Highlands Presbyterian Camp and Retreat Center Testimonials
A civil engineer, elder and naturalist, Mark has directed camps, counseled at youth retreats, chaired the camp committee, chaired many of the subcommittees, and helped develop the retreat center.
As I think back over the years, I hope that I have had as much influence on Highlands Camp as Highlands has had on my life. God knew I would be good for Highlands and that Highlands would be good for me. Early on I was able to use my God-given management skills as a volunteer in ways that my young career would still not allow due to my inexperience. My involvement at Highlands has allowed me to grow professionally and spiritually as God really tested my faith as He pushed me to help with many huge challenges at Highlands.
The thousands of hours and thousands of miles volunteering for Highlands are outweighed by the rewards 10 to one. Being a part of the Highlands “family” working with God’s angels and saints to carry out God’s mission at Highlands has been a major highlight of my life. The thing I enjoy most is directing summer camps and working with the campers. Watching them experience Christ in the majesty of the mountains, watching their faith explode in just one week and watching them grow into Christian leaders over just a few years has been amazing.
When our son called his sister begging her to direct a horse camp so that he could be her counselor was all the reward I needed for my years of efforts. Christ’s call for my service at Highlands has filled my life with purpose, joy and fulfillment. My church, my family and my employer have all greatly benefited by what Christ has taught me at Highlands.
A mother of three grown children, all of whom went to summer and midwinter camps while growing up, Annely and her husband now participate in camp clean up days, weekend host duties and various camp committees.
Highlands means so much to me because when I am at camp I can feel the love. In my estimation, there is no other place that embodies the Christian spirit as much and as well as Highlands Camp ... camp was instrumental in our children’s “spiritual awakening.” If I were not still working; I might be a full-time camp volunteer!
Michelle first came to Highlands the summer between her junior and senior year of high school (2005). Since it was her first time at a summer camp, she decided “to go all out with adventure camp! (and it was awesome!).” She writes, “It was my only time there as a camper, but I fell in love with it.” In the Summer of 2007, Michelle joined our summer staff as a counselor. Michelle attends First United Presbyterian Church in Loveland and First Presbyterian Church in Fort Collins.
"I just want to pray for all us teens because today’s society makes it so hard to be a Christian." This emotional prayer, shared by a camper during Week 6’s all camp worship this summer, changed my life. For about the past year, I have been thinking about the possibility of going into youth ministry. This moment, among other events this summer up at camp, proved to me that God is in fact calling me to do it. I want to be able to show teens that living a life of faith is more awesome than anything that this world can offer them and that there are people here for them that God has called to help them in this awesome journey. I have been praying, looking into different seminaries and talking to close friends about this decision (all who have supported me greatly), and right now I am leaning toward Austin Theological Presbyterian Seminary in Austin, Texas. I have a year and a half left of my dance major here at CSU, but afterwards I am planning on attending seminary and receiving my Master of Divinity with an emphasis on youth ministry. I cannot thank those people enough who have supported me. I have to give a special thanks to my Highlands family who has always inspired me and supported me in my faith journey. I am truly blessed to be a part of such a great ministry, and I will never be able to express as much gratitude toward Highlands as it deserves. I just know that God sent me to Highlands with this plan for my life in mind, and I am infinitely grateful. I only ask for prayers for me and my journey and that everyone continues to BE FEARLESS in their walk with our Amazing Love, Jesus Christ.
Stephanie first started attending horse camps at Highlands in '96, was a part of our Riding Staff in Training program and has been on summer staff both as a wrangler and with guest services. She is a member of Mountain View Presbyterian Church in Loveland, Colo.
I remember the first time that my parents signed my sister and me up for horse camp. I was so excited about it that I had a bag packed and behind my bed a good month before the camp was to start. It was only a short four-day camp for beginning riders, but I was hooked. Highlands is just that type of place. The type of place that stays in your heart.
Highlands is more than just a place where I go so that I can ride the awesome horses that we have here during the summer. It is truly a place where I have grown to love all that God has given us. Looking up at a beautiful mountain sunset, or sitting down on a sun warmed rock and a having a talk with a good friend, or laughing with campers as they discover frogs and tadpoles in a meadow pond I know that I am blessed. Here is a place that is able to nurture you where ever you may be in your own spiritual journey, a place where you can reflect and find peace.
The sense of community here is just one of the features that draws me time and time again to return. It is not just merely a community of people and a community of brothers and sisters in Christ. I have met many people up here who have had a great impact in my life. This is a place where people say hello and ask people how their day is going, and really care about the answer. This is the place that I know that I am wanted and that I belong.
Just the other day, I was talking to an old friend that I haven't really seen or talked to for some time. It was a short conversation, but she brought up the time that we both came up for horse camp. We remember our horses we rode, we remembered the friends that we met, we remembered the fun times that we had ... we remembered Highlands because it is the type of place that stays in your heart.
For so long, I had been rushing through everything and as a side effect, could not feel emotions as I should have. After I had been at Highlands for a while, I began to feel an inner peace that I’d been lacking for so long. It began with the people that I met at Highlands. Their unyielding faith in their work and ministry was a living example of how Christ teaches us to live with kindness, gentleness, patience and understanding. It would also come after a day of working when I could hear God’s voice in the calm of evening. In those small increments of time, I could feel my faith and my inner peace being restored.
"I liked to see that even Presbyterians can be modern and exciting (activities and music) for teens, yet liturgically meaningful (worship service with a benediction, stations, etc.)." — camper parent
"She has enjoyed four years of camp but this year she had such a positive experience spiritually … Between offering spiritual activities and her maturity this year, she had a very moving experience. Thanks so much to all who make camp possible. You do a wonderful and amazing job." — camper parent
"Had most fun of any camp ever attended, and has everything she's wanted to do in mountains. Thank you for making photo DVD available, also "flexatarian" meals. How wonderful that an ecumenical tradition continues." — camper parent
"I really felt a connection with God and I really needed that. I think that camps should be longer." — camper
"I had a great time with all the people and the games were really fun. I also liked being able to concentrate about God and His story." — camper
"It was so amazing I loved it. Everyone was so nice and the stuff we did rocked. I'm so coming back. Thanks to my counselors and all the other people in the camp and all the people in adventure camp for being so amazing." — camper