Archive for the ‘High Trails Outdoor Education Center’ Category

Nature Activity: Nature Scavenger Hunt

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

This looks SCARY!!!

At High Trails Outdoor Education Center, students experience the natural world through role play and hands-on activities. One of our students’ favorite activities comes during their first Discovery Group: Setting the Mood.

The Nature Scavenger Hunt is facilitated by the high school counselors, many of whom have attended our HTOEC Leadership Day. The goal is to help the students begin to see interrelationships in the natural world, as well as to help them slow down and help them truly “see” (and understand) the natural world all around them.

Here is what the students will be looking for:

HTOEC Nature Scavenger Hunt
Something red in nature
Something scary
The oldest thing you can find
The youngest thing you can find
Something you can feel but cannot see
Something with a smooth texture
Something with a rough texture
Something beautiful
Something amazing
Two seeds
A piece of litter
Evidence of an animal
Three different kinds of grass
Something that makes a noise
Something humans could not live without
Something natural that has no purpose

Once the group has found all the items, the high school counselors will facilitate a short wrap-up discussion to allow the students to share their discoveries. Some of the questions the counselors may ask are: What do all the objects have in common? How are they interrelated? Would a dog be able to find something red? Would a bat be able to hear the same things we found which made a noise? What else could a bat hear? What things would animals be able to find better than we can?

These questions help the student begin to recognize that our senses help us experience the natural world in rare and unique ways—and that our sixth sense, our sense of wonder, allows us to understand, appreciate and celebrate our connection to nature.

What do YOU look for when you are out in the natural world?

The Trans-America Challenge Takes on Wagon Tongue Road

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

The 2012 Trans-America Challenge

This morning I was delighted to find out that the Endurance Rally Association had chosen to route part of it’s legendary Trans-America Challenge down Teller County Road 46A…and right past the Sanborn Western Camps front gate.

These amazing classic cars (all pre-1973, and many far, far older), make the journey from New York to Alaska in about 30 days.  It is a fully supported rally, with mechanics and support vehicles along the way, and the race organizers even post a daily blog sharing the highlights of the day’s journey.

Beyond the fun of seeing all of these intrepid drivers (who often waved and honked as they revved on by), the best part of waiting for the cars was listening for the distinctly deep and throaty sound of these older cars as they came around the tight curve on 46, and opened up their engines on their approach toward the Sanborn sign.  In between the cars, the sound of the wind and the screech of Red-tail hawks riding the morning thermals were the only other sounds one could hear.

We all wish the drivers and their cars the best of luck during as they continue their drive from Durango tomorrow on into Arizona.  As fellow adventurers, we know they will marvel at the expanse and beauty of the American West as we do every day of the summer!

Author’s Note:  We are beginning to suspect Florissant truly may be the Center of the Universe…or at least, the Center of Adventure.  Next fall, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge will ride from Breckenridge to Colorado Springs, following the route over Hoosier, Wilkerson, and Ute Passes that many campers and alums would find quite familiar.  The riders will pass the main camp sign (on Highway 24) on Thursday, August 24th.  If you are interested in using camp or The Nature Place as a “base camp” for your OWN ride to Wilkerson Pass (or just want to stand by the Sanborn sign and cheer the riders into Florissant) please give us a call at 719.748.3341 or email ariella at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

Evolving Education: Rodrick Lucero & the Educational Landscape, Part Two

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

The following is the second part of Rodrick Lucero’s keynote speech from the 2012 ACA Conference:

The journey to being an educator has been repeated over and over again in the last 150 years as emerging teachers “cut their teeth” in the day camp and residential camp environments.  It is here that they learned the art of teaching…the way to apply content (relevance), the way to challenge students to think critically (rigor), and the way engage campers as members of a community (relationships).  Relevance, Rigor, and Relationship have become the new “three R’s”, as the former (Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic) cannot be effectively learned without the new “three R’s”.  Famed Psychologist, Abraham Maslow reminds us in his Hierarchy of human needs that if we as educators can take care of the human-ness of our students, their psychological safety, their physical safety, and their sense of belonging, then and only then will we be able to teach them, and learn beside them, and discover with them in ways that engage their learning.  There is some research out there that discusses the “summer dip”.  I’m not sure that I buy into much of this research, but I do know that there is no summer dip when kids are actively engaged in camp activities that encourage them to apply what they know…this is learning, and it is different than memorization.

It seems to me that schools do a great job of asking students to engage in the theoretical learning, learning that is taken at face value as valid.  Whereas camps ask students to apply the knowledge that they have learned in school, and use these learning in their explorations of the natural world.  One might read about the Milky Way, and its place in the cosmos in the context of their Environmental Science class.  They might even be able to identify constellations from a computer generated model…but it’s when they lay on grassy hill at night that the Milky Way becomes real, and the constellations jump from the computer screen and become material upon which to engage the imagination, Cephus the king, Cassiopeia, and Orion, indeed!

