News from Camp: August 9, 2015

August 9th, 2015

We have had another great week at camp. This morning’s gymkhana was a real highlight—riders from Big Spring and High Trails competed in horseback games in the arena and everyone from both camps cheered them on.   Saturday night’s dance with a Hoedown theme was also a lot of fun.

Long trips at High Trails returned Thursday and Friday enthusiastic about their adventures and accomplishments. The four-day Elbert-Massive Backpack climbed Colorado’s two tallest mountains, 14,433’ Mt Elbert and 14,428’ Mt. Massive; and the 4-day Pikes Peak Backpack reached the 14, 115’ summit of one of our state’s most famous mountains.  The four-day Oxford (14,153’)-Belford (14,197’) Backpack, reached both of its summits, and the five-day Colorado Trail Backpack hiked along the spectacular Continental Divide and summited 14,073’ Mt. Columbia along the way. The Kite Lake trip climbed 14, 148’ Mt. Democrat on Wednesday and the Alpine Valley 3-day trip reached the top of 14,036’ Mt. Sherman. Backpack trips into the Tarryall Wilderness Area and Mt. Silverheels enjoyed spectacular scenery during their four days in the wilderness, and the Silverheels group also climbed 13,822’  Mt. Silverheels.  The four- and five-day horse trips had great experiences exploring wilderness areas south and west of camp as well as some of the more remote parts of the ranch.  The Pikes Picasso trip produced some impressive art while engaging in exciting hiking explorations, and the Canoe four-day paddled 18 miles around the perimeter of Eleven-Mile Reservoir.  All of the girls were excited about the beauty of their campsites and the fun they had together.

Big Spring campers enjoyed many exciting overnights and all-days last week including climbs of Quandary Peak, Pikes Peak, and Mts. Oxford and Belford.  The boys also had fun on horseback overnights, rock climbing overnights, river overnights, fishing trips, a canoe overnight, a mountain bike overnight and several trips which camped out on the ranch.

The Sanborn Juniors have been enthusiastic and energetic about their activities this week. They have enjoyed horseback riding, swimming, crafts, hikes and nature programs at the Interbarn, as well as their first campout.  Their group photos have been posted on Camp-in-Touch.

Next week, Big Spring will head out on three-, four-, and five-day backpacking trips, mountain climbs and horse-pack trips.  High Trails has a variety of overnights and all-days planned including a trip to the resort town of Breckenridge on Thursday.  Sanborn Junior campers are looking forward to another campout, more horseback riding, a hike to the Florissant Fossil Beds, and an all-day tubing trip on the South Platte River.  The term is flying by and we plan to make the most of our last week together.

Our photographers will be posting last week’s photos on Camp-in-touch tonight and they will be available Monday morning.

Flower Filled Fields

August 7th, 2015

Mariposa Lilies

After several years of drought, we have been blessed this summer by higher than average moisture. It began in May when we had several heavy, wet snows at the beginning of the month followed by daily rain at the end. The moisture continued through June with rain almost every day–in most cases, the timing was perfect and did not disrupt our program at all—although we did have a couple of downpours which had us wondering if we should put Ark Building on the program. Nice evening rains have continued into July.

The results of this moisture are everywhere. The High Trails Lake, which has not even been a puddle in recent years, is a truly magnificent lake again and we are canoeing, paddle-boarding, and fishing there. The Witcher Pond is overflowing and Lost Lake is so large that it is not lost anymore. Salamander Pond by the Tipi Village is home to many noisy frogs. The grass is waist high in some places and the camp is as green as it has ever been.

Indian Paintbrush

And the wildflowers! We have not seen this abundance and variety of wildflowers for many years and we are all reveling in their beauty. Thousands of Fairy Trumpets bloom along the roadside, and some of them are over two feet tall. Hummingbirds are drawn to them and the little birds are buzzing around constantly. The Indian Paintbrush, which were late in blooming this year, are now filling the meadows with their bright orange petals. They are taller than usual too. Columbine bloom in every forest glade and we have even seen a few of the bright red Firecracker Penstemon.  The Mariposa Lily, which has been extremely rare in recent years, is now common; the wild roses have more blooms than ever; wild flax is turning the meadows blue, and we’ve even spotted some rare orchids in shady places in the forest.

