News from Camp: March 2015

March 3rd, 2015

Everyday we watch to see how covered in snow Pike's is and dream of the day when the snow is gone and the Aspens begin to pop!

Although we cannot compete with the East Coast in amount of snow that fell in February, we have had some great snows during the past two weeks and are very happy to look ahead to the green grass and wildflowers which this moisture will make possible during the summer. The longer days and increased activities of our wild animal friends remind us that Spring is just around the corner, and this makes us even more excited about the coming camp season.

We have many projects underway in preparation for camp next summer.  Mike, Matthew, Ariella, and Elizabeth have been hiring outstanding staff members for next summer.  We have some great returning staff as well as some wonderful new staff signed up for the summer of 2015.
We are working on many areas of the program, too, which will provide some exciting new activities and trips this summer.  Everyone has been busy putting together plans and resources for each activity so by the time June arrives, we will have everything ready!
Maren and Jaime have been making plans for our super horseback riding program, designing activities and trips that will be lots of fun and also allow everyone from beginner to advanced riders to improve their riding skills.
Our maintenance crew is working on a variety of projects to improve and update our facilities in both camps.  These include renovations of the Real Estate Office at Big Spring and the bathroom in Crystal Palace at High Trails.  We also plan to have a new floor in the High Trails Lodge before summer begins.
Jessie, Ariella and others are keeping our Facebook site fresh and active with new posts.   You can also check out our blog which has fun stories about what is going on at camp during the winter.
We are mailing our Getting Ready information to enrolled camp families this week.  All of the needed forms are on line this year, and we hope this will make the preparation for camp much easier for our families.
Camp is only three months away and we can’t wait.  Already we have campers and staff from 40 states and 9 countries—and we’re adding more every day.  The fun and friendship which occur when all of these great people get together is what makes camp so special!  We are happy to send our brochure and DVD to anyone interested in learning more about the exciting programs at Big Spring, High Trails, and Sanborn Junior.

Thoughts From the ACA National Conference: Artie the Abert Squirrel Chats with Sanborn Staffers

February 25th, 2015

It’s sure nice to have everyone return to the office after attending the American Camp Association National Conference in New Orleans this year.  When 11 of my most favorite people are all absent from the office at once, it sure makes for a lonely week, but then they all return full of excitement about new plans for the summer and ideas for enhancing what we do here at camp. As a seasoned camp squirrel, I know what a driving force these camp leaders are and have seen great innovations come out of their conference learnings.

Jane always organizes a conference debrief meeting shortly after the conference, allowing staff to share in each other’s take-aways and become invigorated all over again. Staff then team up to organize our new insights  into action: new staff week training sessions, new program ideas, and more for the rapidly approaching summer. I had the great opportunity to sit in on this meeting and then to interview people afterwards!

Artie the Abert Squirrel (AAS): Why do you believe it is important for so many Sanborn staffers to attend?

Jane: The ACA National Conference helps keep us on the cutting edge. We learn the latest research and information in youth development, education, brain science, and fun program ideas. The conference really inspires us to provide the best experience possible for our campers and staff.

(AAS): Explain a little bit about the format of the conference and why it’s so important for camp professionals to attend?

Elizabeth: There are so many great reasons to attend the National Conference. It is gives us a chance to network with other camp professionals, and like Jane said, stay current on youth development and brain research, hear creative new program ideas; not to mention–at this last conference in New Orleans–the chance to have a beignet at Café Du Monde between breakout sessions. Each day of the conference there is a keynote speaker that everyone has the chance to hear, as well as breakout sessions that cover a variety of topics from staff training to brain science,  psychology  to program development, and crisis management to effective communication. And in beautiful Louisiana, each day was not complete without an outstanding New Orleans meal as well!

AAS: There were 4 keynote speakers; Jessica Lahey, Scott Cowen, Dr. Deborah Gilboa and Tom Holland. Tell me what you learned from their presentations.

