This year’s Highland Banquet theme was “Relevant? Future ministry at Highland.” Executive Director Kent Kauffman covered the second part of this theme by sharing a vision for Highland’s next decade, focusing on three ideas that address specific needs at Highland.
First, Kent shared that many of the camps he visited during his sabbatical were in the process of updating cabins. This trend combined with the cabin-related issues that Highland experienced this summer – everything from pesky critters to the stress of frequent flood watches – makes the creation of new cabins a priority. Starting fresh on higher ground allows new design elements to be incorporated, improving experiences for guest groups as well as summer campers and staff. Some of the existing A-frames (one pictured, left) could be used in new ways, providing sheltered spaces for crafts, nature study, or day camps.
Second, an addition to the lower level of Red Oak Lodge would allow Highland to serve larger groups better. Groups of 71 or more start to feel crowded – and 20% of groups in Red Oak Lodge are that large (one large group pictured in Red Oak, center). The proposed addition would provide dining room overflow, additional meeting space, and a more commercial kitchen, as well as offering a second entrance and lobby space that would make the building easier for two groups to share.
The final piece of the ten-year vision is a new service and discipleship program for young adults. This idea ticks a lot of boxes: the mentoring and educational aspects mesh well with Highland’s desire to equip young people for mission and service; it puts the former clinic building (pictured, right) to good use as housing; and it would provide Highland with an additional, flexible labor force that could help fill many different roles, both in the summer camp realm and in Highland’s wider ministry.
Kent closed with the acknowledgement that these are still ideas, not yet definite plans. There will be many things to consider moving forward, including the complexities of zoning and building regulations, but first it’s important to make sure that these are dreams that the greater Highland community can get behind. Every voice is valued as we collectively seek God’s direction for future ministry at Highland.
Micah Hurst presented the other half of the program; see the part 1 summary here.