One of our all-time favorite books at camp is “The Immense Journey” written by Loren Eiseley in 1946. One of the chapters is titled “How Flowers Changed the World”. In this chapter, Eiseley describes, in exceptionally beautiful language, how

Wild Rose with a bug friend

flowering plants evolved on the Earth about 100 million years ago (recent in geologic terms). The development of the true encased seed of flowers allowed plants to move away from the waterways and to reproduce much more efficiently than more primitive plants dependent on spores. “True flowering plants grew a seed in the heart of a flower, a seed whose development was initiated by a fertilizing pollen grain independent of outside moisture. But the seed, unlike the developing spore, is already a fully equipped embryonic plant packed in a little enclosed box stuffed full of nutritious food”.

Fairy Trumpets

But the story doesn’t end there. Warm-blooded birds and mammals thrived on the nutritious high-energy seeds of the flowering plants and many of them evolved in ways that helped to spread the pollen and seeds of the flowering plants. As Eiseley says,

“Flowers changed the face of the planet. Without them, the world we know—even man himself—would never have existed.”

Those of us fortunate enough to be living with our abundance of wildflowers this summer, campers and staff alike, are taking the time to smell the roses and appreciate the wild beauty that surrounds us. We only wish you were here to enjoy them with us.

Best, Jane

Photo Credit:  All photos taken by Carlotta Avery.

News from Camp: August 2nd, 2015

August 4th, 2015

Hot Chocolate and a View!

We had some fabulous trips last week, including five successful mountain climbs. Groups from High Trails reached the summit of Quandary Peak on Tuesday morning while two other girls’ groups stood on the tops of Mt Huron and Mt. Antero early Friday. A group from Big Spring summited Mt. Princeton on Thursday, the same day that one of our SOLE Mountain Trips made it to the top of Mt. Antero. Our second SOLE Mountain trip spent 3 days hiking the Colorado Trail; both of these trips also spent days working with the Colorado Fourteeners’ Initiative doing trail work on Mt. Oxford.

All of our trips last week enjoyed warm, sunny weather and we had some amazing views of the “Blue Moon” on Friday night. Horseback riders rode through fields of clover and camped out at several of the established spring tanks on our property; CORE tech rock experienced great climbing both on and off the ranch; mountain bikers glided along our trails and one older group did the Salida Downhill bike trip. Other campers tubed on the river, fished in mountain ponds, visited the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, and enjoyed some wonderful rock scrambling all-days.

We have also had a busy weekend. Yesterday’s Saturday Special Activities were fun in the morning; in the afternoon, we all enjoyed a coed Carnival with all kinds of games, as well as cotton candy, sno cones, and popcorn. The dance on Saturday night had a “Just off the Yacht” theme and there were many creative costumes. Today, we prepared for next week’s trips, and both camps will end the day with our traditional vespers services. The boys climb to the top of Little Blue for this special celebration and the girls go to “Sunday Rocks” on B-Bluff.

We were sad to see our Third Term Juniors depart on Friday—they had been a wonderful group, and we are grateful for our time together. We have had a lot of fun greeting our Fourth Term Juniors today. They have a busy week planned including their first camp-out on the Ranch, horseback rides, exciting hikes, swimming, crafts and much more.

Next week the girls will leave camp for three-, four- and five-day trips. Some will head out on horse pack trips; others have chosen four- and five-day high mountain backpacks into some of Colorado’s most pristine wilderness. Other trips will be based in spectacular alpine areas like Silver Heels and Kite Lake near Alma. Many groups will have the opportunity to climb mountains, and we know that our summit count will grow.