Matthew: Jessica Lahey gave a fantastic keynote.  She discussed her forthcoming book “The Gift of Failure,” and how the principles of that book can apply to camp.  It was a captivating speech about how we can help children to succeed, but also we must give them room to fail.  Lahey outlined a practical approach to teaching campers to discover their own inner independence, resilience, and creativity.

Mike: ‘Dr. G’ spoke to us about the challenges parents face in raising respectful, resilient and responsible children and gave us real-life examples, insightful models and solid tips on how we can continue to strengthen our youth development efforts.  Camp is one of the best places to practice and develop these foundational life skills, and with all of us at Dr. G’s keynote, many thoughts and conversations about the summer have begun!

Patrick: After listening to Scott Cowen I really had to stop and think about where High Trails is. He spoke a lot about being aware of where your organization has come from, where it is, and where you want it to go. I really enjoyed this because our organization has a rich history; I love where we are right now, and I feel has a valuable mission and is relevant in the future.

Ariella: Tom Holland was our Closing Keynote speaker and he followed an incredible performance from Dancing Grounds, a New Orleans dance school that “builds community through dance.” The youngsters who performed ranged from about seven to 17 years old and were led by passionate instructors, Randall Rosenberg and Laura Stein. One of the dances they performed was to Michael Jackson’s song, “Scream.” The highly energized and emotive dance revealed the growth during adolescence and a broader cultural narrative of the pressure kids are experiencing across all aspects of society. I know this is true because 15 year old Empress, totally impromptu (and wildly poised under said pressure), stood in front of 1500 conference attendees and described the story of the dance after they finished. Rosenberg and Stein, in their enthusiasm, pride and even in their shout out to the kids’ parents in attendance (who took the time to pull the kids out of school and drive them downtown for the performance) demonstrated exactly what Tom Holland talked about in his keynote: our opportunity to be part of a transformative experience that positively shapes the lives of children. Throughout the conference, threads and themes came together giving us tools and language to promote quality youth development at camp–and that development starts with supportive adult relationships–which is exactly what Dancing Grounds and ACA camps across the country create and nurture every single day.

AAS: There were 4 days of sessions that ranged from youth development strategies, camp protocols, marketing solutions, and so much more – what were some of your favorite sessions?

Sarah: I enjoyed Kristen Race’s session about Mindful Campers and Leaders.  She gave me some new ideas and tools for debriefing activities and reflective listening strategies for not only myself but for summer staff as well!

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Janie: One of my favorite sessions was led by Michael Brandwein and Dr. Debi Gilboa. The session was about ways to set up a positive camp culture starting on the very first day. Both of these presenters had so much helpful information to share. If you want to learn more about them visit their websites: Michael Brandwein and Dr. Debi Gilboa.

Jackson: I enjoyed learning about autonomy supported programs.  These range from natural play areas, of which we have plenty to a “dream space” area on our trip sign-up sheets for campers to formulate their dream trip or activity, and we can do our best to make it happen! I also enjoyed continuing to learn how the developing brain works and tools to calm the alarm system in our brains.  I look forward to showing this information and these skills to campers in a non-stressful setting so when campers to become stressed, at camp or at home, they have used practice and tools they’ve learned from camp to deal with certain stressors.

Carlotta: I went to a session called Kickin’ Kitchens which asked you to think about the kitchen like a systems engineer by thinking about how easy and obvious can you make the routines of the kitchen for everyone working there from the cooks to the assistant counselors. I am so excited for our kitchens to run even more smoothly this summer!

Jessie: There were quite a few sessions that focused on autonomy and the idea that competence in an area leads to confidence. I am excited to use this idea on trips this summer and to bring the campers more into the planning of trips, especially menus, and to teach them even more throughout the trip, which would give them the competence needed for the responsibility of preparing meals, leading the way, and finding the perfect campsites.

