Camp Highroad’s roots can be traced back to the Methodist Camp Meetings, which started in the late 1700’s and continued into the 1950’s. The camp was built in 1949 as a place where Sunday School groups could come to camp and, under the direction of their pastors and teachers, they could learn about the outdoors in a Christian setting. The original site had approximately 55 acres, a swimming pool, a dining hall, and several wooden cabins. Horses were borrowed from a neighboring farm to show the campers how to ride, and many nights were spent around a campfire cooking S’mores and singing camp songs. One summer evening in 1959 a fire destroyed the dining hall, but the next day a large tent was erected and all the campers were fed.
Our name came about as a result of a naming contest. A young girl from one of our churches suggested the name “Highroad,” after the road taken by the young man in the story Pilgrims’ Progress. Although many people try to add an “s” onto our name, Camp Highroad is meant to honor only one road, and it is the road less traveled.
Over the years the size of Camp Highroad has grown, with thirteen different parcels having been obtained since 1949. Today the camp encompasses 620 acres and contains a pond, three heated and air conditioned lodges, two private staff quarters, an office, a maintenance area, 32 other buildings, a swimming pool, an archery range, a mountain board park, a challenge course complex, a climbing wall, and five miles of hiking/nature trails. The camp has also grown in its ability to serve a range of guests. Where Highroad initially supported a summer camp program just for Methodist Churches, it is now open year-round and serves all groups whose teachings are compatible with the Methodist faith.
Over the last ten years, Camp Highroad has grown considerably and established itself as one of the most fun, safe, and versatile adventure camps in Virginia. Regardless of whether our guests are scouts, summer campers, retreat groups, concert-goers, or wedding parties, we at Camp Highroad will do all that we can to extend Christian hospitality to everyone! We pride ourselves on the service and hospitality offered to our guests. Our goal is that, through the experience that individuals have at Highroad, and the relationships that are built between staff and guests, the gospel will be presented through both our words and our actions.
Part of the way that we get to that point is by moving past simply offering programs and facilities to groups on camp. Each year, Highroad pursues a number of outreach and partnership opportunities in our community. For instance, every summer we partner with a local church to run a “City Camp” program where our staff and campers work together to run a Vacation Bible School off site. We partner with the YMCA each summer, and throughout the year, to run Loudoun YMCA day camps. We host a Christmas party for a number of churches in the Latino community. We have opened our doors to organizations like Adventure Camp and Starfish Savers, who serve children with special needs. Each year, All God’s Children comes to Highroad towards the end of our summer program to run a program of their own, supporting children whose parents are incarcerated. In the fall of 2011, for the first time in Highroad history, we hosted a Christian music festival, Awakening Fest. Over two days, Awakening drew 10,000 people onto camp… and over two days we pulled almost all of their cars out of the mud, with smiles on our faces!
As a year-round staff of seven people, we are so excited, blessed, and honored to be part of growing this camp and its service to our community. We’re thankful for God’s provision in tough economic time, for the support of our seasonal staff who give selflessly each year, and for the many volunteers and donors who fix, clean and build when the job becomes to big or the budget too small! Thanks to all of you who continue to support our mission and ministry!
It is our mission, as a ministry of the United Methodist Church, to provide a welcoming, safe and caring environment for people of all ages. We strive to do this by sharing Christ’s love with our guests, by reaching out to our community, by protecting our environment, and by working as if “working for the Lord” (Col. 3:23-24) in all that we do.
How We Got There… We adopted “Welcoming all to grow, learn, and experience Christ’s love in God’s creation.” as our mission statement in 2003, after a meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee. At that meeting, the first goal set was to create a safe, caring environment that would be a “place apart,” a place of peace, where all could come and truly experience God’s love in His creation. In addition to our adoption of a strong mission statement, Camp Highroad embraced the Seven Core Values of Christian Camping in 2006, shortly after their inception.
The Seven Core Values are:
1) Fostering Genuine Christian Community
2) Aiding in the Development of Christian Spiritual Leaders
3) Nurturing Christian Discipleship
4) Providing a Place Set Apart
5) Practicing Earth Care and Stewardship
6) Inspiring Guests to Love and Serve
7) Partnering with Local Churches and Conferences to Accomplish Shared Goals
Our Director, Rev. Rick Dawson, was a member of the team that developed the core values and was able to quickly institute them into our daily routine. As a result of our passion for our mission and values, demand for our services has grown. We add new schools every year to our Outdoor Education Program, our Christian Summer Camp Program is growing, with new sessions being added each year, and our individual activities and classes are evolving and growing in popularity with groups as varied as Girl Scouts and Police Camps. In addition, thanks to our many loyal supporters and sponsor churches, Camp Highroad has become one of the shining jewels in the United Methodist camping community. We credit all of this success to God, and we continue to hold fast to the mission and values that we believe in!
Camp Highroad is open to campers regardless of their nationality, race, religion, color, sex, and family.