Big Spring has planned an exciting program of overnights and all-day trips including mountain climbing trips to Quandary Peak, Pikes Peak, and Mts. Oxford and Belford. The boys will also be horseback riding, fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing, camping on the ranch and tubing on the river. Their “long trips” are scheduled for the week of August 10.

Photos from this past week will be available Monday morning. We’re looking forward to another adventure-filled week!

News From Camp: July 26, 2015

July 26th, 2015

We all enjoyed a beautiful warm day for Hike the Pike! Many campers walked the full 6 miles!

We had some fabulous all-day trips on Thursday and Friday.  The weather was warm and sunny and the High Trails Juniors loved their Thursday tubing trip on the South Platte River as did a group of older girls who chose this adventure on Friday.  A group from each camp climbed on the fabulous rocks at The Crags and Pancake Rocks on the west side of Pikes Peak, and others enjoyed rock scrambling on the camp property.  We also enjoyed fishing trips, canoeing trips, technical rock climbing trips, mountain biking trips, and several extremely fun horseback riding all-days.

We had several trips to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, and campers found many leaves and insects at the special digging site we visit after seeing the huge Sequoia stumps at the Monument. The Big Spring Junior campers enjoyed this trip on Friday.

We have had a full weekend with Saturday Special Activities yesterday morning and Hike the Pike in the afternoon.  For Hike the Pike, campers may choose to hike up to 6 miles, and the camp makes a donation to charity for each mile walked.  Many campers participated and most chose to do the entire 6 miles!  Last night we had a coed ice cream social and dance; the theme of the dance was “Neon Space Rave” and there were many colorful and creative costumes.

Sunday is always a day to clean-up, organize and get ready for upcoming adventures.  During the afternoon we had a fun in-camp program which included all kinds of games and swimming.  Tonight, each camp will celebrate our traditional Sunday Rocks service at dusk.

We have a lot going on next week.  Both camps have many overnight and all-day trips including mountain climbs, horseback 2-days, Capture the Flag Overnights, River trips,  fishing trips and much more.  This is also the week for our SOLE (Sanborn Outdoor Learning Experience) and CORE (Community Outreach Experience) Trips, offered to campers who have completed the 8th and 9th grades.  Campers choose from trips specializing in mountain climbing, horseback riding, technical rock climbing, and mountain biking.  Each 5-day adventure includes a service component as well as a great deal of learning in the chosen activity area.

The Junior Campers at both camps will have another fun overnight and Juniors at Big Spring are looking forward to their River Trip on Monday. High Trails Juniors will visit the fossil beds on Thursday.

Our photographers are hard at work uploading this week’s photos.  You can check them out tomorrow morning.

We are looking forward to another great week!

News from Camp: July 19, 2015

July 20th, 2015

Opening Campfire at both Big Spring and High Trials are full of songs, counselor skits about all the fun camp activities, laughter and fun!

Opening Day is always exciting, and we were extremely happy to greet our Second Term campers on Friday.  Luggage was barely unpacked before camp activities began.  The stables were busy with Ride-Out and Basic Preparation, and shouts came from the volleyball courts, the Gaga Pits, and the swimming pool.  The sounds of old friends reconnecting and new friendships forming were everywhere.  Tent and cabin groups played “Getting Acquainted” and “Team Building” games to facilitate the formation of these important living unit communities.  The energy and enthusiasm is contagious.