There you have it folks – the ACA National Conference keeps my staffer friends on their toes and ready to enhance the lives of children every summer. Stay tuned for upcoming posts from them that go into more detail about all the research on brain development, and teaching kids autonomy and independence. For now, I learned that interviewing 11 different people is hard work and I’m ready for a snack and a nap! – see you this summer!

Artie the Abert Squirrel

Artie is a well- loved member of the Sanborn wildlife family and official spokes-squirrel to the greater Sanborn community. He has been a long time contributor to the High Country Explorer sharing his knowledge of camp life with campers new and old. Artie is currently practicing his balloon animal creating skills with Jane and knows Jerry’s actual birthdate. Artie is honored to have the opportunity to write for this blog.

News from Camp: February 1, 2015

February 1st, 2015

The white snow sure makes a nice contrast against the rustic red Big Spring Barn.

We have had several good snowstorms since January 1 and the Ranch is beautiful under its white blanket.  We are always grateful for the moisture and know that this snow will transform itself into green grass and abundant wildflowers next summer.  We see a lot of animals on the Ranch—elk, deer, and a flock of more than 20 wild turkeys which has been hanging out near the Big Spring Office.

Mike, Elizabeth, and Matthew have enjoyed seeing many of you as they traveled through the Midwest with our digital slide show program.  They have appreciated their warm receptions and enthusiasm for the coming summer.
February is a busy month as we prepare for the summer of 2015.  A major project throughout the winter is to hire the summer staff—counselors and wranglers, nurses and A.C.s.  We are always so proud of the outstanding college men and women who spend their summers contributing enthusiasm, fun, and nurturing leadership for the young people who attend Big Spring, High Trails, and Sanborn Junior.  We already have a great group of returning staff lined up and are making careful selections among new applicants now.
The National Convention of the American Camp Association will be held in New Orleans next week, and we will be participating in full force. Jane is the Chairperson for this year’s conference and has been working on an outstanding educational program for many months. Ariella, Jackson, and Patrick will be leading educational sessions at the conference. Mike, as immediate past Chairperson of the Rocky Mountain Region of the American Camp Association, will be participating in the leadership events held at the conference.  Elizabeth, Carlotta, Jessie, Janie, Matthew, Ian, and Sarah will also be attending the conference. This type of training helps us to stay on top of evolving issues and inspires us to continue to improve our program each summer.
Our maintenance team continues to work on various projects to improve our facilities.  They are finishing up an interior remodel of the Big Spring Health Center and of the bathroom in Crystal Palace.  We’re also working on installing a brand-new floor in the High Trails Lodge.
Maren and Jamie are hard at work preparing the riding program for next summer and making sure the horses are all ready for their busy season.  It won’t be long before we start having new calves at the Witcher Ranch.
We are all excited about the community that is coming together for the summer of 2015 and can’t wait to begin the fun. We are happy to mail our brochure and DVD to anyone interested in camp and to provide references for new families.  If camp is in your plans, please let us know soon, as we have several grades in both terms at High Trails and the first term at Big Spring which are filled or near filling.  Several terms of Sanborn Junior are also building waiting lists.

