High and Mid-High Music, Art & Drama campers. It has been a challenging summer, as costs have gone up and donations have been down. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the words of Tom Sheffield when I first called Denver Presbytery to ask about a loan to help us through the summer. He said, “We have resources

and we can help you!” The help of Denver Presbytery came in a much bigger way than we ever expected! Their gift of $100,000 has carried us through our time of increased summer expenses. We are grateful for these partners in ministry and their generous support! It has also been a challenging summer as we have reduced part-time staff positions due to a reduced budget. Year-round staff members, who already carry huge loads in the summer, have picked up weekend hosting, maintenance and housekeeping tasks. Yearround staff has also deferred more than $1600 per pay period until the last third of the year in order to help our cash flow. Our year-round staff people are remarkable, generous and creative servants who love the ministry of Highlands and work hard for its success. In all of the days of this summer, God has been glorified and the love of Christ has been shared in our unique setting of Christian community! As summer camp wraps up, we move into our busy season of guest groups. We look forward to hosting family reunions, Lutheran Bishops from Madagascar, and an international peace program for high school students. Our beautiful facility will provide a unique opportunity for these folks, and many others, to worship and work together. Through our ministry, the work of Christ will be enhanced throughout the world. Each day I am grateful for this ministry and your part in it! I hope that you will keep the staff and members of the Joint Highlands Camp Committee in your prayers. I am grateful for your gifts that arrive each day . . . large or small they represent a commitment to this ministry and its future. Thank you for your generosity! Grace and Peace, Maria Shupe, Executive Director

Our Fall Work Day is scheduled for Saturday, October 4th, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. We had twenty-five folks join us for Spring Work Day and we had a great time! We hope you’ll come and join us as we get Highlands ready for winter! To register to help, please call Laura (303-747-2888) or email her at

Page –2– August 2008


a dream . . . . arrowood lot #1

rrowood Lot #1 is a 1.86 acre parcel of land that borders our property. As you turn onto Highway 7 Business Route this triangular shaped property is bordered by Arrowood Lane, Hwy. 7 BR, our property below the staff house and our access road near the old Red Barn. The owner of this property currently has it up for sale. It is listed for $109,950. The owner, tells us that she would like to get $100,000 for this property. With rising costs and reduced donations, principal payments and a line of credit, Highlands doesn’t have the resources to purchase this property. We have suggested to the owner that she consider donating a portion of the cost of this property to Highlands, and that we would make this opportunity known to those who love Highlands. If you are interested in helping us to pursue the acquisition of this property, please contact Maria Shupe, Executive Director. For us it is a dream; with your help it might become a reality.

from annely noble joint highlands camp committee chairperson


took a group of fellow church members to Highlands Camp for “Seeing is Believing” in July. I wanted them to see and hear the excitement of the campers as they conveyed their week’s adventures to their parents. I’m glad I did, for as my group and I were eating our yummy burgers and hot dogs, a group of 3rd/4th Grade campers sat uphill from us singing in unison, between giggles and bites of food, the funny camp songs they had learned that week. Downhill from us sat a grandparent who was telling a friend how her senior high granddaughter had reported that “this past week at camp was the BEST ever!” We overheard excited adventure campers report on the high ropes course and bouldering, and we heard horse camp participants who wondered how they were going to be able to part from their favorite horses until they could return next summer. These experiences do not happen by accident; there is a strong leadership team behind all of what Highlands provides to its campers. It begins with Maria Shupe, the Executive Director of Highlands, and her year-round staff setting the stage for success with a year’s worth of planning for programming, advertising and registration. They have already been planning the 2009 camping season for six months! Secondly, there is an incredible support team of individuals who maintain facilities and grounds, (Dave Strom and staff) and provide nutritious meals (Cecilia Everson and staff) and medical and theological support (volunteer RN’s and chaplains) in a wholesome God and family oriented setting. Finally, there are hand-selected counselors who provide not only leadership, enthusiasm and excitement for camper activities and Bible studies, but above all, act as mentors and examples of integrity, moral rectitude and Godly living to their campers.

Additionally, behind the scenes is a Camp Committee comprised of Maria Shupe, Presbytery Executive Staff members, Tom Sheffield-Denver and Dan Saperstein-Plains and Peaks, and equal numbers of congregational members from each of the Denver and Plains and Peaks Presbyteries. This committee’s very dedicated volunteers oversee the administration and function of the camp. They sit on programming, personnel, finance, marketing, development, and operations subcommittees and help to assure the success of Highlands! These are the individuals who stay awake at night, not only praying for the well being of the staff and campers and successful programs, but also for volunteers to act as guest hosts, kitchen help and maintenance workers and for financial donations for camp operations. During our “Seeing is Believing” outing, my fellow church members clearly saw how our one triune God has brought all these individuals together to provide a wonderful community - all dedicated to the same goal - bringing individuals closer to God.