This weekend our program began in earnest and we have had half-day hikes to A-Bluff, Top of the World, the Crystal Beds and other favorite destinations.  Basic Preparation has continued at both stables, and we have had introductory sessions in rock climbing and camping skills.  We’ve also begun crafts projects, activities at the Interbarn science center, tennis, fishing, and sports.  Junior campers have been hiking, riding, swimming, and learning camping skills at the Mountain Odyssey program during their first two days.
Campers have also signed up for trips throughout the term.  High Trails and Big Spring campers chose from many exciting possibilities including mountain climbs, horseback trips, tubing/rafting on the South Platte River and wilderness backpacking trips.  Counselors and senior staff members were on hand to help campers select those trips which best fit individual interests.  Sanborn Junior campers do not sign up for trips; their program includes two all-day trips in addition to their overnight camping trips.
Opening Campfires were held at both camps last night with great singing and Broadway quality skits.  And, we had real campfires this year!  Tonight we will celebrate our first Sunday Rocks services at both camps.
Tomorrow, High Trails, including Sanborn Junior girls, will head out for their cabinside overnights on the ranch. On Tuesday, Big Spring and the Sanborn Junior boys will camp out on their Unit Overnights.  Goals for these first campouts include getting to know cabin and tent mates, learning to work together as a group, enjoying the beauty of the Colorado mountains, getting acquainted with part of the spectacular 6000 acres owned by the camps, testing equipment and honing camping skills, as well as having a lot of fun!
Later in the week Big Spring and High Trails campers will choose from an exciting program of all-day hikes, horseback rides, river trips, ropes course challenges, and rock climbing as well as a varied in-camp program.  The Juniors will do more riding, swimming, archery, hiking and crafts. High Trails Juniors also have a great all-day trip to the river for rafting planned this week. On Friday, the Big Spring Juniors will hike through the Bat Caves (which don’t really have any bats) to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.
Each Monday morning photos of activities taken during the previous week will be available on the Camp In Touch Portal.  Although we can’t promise to show every camper or every activity, we hope these photos will provide a glimpse into life at camp for families and friends.  Early this week, we will also post living unit photos.
We’re looking forward to an exciting week!

News from Camp: July 12, 2015

July 12th, 2015

A post Gymkhana Line Dance (the Cha Cha Slide) has become a tradition for 1st Session campers.

Another great week has come to a close.  The boys returned Thursday and Friday from their long trips excited about their adventures. Many of them backpacked through alpine wilderness and climbed some of Colorado’s highest peaks—Mt. Elbert, Mt. Massive, Pikes Peak, Mt. Silverheels, Mt. Democrat and Mt. Sherman.  Committed horseback riders spent the week exploring much of the beautiful National Forest to our West, including 39-Mile Mountain and Puma Hills.

The girls had a full week of all-day trips and overnight trips including two-day horseback rides, and mountain climbs (La Plata and Shavano). They also enjoyed fishing trips and challenged themselves at our High Ropes Course.  One exceptional group of hikers climbed Pikes Peak in one day!  After four weeks of hardy outdoor living, many of the girls were excited to spend Thursday shopping in the resort town of Breckenridge.

The Junior campers enjoyed a super campout, some great hikes and horseback rides, swimming, and crafts, as well as an all-day hike to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument followed by the opportunity to dig for their own fossils.

Some major special events took place this week including the JC Dinner on Monday night, the High Trails Talent Show on Wednesday, and the Miss Sanborn Competition at High Trails on Thursday night.  The theme of the JC Dinner was “Once Upon a Time” and each cabinside came in costume and presented a song or skit.   The Miss Sanborn Pageant is a spoof in which campers choose a character for their counselor, dress them, and help them prepare a “talent”.  Contestants this year included a Beetle, No-Bake Ninja, and The Sock Stealing Unicorn.

Our final weekend has been packed! On Friday evening, Big Spring enjoyed their Super Counselor Hunt, while High Trails had a fun all-camp game.  Our annual Gymkhana took place on Saturday morning. This series of games on horseback is fun for both the participants and their cheering squads.  On Saturday evening everyone enjoyed the all-camp Drama Presentation.  On Sunday both camps celebrated their final vespers service.

Enjoy seeing photos from the week in the Camp In Touch Portal!

Tomorrow will bring packing, last-chance activities, closing dinner and closing campfires at each camp.  On Tuesday, we will be sad to see this wonderful group of campers leave.  Thank-you for sharing your children with us!