So, if we imagine schools as primarily engaged with rigor and camps primarily engaged with relevance then where do relationships fit? They belong in both.  The ability to make and maintain friendship is a condition of our human existence…Children learned this from their first years.  We need relationships.

So, then it is up to us in the schools and the camps to make sure our environments are filled with opportunities to make and maintain these human connections and friendships.  It’s in the eyes of others that we learn more about ourselves, and which becomes the “cement” or “glue” that holds us close to our most treasured learning experiences.  It is in the mirror of relationship that learning gains meaning and where it finds a context with which we can base our next learning.

So, we create the inescapable bond between traditional educational environments (schools), and less traditional educational environments (camps).  Much of what I have discussed thus far is about students and campers, but what about the camper directors, the principals, the counselors, and the teachers…those adults who have committed themselves to making the world a better place.  Those who realize that an investment in a child is the only way to insure a democracy and a future for the planet…maybe we need to send our politicians to camp???  I wonder what might happen if they were placed in a situation where they HAD to help each other climber that mountain, or cross that river?  Maybe some lessons could be learned…but I digress?

Camp personnel are every bit the teachers and leaders of schooling in America.  It is time for the camp community to take their rightful seat at the educational table, and partner, regularly!!  With schools…about innovations that are mutually beneficial…This is a way to do what we do well in our business models and business plans…Simultaneous Renewal!  As Camp Directors train their new crop of counselors are these counselors taught the fundamental importance of their work, in making the world a better place to live…do they understand that every day and every situation is a teachable moment.  How will they “teach” when the disagreement over a care package arises?  How will they teach when a camper is homesick?  How will they teach the appropriate knots that make rock climbing safer and more enjoyable?  How will they teach the beauty of quiet?  How will they teach the importance of genuine care and concern?

I think camp counselors are luckier than teachers, because we get to spend more concerted time with our charges.  We get to know them in an informal way that is often more deep, more human, more real.  We get to see the hurt, the fear, the confusion, the laughter, and the silliness, and we get to use the tools of our trade to help them overcome their vulnerabilities…they can do the high ropes course, they can take the hand of a younger camper to help them overcome the heavy back-pack, they can get outside of themselves and see the PURPOSE!  Camp Counselors get to engage students in the depth of their learning, while schools are adept at providing the breadth!  This is the simultaneous renewal that both entities bring to the table…what they bring to the education of every child.

There are other partners in our camp work that I have yet to discuss; the parent community.   How do we educate our parent community on the importance of camp at times of dwindling resources, and longer school years.

First of all we need to understand that the parent community is an important member of the team that educates their child.  It’s critical that we spend time building partnerships, formal and informal with our parent community.  How will they be renewed by sending their child to camp?  Just like their campers, are parents being engaged in the process…and if we were to look at Maslow as a framework, are we taking care of parents needs for physical safety, are we sharing with them how our staff is being trained for supervision at the pool, on the mountain, around the river, what kind of food is being served etc…for their psychological safety, are we sharing with them how our staff is being trained to handle bullying, homesickness, disagreements, etc.  How are we inviting parents to “belong” to the camp community?

This is obviously a difficult balance, as it’s important for parents to allow their children to explore their world, to become more independent.  I think that if all parents are involved in a non-intrusive way in the camp community, and if institutionalize their involvement there will be less need for “more” intrusion.

So, as I reflect upon my comments today, it’s clear that we have made an argument for the importance of camp in the educational life of every child…

If we can argue that camp is critical to the development of a child, then I believe that we, in this room, have to make it a priority to include access to the opportunity of camp to every student…this will cost us financially, but in a very real sense I don’t believe that we can afford, as a society, to have opportunities for some students and not for others…How can we make camp accessible to all children!

… How can this be done, I have no idea, but I enjoy the thought that at some point in our lifetimes, every child can go to camp, every child can have a mentor, and every child can challenge themselves as they figure out their place in the world.  If we can do this well, schools won’t feel the need to elongate their calendars, because their partners at camp will continue the educational enterprise in June, July and August…nothing will be lost, but a well-educated democracy of social justice focused citizens will continue to grow and flourish.

I am here because of each of you, the camp collective, the camp community.  I am here because of camp.  My life was forever changed thirty–one years ago on June 7th…the first day of the first staff-training I experienced, when a camp director told me that camp was about “fun and adventure, but with a purpose”…and on that day I went all in…and continue to engage in “fun and adventure, with an eye…always…on the purpose”.