We have had several good snowstorms since January 1 and the Ranch is beautiful under its white blanket.  We are always grateful for the moisture and know that this snow will transform itself into green grass and abundant wildflowers next summer.  We see a lot of animals on the Ranch—elk, deer, and a flock of more than 20 wild turkeys which has been hanging out near the Big Spring Office.
Mike, Elizabeth, and Matthew have enjoyed seeing many of you as they traveled through the Midwest with our digital slide show program.  They have appreciated their warm receptions and enthusiasm for the coming summer.
February is a busy month as we prepare for the summer of 2015.  A major project throughout the winter is to hire the summer staff—counselors and wranglers, nurses and A.C.s.  We are always so proud of the outstanding college men and women who spend their summers contributing enthusiasm, fun, and nurturing leadership for the young people who attend Big Spring, High Trails, and Sanborn Junior.  We already have a great group of returning staff lined up and are making careful selections among new applicants now.
The National Convention of the American Camp Association will be held in New Orleans next week, and we will be participating in full force. Jane is the Chairperson for this year’s conference and has been working on an outstanding educational program for many months. Ariella, Jackson, and Patrick will be leading educational sessions at the conference. Mike, as immediate past Chairperson of the Rocky Mountain Region of the American Camp Association, will be participating in the leadership events held at the conference.  Elizabeth, Carlotta, Jessie, Janie, Matthew, Ian, and Sarah will also be attending the conference. This type of training helps us to stay on top of evolving issues and inspires us to continue to improve our program each summer.
Our maintenance team continues to work on various projects to improve our facilities.  They are finishing up an interior remodel of the Big Spring Health Center and of the bathroom in Crystal Palace.  We’re also working on installing a brand-new floor in the High Trails Lodge.
Maren and Jamie are hard at work preparing the riding program for next summer and making sure the horses are all ready for their busy season.  It won’t be long before we start having new calves at the Witcher Ranch.
We are all excited about the community that is coming together for the summer of 2015 and can’t wait to begin the fun. We are happy to mail our brochure and DVD to anyone interested in camp and to provide references for new families.  If camp is in your plans, please let us know soon, as we have several grades in both terms at High Trails and the first term at Big Spring which are filled or near filling.  Several terms of Sanborn Junior are also building waiting lists.

Klean Karma for YOU!

January 22nd, 2015

Kleanin' Karma (and socks) Since 1948

As we head into our 2015 Sanborn Road Show Midwest Tour, we look forward to seeing many current and past campers, camp families, alums, and staff. These individuals in each of our Road Show cities always articulate and echo the value of the camp experience to the new and prospective campers and camp families in attendance.

We have realized that some of you miss out on the opportunity to share stories and highlights of your Sanborn experience with the World-At-Large, so we would like to encourage you to take a couple of moments and share your thoughts in our new, online review site.

This process not only gives voice to your personal Sanborn Western Camps experiences for Everyone On The Planet to enjoy, but it gives the data-driven logarithms of technological monoliths like Google good stuff to share.

And we like to share.

So thank you, Awesome Sanborn Friends Who Don’t Live in Road Show Cities. And, if you DO live in Chicago, St. Louis, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, or Santa Fe, we hope to see you at the Road Show this next week (sorry, Denver, have to wait until February 11th, now).  And for our Sanborn Road Show attendees, if you aren’t The Type To Stand Up And Spout Testimonials In Front Of Strangers, then simply fill out this quick online review instead.

Your Karma will be forever Klean because of it.

ATTENTION UPDATE: Denver Roadshow Rescheduled

January 21st, 2015

We will keep you updated on our snow adventures, if you promise to go out and have some fun too!

Good morning everyone,

We want to make sure you have heard the news that the Denver Roadshow has been rescheduled due to snowy weather all over the Denver area and down to camp!  We have rescheduled the show for February 11th, 2015 @ 7:30 pm.

Denver, CO

Wednesday February 11, 2015
7:30 p.m.
1st Plymouth Congregational Church
The Odeon Room
3501 South Colorado Blvd.

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Rundle at Sanborn: 719.748.3341 or elizabeth at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone in February! In the meantime you can always keep in touch on Facebook, snail mail, or give us a call and have a chat!

Colorado Summer Camp Fun is Coming Your Way!

January 5th, 2015

Sanborn Road Show 2015

The Sanborn Road Show is an opportunity for prospective and current campers and their parents to meet and chat with Mike MacDonald, Matthew Huffman, Elizabeth Rundle and/or Ariella Rogge, the respective directors of Big Spring Ranch for Boys and High Trails Ranch for Girls; see a digital presentation about a summer at Sanborn Western Camps; and ask questions about the facilities, camp programs, staff, or anything else that may be on your mind!

We are currently coordinating our dates and times for our 2015 show. Please check back soon, or visit our Facebook page for updates.

If you are interested in hosting a presentation, please contact Mike, Matthew, Elizabeth or Ariella at 719.748.3341.

