The Clan Cameron was granted the "Honored Clan" distinction at this year's games in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. In addition to being a weekend during which the Camerons of North America might once again gather together, this clan rally also served another important purpose. For the first time the regional presidents of the North American Association met with Commissioner Don Cameron, pitching ideas for the future and also re-drafting the Structure and Guidelines which all chapters and branches use as a guide. One of the most basic, yet important results of this topic (though at this point still unofficial) is the change of name from "The Cameron Clan in North America," to "Clan Cameron North America." There was also discussion on the following topics:
- How to honor the memory of the late President of the Western U.S. Region, Larry H. Cameron
- The Achnacarry Gathering of 2001
- A Clan Cameron College and Outreach Program
- A Genealogical Center for Clan Cameron North America to utilize as their archives.
- Other topics, which will be focused on after further review
Soon after the meeting, the Camerons marched in the Scottish parade down the Gatlinburg Parkway. For many Camerons, this was the first chance they had to meet and greet one another. In addition to creating new friendships which will no doubt last for years to come many old friends met once again and their trolley ride back up the hill following the parade was a social event in itself. Only an hour or so later the pre-games reception and ceilidh was held and the Camerons carried in both the Whisky and Haggis, with Mike Bozeman and Tom Cameron doing the duties.
Beginning on Saturday the actual games began, amidst the beautiful Smokies. Gatlinburg's Mills Park is a wonderful venue, ideal for such an event. The group photo featured around 70 Camerons. Later that afternoon three dedicated Cameron kids joined the Kids Parade and were drenched during the process. Never to be deterred by a wee bit of rain the kids had a wonderful time and did their parents proud.
As for Patsie, she spearheaded the entire Clan Cameron Rally; this Irish lass has been a valued member of the Grandfather Mountain Branch of the Association for three decades now. Southern U.S. President Cerise Cameron Blair and North American Association Commissioner Donald J. Cameron presented Patsie with a beautiful arrangement of red roses at the evening's Clan Cameron Hoedown, in appreciation for her efforts. A couple hours later the beautiful scent of those roses may have been what attracted the quite unwelcome visitor for the evening, a black bear. Unfortunately, the evening's light was rapidly disappearing at the time the bear made it to the picnic shelter, so the pictures taken of the bold creature came out disappointingly. Fortunately no Camerons were harmed by the bear and the children had quite a story to bring home to their friends.
Rain was on the menu once again Sunday, which shortened the weekend for quite a few attendees. Fortunately the Camerons were able to once again gather prior to this for the Parade of Tartans. Led by the reenactment Civil War regiment, the 79th New York Cameron Highlanders, a total of 53 Camerons marched with banners and flags waving in the breeze. As the games drew to a close and the Camerons went their own ways, it was announced that Clan Cameron had won the overall weekend Clan Challenge.
As was the case with the 1997 North American Gathering, this Clan Rally was "short but sweet." Regardless of the brief time during which the Camerons were able to meet, they experienced and brought away with them that most elusive yet highly treasured souvenir - valued memories of being amongst their Cameron kin in the mountains. It will be nearly fourteen months before such a variety of Camerons, from all corners of North America will meet once again, but it will be even more memorable - Achnacarry on August 4, 2001.