High Rocks Alum Spotlight: Barret Normann
March 30, 2023 by Darby Dame
We are back with our second installment in our alumni highlight. This series highlights alumni throughout our years and what they are up to now. Interested in being spotlighted or want to nominate someone doing good work? Email Darby at email@example.com.
Our second spotlight features alum Barret Normann. Read our first spotlight on Dalton Langdon here.
Barret is a former camper who attend from 1970 to 1975. He has made many appearances at camp since including our tribute to Sumner Williams Weekend, 60th Reunion, 65th Reunion, and attended one of our Family Retreats during Summer 2020! He is from New Orleans, however, recently move to Fairhope, Alabama. For the many alumni who know Barret, you know he is the life of the party, always adding a funny joke or telling a wild camp story.
What do you miss most about camp?
While the mountains of Western North Carolina have always held a very special place in my heart, I think what I miss most about camp are the friendships that were made over very short periods of time (usually 4-6 weeks) but which have endured now for almost 50 years! It is remarkable to me that when someone needs support or is experiencing some difficulty, it is often someone from my camp days that first makes the call to alert me of such and ask for help!
What is one of your favorite Camp High Rocks memories?
There are just way too many to recount; however, as canoeing was really my thing, I am honored to have been the youngest member of the original six campers mentioned in Will Leverette’s book (A History of Whitewater Paddling in Western North Carolina: Water Wise) to have made the first decent of the Nolichucky. We were a tight knit group back then, and we remain such to this day! Another favorite memory was carrying the baton on the run up Camp Fire Hill on the last leg of the Olympics. I distinctly remember getting to the top and looking down at camp and thinking how much I was going to miss it!
What advice would you give an incoming staff or camper?
To young incoming campers, I would tell them what I have told my own children when dropping them off at various camps….”Be very nice to everyone, resolve any conflicts quickly, and enjoy your time there, as it will be short, but the memories and the friendships will last a lifetime!”
How has your time at Camp High Rocks impacted choices you have made in your life?
I believe my time at camp directed me first to attend college in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Other than New Orleans, Richmond had quite a presence at camp in my day, and many of my closest camp friends with whom I reconnected in college were from there. Second, it influenced me greatly to vacation in North Carolina. For a number of years I took my children to the rustic High Hampton Inn in Cashiers. The old rustic cabin we stayed in there, the buffet dining room, and the lake were the closest thing to camp I had ever seen.
What are one or two of your proudest moments post camp that your time at High Rocks played a role in?
I thank my lucky stars every single day that my parents had the where with all to afford to send me to camp! Aside from a loving home and my education, it may be the single greatest thing my parents did for me! One of my proudest moments has been to be able to do the same thing for my two children! While they did not choose to go to High Rocks, as I would have liked, dropping them off at camp and seeing the changes in them when I picked them up has been extremely gratifying!
How did camp make you be brave?
I was always a rather brave child; however, there is no doubt that canoeing with the other five older campers that I spent so much time with, as well as the presence of older counselors, gave me a confidence that not everyone my age had.
Anything else to share?
As always, give my best to my ole friend and camp buddy Townsend, and please tell Jane that I think of her often! Few people have so directly and mostly indirectly influenced my life, simple by providing the venue where I grew up for so many summers!
– Stay Well,Barret