Denver, CO

Wednesday February 11, 2015
7:30 p.m.
1st Plymouth Congregational Church
The Odeon Room
3501 South Colorado Blvd.

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Rundle at Sanborn: 719.748.3341 or elizabeth at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

Chicago, IL

Saturday January 24th, 2015
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Winnetka Community House
620 Lincoln Ave.
Winnetka, IL
Local Host: Cathy Burnham 847-272-2160

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Rundle at Sanborn: 719.748.3341 or elizabeth at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

St. Louis, MO

Sunday January 25th, 2015
5:00 p.m.
Church of St. Michael and St. George
The Great Hall
6345 Wydown Blvd (intersection of Wydown and Ellenwood Ave)
Local Host: Carrie and Bill Polk 314-993-9898

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Rundle at Sanborn: 719.748.3341 or elizabeth at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Monday January 26th, 2015
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Christ United Methodist Church-Room
3515 South Harvard
Local Host: Margie Brown 918-260-6808

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Rundle at Sanborn: 719.748.3341 or elizabeth at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Tuesday January 27th
6:30 p.m.
All Souls’ Episcopal Church
Christian Family Life Center
6400 N. Pennsylvania Ave.
Local Hosts: Lucy, John and Sarah Covington
jfcokc at aol.com or call 405-848-2639

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Rundle at Sanborn: 719.748.3341 or elizabeth at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

Santa Fe, NM

Wednesday, January 28th
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Santa Fe Prep
1101 Camino de Cruz Blanca
Santa Fe, NM 87505

Local Hosts Mary and Kent Little
mbrlittle at mac dot com 505-989-8977

Additional 2015 Sanborn Road Show Dates will be added in the upcoming months. Please check back soon or call 719-748-3341 to find out when we are coming to your neighborhood!

News from Camp: January 1, 2015

January 1st, 2015

No better place to reflect on last year, than from a hammock in an Aspen grove - we are already looking forward to getting ours back into the summertime trees!

Happy New Year to all of our friends across the world.  As we reflect on the happy moments and blessings of 2014, we are so grateful for the wonderful campers, staff members, friends and alums who are such an important part of our lives.  And, as we look ahead to 2015, we are especially excited about the friendships and adventures that will occur at Big Spring, High Trails, and Sanborn Junior next summer.

Mike, Elizabeth, and Matthew will be heading out in mid-January with the new digital slide show about a summer at Sanborn Western Camps and look forward to seeing many of you as they tour the Midwest.  Beginning January 21, they will visit Denver, Chicago, St. Louis, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Santa Fe.  Those of you who are on our mailing list will receive information in the mail and all the details are posted on the website.  It is a great program and takes less than an hour, so save the date!
We have a lot of projects underway to make 2015 great!  We are looking at every aspect of our program and pursuing ways to make it better.  We’re ordering the equipment we will need and hiring the staff who will become our outstanding counselors, wranglers, assistant counselors, and ridge leaders next summer.  We have already had an excellent response from our 2014 staff and are looking forward to working with many of them again next summer.
Our maintenance crew has already completed four new tent frames on ABC Ridge at Big Spring and a new roof on the Big Spring Lodge.  They are currently working on significant updates in the bathroom at Crystal Palace at High Trails and in the Real Estate Office at Big Spring.  During the winter, they will continue to work on facility improvement projects at both camps.
We do have a nice layer of snow on the ground right now and are looking forward to more moisture throughout the winter.  The horses are still finding plenty to eat as they
enjoy their winter vacation at Fishcreek.  There are still lots of elk and deer around the ranch as well, and wild turkeys have been spotted from time to time.
Enrollment is well underway for 2015 and several age groups in the first term at High Trails are full or nearly full.  We are always happy to send our brochure, DVD and references to interested families.
We hope that your holidays have been wonderful and that each of you will have the happiest New Year ever!