Best Regards,

Jane

News from Camp: July 5, 2015

July 6th, 2015

Hike the Pike was a very patriotic event this session!

We have had another great week at camp! Our Fourth of July celebration yesterday was especially festive because we were able to have fireworks for the first time in several years due to the welcome moisture we have had during the past two months. The day began with flag raising ceremonies in both camps, followed by Saturday Specials and our  traditional “Hike the Pike”.  Many campers and staff chose to walk up to six miles to raise money for charity.  We then continued the 4th of July theme with a Patriotic Dance, followed by the fabulous fireworks.

Long trips at High Trails returned Thursday and Friday exuberant about their adventures and accomplishments. The four-day Elbert-Massive Backpack climbed 14,443’ Mt. Elbert and 14, 428’ Mt. Massive (Colorado’s two highest peaks).  The Colorado Trail five-day trip backpacked 25 miles along the Continental Divide and climbed Mt. Columbia (14,077’). The Harvard-Yale 5-day backpack hiked many miles and stood on the top of 14,421’ Mt Harvard. Two groups of climbers reached the top of 14,036 Mt. Sherman and another group summited 14,036 Mt. Democrat.  The Buffalo Peaks four-day backpack climbed 13,326’ West Buffalo Peaks, and the four-day Oxford/Belford backpack trip summited 14, 160’ Mt. Oxford and 14,197’ Mt. Belford.  The four-day Pikes Peak Backpack reached the top of 14, 115’ Pikes Peak and impressed all the tourists who had driven up the mountain or taken the cog railway. The girls on the four-day backpack trip in the beautiful Tarryall Mountains were elated by their experience, and another group backpacked for four days on Mt. Silverheels, achieving the 13,822’ summit. The four- and five-day horse trips had a great time exploring wilderness areas south and west of camp, and the Canoe/Paddleboard Trip successfully canoed around the perimeter of Eleven-Mile Reservoir.
Big Spring campers enjoyed many exciting overnight and all-day trips last week including climbs of Quandary Peak (14,265’), La Plata Peak (14,343’), Mt. Princeton (14,197’), and Mt. Shavano (14,235’). The boys also had fun on horseback overnights, canoe overnights, technical rock climbing overnights, a mountain biking overnight, and fishing all-days and overnights.
The Second Term of Sanborn Junior campers arrived Tuesday; they have been enthusiastic and energetic about their activities this week.  They had outstanding all-days at the Tipi Village and Quicks Homestead on Thursday and have also enjoyed horseback riding, swimming, crafts, hikes and nature programs at the Interbarn.  They were extremely excited about our Fourth of July celebration.
Next week, Big Spring will head out on three-, four-, and five-day backpacking trips, mountain climbs and horse-pack trips.  High Trails has a variety of overnights and all-days planned including a trip to the resort town of Breckenridge on Thursday.  Sanborn Junior campers are looking forward to a campout, more horseback riding, an all-day fishing trip, and an all-day hike to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.
Photos from the week are on the Camp In Touch Portal, and we hope you enjoy getting a glimpse of all the fun we are having.
Best Regards,
Jane

News From Camp: June 28, 2015

June 29th, 2015

We climbed our first mountains of the season last week!  Groups from Big Spring reached the summits of Mt. Elbert and Quandary Peak on Tuesday morning. A High Trails trip successfully climbed Quandary Peak on Friday; and two different coed SOLE Mountain groups climbed Mt. Ouray on Tuesday and Friday mornings. Our third SOLE Mountain group conquered Mt. Huron on Friday. Considering the difficult conditions posed by the high snowpack and full streams in the high mountains, all of these successful summits are a tribute to excellent staff leadership and enthusiastic, persistent campers.

In addition to the climbs, we enjoyed many other amazing trips last week— fishing adventures, canoeing trips, horseback rides, fossil digging, wonderful hikes, rock climbing, bike riding, and much more.  Everyone returned to camp Friday night excited by their adventures and happy to be back with friends at camp for the weekend.

