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News from Camp: April 1, 2017

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

The Pasque Flowers seem to be extra fuzzy this year with all the temperature changes.

Significant rain and snowfall during the last couple of weeks has provided wonderful moisture and a promise of spectacular wildflowers and full ponds in the coming months. Despite the snow, a few of our summer birds, including bluebirds and robins, have returned to the Ranch so we know spring is on the way. Our first wildflowers, the hardy Mountain Candytuft and the Pasque flower have also been spotted on south-facing slopes. We know that summer will be here before we know it and are inspired to work harder than ever on our many pre-summer projects. The summer staff will begin arriving in less than two months.

Speaking of staff, we have some great people returning for 2017! At Big Spring, returning staff include Elliott Abbott, Ian Anderson, Ayden Bolin, Ben Cole, Henry Ewing, Kevin Fernandez, Oliver Fisher, Drew Foster, Kyle Gilbert, Will Gundlach, Slayter Marwitz, David Maxwell, Dylan Morris, Evan Niebur, Jack Polk, Michael Rainey, Adam Resseguie, Joe Roberts, Leo Scheller, Alex Stoffel, Emerson Underwood, Jordan Unger, Stephen VanAsdale, Bret Wolter and nurses Margot Cromack and Phil Hackmann. Martie Adams and Jalen Bazile will be the Program Directors. Mike Mac will lead the staff, with the help of Assistant Directors Mark Rutberg and Mike Adler.

It's always so fun to head to Witcher and visit the new calves each spring, especially when they are extra cute and little because they are twins!

At High Trails, returning staff include Kelly Ahman, Sarah Ashby, Emily Burnham, Claire Collins, Nell Davis, Erin Dvorak, Claire Foster, Jenna Howard, Cara Mackesey, Molly Malone, Zannie Peck, Randi Presas, Gwen Schmidt-Arenales, Blair Sisk, Chloe Stiffle, and Haylee Vieregg. Among our year-round staff, Anne Shingler will be Program Director, Val Peterson and Megan Blackburn will again be Ridge Leaders, Carlotta Avery will take care of the camp kitchens and trip organization, Maren MacDonald and Annie McDevitt will direct the riding program, Jessie Spehar will take plenty of canoe and river trips and Ariella and Elizabeth will keep everyone organized. We also have a great group of former campers returning as staff members, and some wonderful new staff who will join us for the first time.

We have begun our Spring outdoor education program and are excited to provide experiential, nature-based classes for 4th– 6th graders from 15 schools over the next six weeks.

Our April will be filled with putting the finishing touches on improved programs and trips for this summer, renovation projects to improve our facilities, hiring the last few summer staff and counting the days until camp begins. We’ll be painting, cleaning, flying tents, and planting flowers in no time.

Our 2017 community is really coming together. We only have a few openings left in select grades at Big Spring and in the First and Second terms of Sanborn Junior at Big Spring. Families interested for the summer of 2017 should call to check availability. As always, we are happy to send our brochure and references to any interested families.

We can’t wait to begin creating the fun, adventure, and friendship of the Summer of 2017!

News from Camp: March 1, 2017

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

All of the work on summer documents and curricula have us dreaming of playing outside this summer!

Our days are alternating between cold winter and warm spring days—very normal for Colorado at this time of year! Our wildlife have been much more active as the warmer weather increases and we have seen herds of deer and elk, as well as a lot of wild turkeys.

We have many projects underway in preparation for camp next summer.  Mike Mac, Mike A., Mark, 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 2017.

We are also working on a brand new Sanborn Western Camps website which we hope to complete before the end of April. Many of you have already seen our new camp brochure which we completed in December. Mike A and Anne are working on a new “Backcountry Basics” to update our information on “Leave No Trace” camping, and Carlotta and Claire have been putting together delicious menus for the summer. Val, Megan and Jalen have been updating the ridge leader handbook and SOLE/CORE leadership curriculums. Jessie is creating new newsletters which enrolled campers will be receiving this spring and keeping our Facebook fresh with new postings at least twice a week.

Only 101 days until Opening Day 2017!

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, Rachel, and Annie 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 a major renovation of the kitchen and dishroom in the High Trails Lodge, as well as some improvements to the Ark at Big Spring.  We also plan to have a new program yurt at Big Spring before summer begins.

Camp is only three months away and we can’t wait.  Already we have campers and staff from 38 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 to anyone interested in learning more about the exciting programs at Big Spring, High Trails, and Sanborn Junior.

News from Camp: January 1, 2017

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

We finally had our first big snow at camp!

Happy New Year to all of our friends across the world. As we reflect on the happy moments and blessings of 2016, 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 2017, 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 Big Spring Assistant Directors Mike Adler and Mark Rutberg 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. On January 10, they will visit Denver; beginning January 21, they will be in Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, 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 plan to join us!

The current snow is making us dream of summer and fun adventures!

We have a lot of projects underway to make 2017 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 2016 staff and are looking forward to working with many of them again next summer.

Our maintenance crew is hard at work on facility improvement projects including the interior of the High Trails Lodge and a major plumbing renovation at the STUW Ridge washhouse. We have a long list of things we hope to accomplish before next summer!

We just received our brand new camp brochure from the printer, and will be mailing it out to current camp families this month. We’re also working hard on a new website which we hope to unveil early in the new year.

We 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, and we are seeing wild turkeys every day.

Enrollment is well underway for 2017 and several age groups 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!

News from Camp: December 1, 2016

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

We love snowy days at camp!