The (packing) Peanut Project

December 24th, 2014
The mail room of the office has been a little reminiscent of summer lately, with our UPS driver looking as harried as he does on Closing Day (remember the mountain of trunks to be

Your imagination + packing peanuts = endless hours of fun

shipped?), which can only mean that it’s close to holiday time!

Once a day the big brown UPS truck arrives and Carl unloads big boxes, little boxes (so many Amazon Prime boxes!) all full of fun surprises. With each delivery, the office staff looks more and more like campers perusing the package list…any for me? any for you? Regardless, with each new delivery, we all wonder: what’s inside? And, in most cases, we don’t have to wonder long…we just say, “Hey, Elizabeth—your Prana order just arrived” and she is happy to let us have a peek.
Since our moms are not right there to sequester the packages away before we can ponder what they might have purchased for us from the NFL catalog, we typically tear into any and all boxes that have our names on them. For me, sometimes they are surprises, sometimes I know what I am getting, and sometimes I should have known (like when the SWC holiday cards arrived, but I had forgotten I had ordered them…buzzkill!)
This open-box-mayhem office practice does not always work well at home, however. Once the kids are on holiday break, the arrival of the UPS man often signals the chanted carol of “What is it? What is it? Is it for me? Is it for me?”
In a recent package “reveal,” I opened the flaps and was confronted by a sea of Styrofoam packing peanuts. As I wondered how best to extricate the treasures that were drowning in there somewhere, I suddenly remembered an awesome activity that a High Trails Outdoor Education staff member did with a group of 6th graders this fall. This activity just might buy you enough time to high-tail it to your favorite present hiding shelf; but first, you must know your peanuts.
Packing peanuts can be divided into 2 main groups: the biodegradable ones that dissolve into weird mush when wet and ones that don’t. If you have the mush ones, awesome! (The biodegradable ones work best for this project).

Elephants made of peanuts make for great holiday table centerpieces!

Here’s what to do:

First, hide the items that came in the box, so no surprises are ruined, but keep the packing peanuts handy.
Next, get a little dish of water or wet wash cloth. If you have the non-biodegradable ones, grab some Elmers or craft glue.
Now comes the fun part, use the packing peanuts as building blocks. Wet the ends of the mush peanuts, or add a bit of glue to the regular ones, and they immediately stick together (pretty nifty, really). You can build animals, buildings, replicas of fine art sculptures, the possibilities are endless!
With this fun activity going on, you will be able to stuff the Elsa doll, Olaf pillow, and Star Wars Lego into your shirt and hightail it to the top shelf of your closet without fear of discovery.
Happy Holidays from all of us in the packing peanut covered Sanborn office!

May This Night Never End

December 22nd, 2014

Without the night, how can we appreciate the day?

4:41 p.m. until 7:15 a.m..  Fourteen hours and thirty-four minutes from sunset to sunrise…and that doesn’t even factor in the long, early morning shadow of Pikes Peak or the afternoon dusk as the sun drops below the ridgeline behind Big Spring around 3:30. On this longest night of the year, it’s dark and cold at camp, with snowflakes spinning down as the storm settles into the mountains to the west, but it’s beautiful…and good.

As Clark Strand wrote over the weekend in his New York Times Op-Ed piece, “Bring On The Dark: Why We Need the Winter Solstice,” we need this long night to remind us that night is “the natural corrective to that most persistent of all illusions: that human progress is the reason for the world.” Granted, without all of this manufactured illumination and technological progress, I would not be tapping out this post on a computer, but—instead—be huddled under the same blankets scribbling by candlelight.

Yet Strand’s cautionary tone also provides validation to those of us who have had the opportunity to eschew “progress” for the natural rhythm of the seasons. Who among us does not remember hustling around an alpine base camp at dusk (possibly because the batteries in our flashlight or headlamp died days before) preparing for an “early” bedtime simply because the sun had set? Or, even more magically, watching the campfire die down to embers and find ourselves speaking more and more quietly as the darkness enveloped our senses and revealed the stars.