We have had a busy weekend.  Yesterday’s Saturday Special Activities were fun in the morning; in the afternoon, we had an extremely exciting coed carnival that included cotton candy, sno cones, and popcorn in addition to many games and carnival events.  It was so warm that Mike even started up the fire truck in order to let everyone cool off in the spray. The dance had a Rainbow theme, which created a very colorful event.  Today, we prepared for next week’s trips, and both camps will end the day with our traditional vespers services.  The boys climb to the top of Little Blue for this special celebration and the girls go to “Sunday Rocks” on B-Bluff.

We were sad to see our First Term Juniors depart today—they have been a wonderful group, and we are grateful for our time together.  We look forward to greeting our Second Session Junior campers on Tuesday.

Next week the girls will leave camp for three-, four- and five-day trips.  Some will head out on horse pack trips; others have chosen four- and five-day high mountain backpacks into some of Colorado’s most pristine wilderness.  Other trips will be based in spectacular alpine areas like Silver Heels and Kite Lake near Alma.  Many groups will have the opportunity to climb mountains, and we know that our summit count will grow.

Big Spring has planned an exciting program of overnights and all-day trips including mountain climbing trips to Quandary Peak, La Plata Peak, Mt. Princeton and Mts. Shavano and Tabeguache.  The boys will also be horseback riding, fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing, camping on the ranch and visiting Cripple Creek.  Their “long trips” are scheduled for the week of July 6.

We will post photos from the week on Camp in Touch later tonight.  Keep watching our Facebook page too, as we will post a few highlights throughout the week.

News from Camp: June 21, 2015

June 22nd, 2015

One of the best activities of cabinside overnights is enjoying the sunset together!

What a great week!  As always, we feel so fortunate to work with such a wonderful group of young people, and enthusiasm has been high for all of our trips and activities.

Following our busy week of campouts and activities, we were happy to once again be all together on Friday evening for dinner, and the Lodges were exciting (and noisy) places to be.  On Saturday mornings we offer Saturday Specials—these are activities which continue every Saturday morning during the camp term.  Campers may choose to work on the coed Drama which they will present at the end of camp, take riding lessons, learn technical rock climbing, hike to different parts of the ranch, learn how to throw pots on the wheel in ceramics, and many other fun activities.  On Saturday evening, the camps came together at Big Spring for an ice cream social and dance.
Campers in both camps have been offered a wide variety of all-day and overnight trips and a number of these are scheduled for next week.  Horseback overnights, fishing all-days, mountain climbs and hikes to several spectacular locations are only some of the adventures that await. There will also be a busy in-camp program and some of our favorite special events.  Juniors at both camps will experience another campout, more horseback riding, swimming, rock-scrambling, and a number of fun, creative in-camp activities.  High Trails Juniors are looking forward to a special fishing trip while Junior Campers at Big Spring will enjoy the Bat Caves/Fossil Beds All Day.
Many of our older campers have signed up for SOLE (Sanborn Outdoor Leadership Experience) or CORE (Community Outreach Experience) next week—these 5-day adventures include service projects as well as challenging activities.  One group will work with the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative to build trails on Mt. Elbert, while two other groups will work with CFI in Missouri Gulch.  All three groups then plan to climb a Fourteener to complete their week. Two separate trip groups have chosen a rock climbing focus.  During the week they will learn climbing skills at our climbing site on Wild Goat Mountain and then venture off our property to climb at Turkey Rocks. These groups will come together on Thursday to work with the Coalition for the Upper South Platte to complete service projects at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Both the CORE and SOLE programs are also offering 5-day Horsemanship experiences–these will emphasize improving horseback riding skills as well as community service. We also have a CORE mountain biking trip which will bike around the ranch, work on our biking trails, and then complete the Salida Downhill bike ride.
The Junior Counselors at High Trails and Outbackers at Big Spring are also looking forward to their special 3-day trips this week.  The girls leave tomorrow for Great Sand Dunes National Monument; on Wednesday they will meet the Outbackers in Buena Vista for an exciting day of rafting on the Arkansas River.  The girls will then return to camp while the boys head to the Sand Dunes for two-days of sand surfing and exploration.
Although we are high and dry here at camp, some of our usual activities have been impacted by the extreme amount of moisture Colorado received during the spring and early summer. The South Platte River, where we usually tube and raft, has been at flood stage for over a week now, and the part of the river we use is closed. We hope to be able to take some River Trips later this term when the water flow has decreased. The good news related to water sports is that the High Trails Lake, which has barely been a puddle for several years, is now an impressive body of water and we are having a great time canoeing and paddle boarding there.
We also are watching the high mountains closely due to extremely high snowpack in some areas. However, the snow at high elevations is melting rapidly now, and we are fortunate enough to have Forest Service permits for many different mountains, so we have been able to shift some of our permits to climb those mountains with less snow next week.  And, we are confident that most of the mountains we climb will be in good shape by June 29 when the High Trails long trips head out.
If you haven’t already done so, check out the living unit photos taken early last week by visiting our Camp-in-Touch portal.  Our photographers are also hard at work posting new photos taken at camp last week. They will be available for viewing early tomorrow morning.
Beyond reading these news updates and our Sanborn blog online, you can follow Sanborn Western Camps on Facebook. We would love to have parents, friends, and family follow our updates about camp events, trips and activities.