On that day, I became a camp counselor and it was then that I began to grow beyond myself and it was then that I began to understand the responsibility of my privilege, and it was then that I began becoming a man.  Camp holds me accountable to every decision I make, to this day.  It’s strong hold on my integrity, and the ethical principles (that I have come to value) have made it impossible to sit back and watch injustice…it is camp that engages me to make the world a better place.

You see,

We are all camp,

We are united in the camp spirit,

and We are the future,

We are relevant

We WILL make our mark

We will engage every child in their own learning

We will continue to believe in our mission

We will not be deterred, failure is not an option…because failing our kids is not, nor will it ever be an option!

The answer is ….CAMP

We are camp…

And we are the answer!

Dr. Rodrick S. Lucero is an Associate Professor and Associate Director of the School of Teacher Education and Principal Preparation in the School of Education at Colorado State University and has 10 years’ experience as a camp staff member. He was a well-respected high school teacher and high school administrator for 21 years before moving to his current position. His educational career has been heavily influenced by the relevance inherent in a natural environment and he continually advocates for a myriad of learning environments in order to educate every student effectively. It is at this complex intersection that Rod has fused his passion for nature and his passion for educational opportunities for every child.

Evolving Education: Rodrick Lucero & the Educational Landscape, Part One

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

The following is taken from a keynote speech given by Rodrick Lucero during the 2012 ACA Conference in Atlanta, GA.

Get ready to be inspired.

… My discussion with you will focus on the relationship between what you provide to the education of every child and what schools provide.  My hope is that you will walk away from this keynote with

  • specifics to share with parents about our collective role in the education of every child.
  • a sense of how camp and schools are related in the 21st century
  • a description of skills that camps contribute to the schooling of every child
  • a little bit of research on the importance of camps
  • and renewed vigor in the important work that you do!

Campers:

In tears, a camper shares:  “Camp is such a big part of me…I grew up here; I found out who I am here; I have spent my childhood here; I figured out my values here; and now I know I can do anything!  I am more confident in school now.  I really want to take what camp has given me and share it with the world!”

Another camper notes: School is more fun because of camp, because I figured out who I was, I was able to “find my voice”…and as a result I am more of an active participant in my life…I like school because I am part of the process, not just watching it from the outside looking in.  I have finally learned that when I challenge myself, I can be a better me.”

And yet another:  It’s better to be on a summit with a group, it’s a shared journey, shared worked, shared struggle, and shared rewards!

A staff member writes:  Being outside encourages skills that a classroom can’t touch; problem-solving that combines visceral engagement with intellectual development.  Kids use their bodies and their hands to interact with the world; they have more chances to grow emotionally and socially.   Camp is like school on steroids; I have freedom that spans the out of doors and my “classroom” encompasses whenever I can dream up…kids are more engaged, receptive in nature.  After this experience, I will always make sure that there in an outdoor component to everything I teach.  Here we teach emotional intelligence with every interaction…everyone here is an educator because everything we do is intentional.

So what have these campers and counselors captured?  They have eloquently stated why camp is part of their educational experience.  The have described the soft skills, otherwise known as the 21st century skills that guide every student through every learning event of their lives from the Biology lab, to learning the “J” stroke with a canoe, to playing in the band, to saddling a horse, to team sports in Physical Education, and to engaging in a reflective essay in English, or the genuine appreciation for a sunset.  It is the development of these soft skills…these 21st century skill…that camp does well and where schools struggle…As educators, it is incumbent upon us all to work collaboratively with our local, state, and national school communities and articulate what our important contributions, let them articulate what they provide and intentionally plan for a vision of educational excellence for every child.  We can no longer live in the safe isolation that has defined our relationships for over 150 years.  The camp community and the school community absolutely need one another if they are to continue to be relevant, to continue to prepare young people for active involvement in our democracy, engagement in the environmental crises we are facing, and shared responsibility for all others across the globe.

So much of what we hear about effective education calls for the reform of the system.  However, maybe “reform” isn’t the answer.  Maybe “renewal” captures our charge with more clarity.  It is my supposition that each entity, schools, and camps, do better because of the other, while they can (and often do) exist in isolation their collectives outcomes will dramatically improve the life of each child who benefit from the good work in both environments.

The work in which we engage is best understood by what John Goodlad has called “Simultaneous Renewal”.  It is not in reform that we find answers, but in continual growth.  It’s a “space” where we recognize what is good and we build upon it.  It’s also a “space” where we identify needed change; those elements that are barriers to our growth.  Reform, on the other hand, is a call for throwing out the good work that has been done, and constructing a new “world order”.  But as we look at how we learn, we begin from what we know…doesn’t renewal sounds like a more realistic way to provide ongoing, effective, instruction!  Reform is much about ideas that have no foundation, no place in practice, and are therefore relegated to existence in rhetoric without any manifestation in the reality of the educational environment.