Though the Winter Solstice is often called the first day of winter, for me, it represents the first step of the sun’s long journey back to the north. Right now, she is so far to the south, the shadows I cast as I walk trail far behind me, or sometimes stretch across the road completely. Over these next few months, the shadows will become shorter and shorter, bringing me back to the center, bringing me back to summer, bringing me back to myself. Yet my gratitude for the solstice is deep and solid, for without the dark, how can I celebrate the light?

Strand said these long nights were once for connecting with others and with yourself. Before electricity, people “told stories and, with so much night to work with, woke in the middle of it to a darkness so luxurious it teased visions from the mind and divine visitations that helped to guide their course through life.”

We know what he means, we have experienced it time and time again in the woods. Remember it now: you wake from a restless sleep caused by an errant pinecone in your left hip, you listen to the breathing of your tentmates, the rustling of nylon sleeping bags, the soft whump of a moment’s breeze on your tent fly, and you exhale. You push your mind beyond the tent, back to the laughter around the campfire, the faint taste of hot chocolate still in your mouth, and to the millions of stars above you. Around the campfire, someone said, “Isn’t it crazy that any one of those stars could have planets just like ours around them?”

As you look up, your mind begins to expand, trying to make sense of it, wondering if it is possible, if it is true. And someone else whispers,  “Some of those stars might not even be there anymore…what if we are just seeing the star’s light that is still traveling toward us over millions and millions of light years?” Your mind continues to stretch and your heart expands because this is an amazing moment with amazing people and you are so comfortable with yourself, with your friends, with this place that you can actually wonder, out loud, “what if?”

And then, you find a comfortable, simple silence together………until, “OOOOOOHHHHHH!” and everyone wishes quietly on the same shooting star, wishes quietly that this night will never end.

-Ariella Rogge-

News from Camp: December 1, 2014

December 5th, 2014

There are still patches of snow on the ground from our 1st storm, and we are anxiously awaiting enough snow to have a snowball fight!

Winter cold has crept into the Ranch even though we still have lots of sunny days. The animals are pretty quiet now although we often see deer in the middle of Big Spring and High Trails. The elk have been hanging out at Potts Spring and there are still a few porcupines waddling around in the dusk. Our wild Turkey flock seems to have moved on for a while but we hope to see them again in the next month or so.

The office is a fun place to be these days as the elves are all busy getting ready for Christmas, preparing gifts, cards and other holiday mailings. We are keeping UPS and the local post office busy!
Elizabeth and Matthew will be heading to Texas soon with the camp road show and plans are well underway for Mike’s and Elizabeth’s trip through the Midwest in January. They look forward to meeting camp families, alums, and those who would like to explore the opportunities at camp. We will be sending a mailing in early January with dates and times for the Midwest trip. This information will also be posted on our website. These fun gatherings are a great way to reconnect with camp friends and also provide an opportunity for families interested in camp to learn more about our programs.
We have big plans for the winter! This is always a time when we can focus on projects designed to improve our programs and facilities. We’ve already planned and submitted our proposed high mountain and horse trips to the Forest Service for the summer of 2014 and can’t wait to share these amazing adventures with our campers next summer. We will be working on all aspects of our program from crafts to horseback riding to rock climbing to improve and refresh all of our activities.
Our maintenance crew is busy working on projects to improve our facility.  They have finished a new roof on the Big Spring Lodge and have built four new tent frames on ABC Ridge at Big Spring. They are now working to renovate the bathrooms in some of the cabins at High Trails and are also remodeling the Real Estate Office at Big Spring.
We are also expanding and improving our staff training, using research that is current in youth development. And, of course, hiring the best counselors and program leaders is one of our major winter projects. Some great staff members have already promised to return!
Enrollment for next summer has been flowing in and we are very excited about the communities that are shaping up at Big Spring, High Trails and Sanborn Junior for 2015. Everyone at camp wishes all of our friends the happiest of holiday seasons!