Reflections and Realizations

June 16th, 2015
Camp is finally here! We are all together again! My skin can barely hold all joy and excitement inside me! It is absolutely amazing to see everyone, staff and campers, in the lodge, on the trails and playing in the fields. What we’ve discussed for the last ten days is finally being out to practice. First year counselors and fourth year counselors are seamlessly blending together as a group of strong mentors for this group of young people we’ve welcomed home in the last 24 hours. Everyone is experiencing the first few days of Summer 2015 together and looking forward to all the adventure and fun in store.
As I struggle to sleep tonight with all this excitement, I’ve also been reflecting on the past 10 days of training and the conversations I know have happened at both Big Spring and High Trails. The impact will we have on their lives as counselors, wranglers, or leaders on trips this summer is remarkable. We talked about ways to help campers learn both hard and soft skills and build competence and confidence; not only in their lives at camp, but throughout their lives outside of camp. Staff members are taking to heart all the ideas presented to the group and looking for ways they can impact campers.

Celebrating the summit of Mt. Elbert on day 4 of the 2010 1st Session Elbert/ Massive Trip.

This helped me recognize something special about this summer for me. Many of my junior campers from my first summer on staff are now the Junior Counselors (JCs) at High Trails. In fact, a great many of our staff members were also former campers on trips of mine. Over the past ten days, I’ve realized that some of my favorite people in the world are on the staff this summer – it’s because they are the people that made a huge impact on my life!

These are the ladies that were campers on the first backpacking trip I led, on the first trip with 2 mountain climbs, and on the trip that the rain would never stop and I had dreams of our tents floating away. These were the trips that have shaped me into the mountain woman I am today. I remember those instances that I didn’t speak with grace first, I didn’t come into each conversation with the thought of teaching first. Those are the trips that were wonderful in their many missteps and these are the ladies that trusted me to guide them, teach them and celebrate with them….even when I didn’t feel I had the competence and confidence that I was trying so humbly to help them gain.

All the 2015 staff members who I first met when they were campers and took out on trips. (And Ariella too, who has always been a rock of support)

These are the ladies that impacted my life in so many positive and most important ways.

There is a phrase we use around here sometimes, because of camp… Well, because of camp, I have gained the skills and self-confidence of a great leader, all while being too busy playing in the dirt and hiking with my girls to notice.
To the parents who send their most precious treasures to camp, thank you, you are giving our staff members a most precious gift–the gift of being able to grow and change alongside your sons and daughters.

- Jessie