Page –3– August 2008

October 29 – November 1, 2008 Rocky Mountain Halloween: The Stanley Hotel and Other Things That Go Bump in the Night Explore our fascination with spine-tingling stories, spooky movies, and the supernatural! Lectures/discussion will focus on horror as a literary and film genre. This event includes a tour of the historic Stanley Hotel, which is the backdrop for Stephen King's novel The Shining, and lunch at the hotel as well. We encourage you to read (or re-read!) The Shining as well as Sigmund Freud's essay "The Uncanny." December 26th – December 30th, 2008 Rocky Mountain Holiday: Re-Discover Old Time Traditions in a Getaway With Your Grandchild During this four night program, participants will experience the holiday traditions of people living in the Rocky Mountains. While enjoying beautiful winter views of Rocky Mountain National Park, participants will spend a day learning about and experiencing the winter climate of the mountains, and how it affects all of life! Next, participants will discover the local holiday traditions of mountain folks and use hands-on activities to create their own mountain holiday experience. Participants will also discover the joy of winter sports in the mountains, from ice skating to snowshoeing!

coming to highlands in 2009 Rocky Mountain National Park: Winter Wonderland March 8-13, 2009 World Affairs Conference: Reflecting in the Rockies April 5-10, 2009 Emerge Into Spring at Rocky Mountain National Park May 3-8, 2009 An Intergenerational Elderhostel: Summer Spectacular in the Colorado Rockies August 9-14, 2009 Be sure to go to today to register!

wish list

3 Queen size bedding for the Nurse’s Cabin. (We are very grateful to Westminster Presbyterian Church for the donation of a new mattress and box-spring.) An extra set of sheets, pillowcases, and a bedspread would be wonderful! 3 Twin-sheet bedding and towels, for use by international staff who can not bring these items with them. 3 An additional LCD projector. We love the one we have, and often have several guest groups asking to use this equipment at the same time. 3 3 new easels for group use. 3 Hairdryers (for use by the guest who forgot theirs!) 3 Large size Webber grills for guest use at Paintbrush and Horse Lodge. Page –4– August 2008

summer camp facts and figures • 616 campers (including 55 Day-Campers in the Parish of the Plains) a slight increase over 2007! • 210 new campers. • 38 sessions of camp. • $10,048.30 in scholarships provided by Highlands through designated gifts from donors. • Over $12,144.50 in scholarships provided by congregations for campers. • 22 Volunteers (Directors, medical staff and support staff). • 22 Student Nurses who did their pediatric rotation with us. • 19 Summer Camp Staff (including 1 international student). • A new contract with Allenspark Livery that provided 3 Horse Staff + staff for guest rides. • 6 Summer Kitchen Staff (including 5 international students). • 1 Summer Guest Services Staff.

upcoming events Fall Foliage Fantasy Monday, September 22 – Wednesday, September 24, 2008 An opportunity for adults to come to Highlands and sit back, relax, and ooh and aah at Colorado’s fall gold. Senior High Retreat: Friday, November 7 – Sunday, November 9, 2008 “Peace in the Chaos” . . . join us as we explore the concept of finding the peace of Christ in a chaotic world. 24/6: A Gathering of Men Friday, November 21 – Saturday, November 22, 2008 A 24-hour gathering to help men take inventory of the friends they can count on and to strategize about gathering men in their lives whom they would consider friends. Speaker Dennis Ondrejka. Page –5– August 2008


t General Assembly, Way-Points, a cooperative organization of 13 Presbyterian Camp and Retreat Sites was launched. In 2009 Highlands, and 12 other sites, will begin offering programming for adults and intergenerational family groups. Be sure to go to and check out all 39 of the programs that will be offered around the nation. At Highlands you can participate in these Way-Points programs: Rocky Mountain Fourth of July Family Vacation July 2 – 5, 2009 Cost: Adults: $250.00/person (Double Adult Occupancy); $375.00/person (Single Adult Occupancy) Children and youth stay in rooms with parents. Youth (over 12): $100.00/person Children (6-12): $80.00/person Children 5 & Under: Free Relax in our majestic mountain center for your vacation. Located in the heart of the National Forest with spectacular views into Rocky Mountain National Park, Highlands is the perfect place for your summer family vacation. Activities will include horse-back riding, worship, canoeing, fireworks, Bible study, and exploring Rocky Mountain National Park.