Winter cold has crept into the Ranch even though we still have lots of sunny days. Our snow-covered fields are beautiful and it definitely looks like December around here. The animals which have not gone into hibernation have been pretty active in the center of camp. There are always rabbit tracks in the snow, and 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.

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!

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 2017 and can’t wait to share these amazing adventures with our campers next summer. We are also busy dreaming up exciting trips for our new property at the base of Mt. Antero! 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.

The turkeys have been making their daily trek across Olin Gulch to The Nature Place and past the Big Spring office.

Our maintenance crew is busy working on projects to improve our facility. In addition to completing a new roof on the High Trails Lodge, they are now working on additional interior renovations at the Lodge. They have also been busy with a major new plumbing project at the STUW Ridge Washhouse and Massive Cabin.

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 2017. Everyone at camp wishes all of our friends the happiest of holiday seasons!

News from Camp: October 1, 2016

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

Our golden leaves are beginning to fall already.

We are enjoying spectacular Indian Summer days here at camp. The golden Aspen are at their peak and are stunning against the bright blue sky. We’ve been spying on the herd of elk at Potts Spring and have also seen deer, porcupines, wild turkeys, bobcats, and, of course, the fat black Abert squirrels. Many of our summer birds have headed south and the year-round bird residents are beginning to show up at our feeders more regularly.

We love walking and crunching on the fall trails.

Our outdoor education program with sixth graders from District 20 in Colorado Springs has been underway since mid-September. We also hosted a “No Child Left Inside” open house September 24 and were very happy to have many local families join us for a morning of hikes and nature-based activities led by our staff. We are very committed to doing everything we can to help young people connect with the natural world. The benefits are enormous—as Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder” says: “Children who have a personal connection with nature are happier, healthier, and smarter.”

At The Nature Place, Rob Jolly and his staff are busy working with the University of Denver on a team-building and leadership development program for DU’s MBA students. We have collaborated with DU on this program, where every MBA student spends a long weekend at The Nature Place, for over 15 years. The students rock climb, participate in an orienteering course, and work through many team-building scenarios, all of which teach values-based leadership.

The horses are grazing happily in Fishcreek where they are exceptionally appreciative of the lush green grass. They miss taking rides every day with their many friends but are already looking forward to next summer.

We are most excited about opening enrollment for another season of camp. The summer of 2017 will be our 69th and we are looking forward to sharing adventures, friendships and lots of fun. Many returning families have already enrolled, and additional enrollment information will be going out throughout the month of October. If you know of interested families, we’ll be happy to send our brochure. They can also request information from our website.

We hope you are having a fantastic Autumn!

News from Camp: August 7, 2016

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

Ecstatic smiles from the summit of Mt. Sherman!

Gymkhana is an opportunity for the campers who've spend time at the barn improving their riding to show off the skills they've learned.

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 Country to Country Club 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 two groups from the Alpine Valley 3-day trip reached the top of 14,036’ Mt. Sherman. Backpack trips into the Tarryall Wilderness Area, Mt. Silverheels and the Buffalo Peaks enjoyed spectacular scenery during their four days in the wilderness, and the Silverheels group also climbed 13,822’ Mt. Silverheels, while the Buffalo Peaks group reached the 13,332’ summit of West Buffalo Peak. 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, and La Plata Peak. The boys also had fun on horseback overnights, rock climbing overnights, river overnights, fishing trips, 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.

News from Camp: July 31, 2016

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

We enjoyed a beautiful afternoon Carnival and visiting day!

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

All of our trips last week enjoyed warm, sunny weather and we had some amazing views of stunning clouds and a lightning show over Pikes Peak on Thursday evening. Horseback riders rode through fields of clover and camped out at several of the established spring tanks on our property and on the National Forest to our west; CORE tech rock experienced great climbing both on and off the ranch; mountain bikers glided along our trails and 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.

The CORE and SOLE trips did some awesome trail work this week!

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 “Movie Character” 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, La Plata Peak, and Mts. Shavano and Tabeguache.  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 8.

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

News from Camp: July 24, 2015

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Hike the Pike is a fun afternoon for everyone. Though it is not a race - there still seems to be a starting line!

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 took hiking trips to the Mueller Ranch State Park, canoeing trips, technical rock climbing trips, mountain biking trips, and several extremely fun horseback riding all-days. The Big Spring Junior campers enjoyed seeing the huge petrified Sequoia stumps at The Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument on Friday and discovering leaf and insect fossils at the special digging site we visit.

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 “80’s Neon Workout/Jazzercise” 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.

The sunset tonight was a truly WONDERful sight!

The sunset tonight was a truly WONDERful sight!

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 High Trails are looking forward to their trip the fossil beds on Wednesday. Riding, hiking explorations, swimming, crafts, and special closing activities will round out the week for the Juniors.

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 17, 2016

Monday, July 18th, 2016

Opening Campfire is an exciting event at both camps and include counselor skits and singing favorite camp songs!

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, swimming, 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 choose 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. 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. The older boys, living on STUW Ridge will also leave tomorrow for a two-night camping trip. On Tuesday, the rest of 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 participate in 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. They also have a great all-day trip to the river for tubing 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 our website. 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 10, 2016

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Out in the high mountains is the best place to be.

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. Antero, Shavano and Tabeguache, 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 Ouray). They also enjoyed canoeing trips, technical rock climbing trips, and river tubing trips. Two different groups challenged themselves at our High Ropes Course. 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. They also all loved their trip to the South Platte River for tubing.

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 “Toy Story” 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 the Hairbrush Fairy, the Leave No Trace Guerilla, and the SOW – Sense of Wonder pig.

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.

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 Sanborn

Executive Director