21st Century Thought in Astronomy, Geology & Theology August 16 – 21, 2009 Cost: $435/person double occupancy; $630/person single occupancy What are those lights in the night sky? How did that mountain get so tall or that lake so deep? Who or what created it all? Join astronomers Drs. Irene and Steve Little: geologist Dr. Gary Wallace: and Rev. Brad Rohwer to explore the sky, the earth, and God’s wonderful creation as they play out in the Rocky Mountains. Longs Peak: Towering Treasure of Rocky Mountain National Park September 27 – October 2, 2009 Cost: $465/person double occupancy; $650/person single occupancy From early climbing expeditions to the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park, the story of 14,259-foot Longs Peak boasts colorful characters (like Enos Mills), technological innovators (like F.O. Stanley), and artistic inspiration. Visit the ranger station, tour museums, and hear a National Park Ranger and others talk about this wonderful peak.

december retreat center special


n December, the bears are hibernating and the flowers are tucked in under a light blanket of winter snow. It’s the perfect time to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and take advantage of the quiet winter wonderland at Highlands with a great getaway rate. A special treat for your neighborhood groups, church groups, or families, the cozy and spacious retreat center rooms are just $70/night Sunday through Thursday and $90/night on Friday and Saturday during December. We’re a short trip up well-maintained Hwy. 7, a Colorado scenic byway. On-site sledding, snowshoeing, and hot cocoa by the fireplace are just some of the opportunities that await. Downhill and cross-country skiing, and last minute shopping in Estes Park are nearby. We’ll treat you to some gracious mountain hospitality and real Christmas spirit! Page –6– August 2008

financial update

Food Costs . . . Rising Gas Costs . . . Rising Propane Cost . . . Rising A week of Summer Camp . . . . PRICELESS!


hrough the month of June, donated income is running about 57% of 2007 (not including presbytery support). In the first half of 2008 we have seen significant increases in costs for propane, gas and food. Camper fees cover only about 50% of the cost of summer camp for each camper. Donated income, and income generated by guests groups, makes up this difference. Your continued support of this ministry is important. In light of reduced donations, the Joint Highlands Camp Committee adopted a revised budget in April which eliminated some part-time staff positions and

reduced other part-time positions. These responsibilities are being picked up by year-round staff. At the June Council meeting of the Presbytery of Plains and Peaks, the Council authorized Highlands to borrow up to an additional $200,000 to meet current cash flow needs. We began a conversation with Denver Presbytery and First National Bank about borrowing additional funds. First National Bank has agreed to increase our Line of Credit to $420,000. In July, the Council of Denver Presbytery made a gift of $100,000 to Highlands on behalf of the entire presbytery. We are grateful for our partners in ministry in

Denver Presbytery, and for their generous support of this ministry! The Capital Campaign Committee continues to work on how to best reach donors in each presbytery. We currently owe $305,000 on our Line of Credit, and have a mortgage balance of $2,178,324.89. The Finance sub-committee meets monthly to review financial reports and make recommendations to the Highlands Camp Committee. Conversations with donors indicate that some of the current decrease in donations will be made up by year-end. Careful consideration of our financial status may require further staff cuts in the last quarter of 2008.

Mark your calendar for the Highlands Christmas Party and Quilt Auction! Come and enjoy appetizers and our annual Celebration of Volunteers at the Highlands Christmas Party. When: Saturday December 6, 2008 1:00p.m. to 4:00p.m. Quilt Auction will begin at 2:30 p.m. Where: Highlands Presbyterian Camp and Retreat Center A variety of handcrafted quilts, donated by friends of Highlands, will be available for you to bid on. Funds raised from the Quilt Auction will be used to reduce the mortgage on the retreat center to ensure a strong financial future for Highlands. Admission is free and everyone is welcome! To donate a quilt, or for more information, please contact Chrissy Starcher: 303-747-2339 or Page –7– August 2008

Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage


Omaha, NE 68102 Permit No. 1951

P.O. Box 66 Allenspark, CO 80510 Address Service Requested

what’s inside: Fun in the Sun at Highlands Summer Camp........ 1 Message from the Executive Director.................... 2 Our Fall Work Day.................................................... 2 A Dream .... Arrowood Lot #1.................................. 3 From Annely Noble, Joint Highlands Camp Committee Chairperson.......................... 3 Elderhostel................................................................. 4 Wish List..................................................................... 4 Summer Camp Facts and Figures........................... 5 Upcoming Events...................................................... 5 6 December Retreat Center Special........................... 6 Financial Update....................................................... 7 Christmas Party and Quilt Auction........................ 7 Page –8– August 2008

MISSION The mission of Highlands is to provide gracious hospitality and quality Christian programs in a majestic mountain setting and to nurture spiritual renewal and transformation in a safe and inclusive environment. For more information about Highlands Presbyterian Camp & Retreat Center Contact 303-747-2888 u

August 2008 Newsletter  

August 2008 Newsletter

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