“Renewal” is hopeful and resonates with the power of a joyful educational system that is always in process…always climbing, always meeting children where they are and taking them where they need to be…it speaks to the “camp” experience and its place in the education of every child. It is this commitment to personal growth that we remember in our own camp experience, it’s the memory of last summer’s “renewal” that brings a camper back the next year, and staff back for several seasons!  It is what we do!

Simultaneous Renewal is a realization that innovations, ideas, and creative endeavors are robust when they have a tangible benefit for participant.  In our daily camp activity schedules are we insuring that all participants;  campers, counselors, directors, vendors, parents, staff, etc. are involved in the mission and engaged in making the experience meaningful.   Every participant must be engaged in the mission, and therefore must be actively part of the culture.  All participants must “belong” to the camp environment if they are to create meaning within the day to day operations.  Are cooks invited to campfires? Are mechanics invited to an appreciation breakfast put on by campers? Are mail carriers greeted with “ant cookies” made especially for them? So, I would ask you, how is renewal built into your camp processes, staff training, activity dockets, letters home, etc.?

The synergy created when human beings engage in meaningful experiences together is palpable.  It is why we love camp, it’s why campers return year after year, and it’s how we retain staff beyond one season. This “renewal” happens when meaning is defined around a purpose.  In my camp experience the founders of the camp used a mantra, “fun and adventure, with a purpose”.  In my first staff training experience it became clear what the “purpose” was…as Counselors, we were there to enjoy being in the out of doors with campers, but also to educate them about the natural world in which we explored.  It is here that the mission is found…a focused idea: an idea of purpose, an idea of learning.  It is on the first day of my first staff week where I became an educator.  I can recall an overwhelming sense of responsibility and excitement sweeping over every sense as I wondered how I would answer the charge to be an educator.  Would I be good enough? Would I know enough? Would I be engaging enough? Would I be funny? Would I be liked? What if I didn’t know an answer?

As staff training continued I came to a realization that has stayed with me thirty years later…it’s not about knowing the answers, critical thinking and effective instruction is about asking the questions…and then searching for possible answers together…the discovery…ah, the discovery.  The miracle happens every day, and every cloud becomes a shape to see, every ant hill was a city to be studied, every song was a mirror within which to see ourselves, and every challenge, an opportunity to help others, even while we struggled…and we learned…that the fun was in the journey, and that the journey of learning never ends…and the fun never ends.  And the answer to effective learning and effective education is, as Ellen noted in my session yesterday…the answer is CAMP.

So what are these 21st Century skills that we’ve been discussing, and how exactly do they help us learn, how do they help us all in our own renewal?

Because of camp…

We learned to persevere

We learned to be kind

We learned what was meant, by camp cookies that sang.

We learned how to take the next step, then the next as we climbed

We learned to live in a community

We learned that Facebook was not as much fun as a sunset

We learned that our I-Phone was not as engaging as kickball

We learned to make friends

We learned to overcome homesickness

We learned to lend a helping hand

We learned that a smile we could share was more important that our rotten mood

We learned to challenge ourselves, and our friends

We learned the power and subsequent respect of a thunderstorm

We learned to be a member of a team

and when to lead,

and when to follow

We learned the magic of a group effort

We learned the intimacy of being silent

We learned the humility of being a part of nature

We learned that don’t have to sing well, to sing camp songs

We learned that the showers get hotter when the toilets are flushed

We learned that we really have value

We learned that we really do have worth

And we learned that we really do matter

And we learned that sometimes we need someone else’s help

And we learned that in every interaction, and in every challenge there was

something for us to learn…and we learn…and we learn…and we learn…

… to be continued

Dr. Rodrick S. Lucero is an Associate Professor and Associate Director of the School of Teacher Education and Principal Preparation in the School of Education at Colorado State University and has 10 years’ experience as a camp staff member. He was a well-respected high school teacher and high school administrator for 21 years before moving to his current position. His educational career has been heavily influenced by the relevance inherent in a natural environment and he continually advocates for a myriad of learning environments in order to educate every student effectively. It is at this complex intersection that Rod has fused his passion for nature and his passion for educational opportunities for every child.

Evolving Education: Learning From Our Given Cultures

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

There have been a number of eccentric communities I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing over the past, well, let’s say five years. I’d chock it all up to this sort of collective wanderlust spirit, sort of this fire-burning-inside/on-the-bus off-the-bus/spirituality quest, sort of this kind of journey to find space, to find community, to find work (and play) with intention.

While driving back home to the ranch from Denver a few weekends ago, I happened to pass by a neat looking outdoor education center/camp off the side of the road before I hit greater downtown Deckers. The sign read: Woodbine Ecology Center, and I had to take a peek.

The neat thing about this outdoor education center is that they believe wholeheartedly in being a sustainable community through indigenous Ute practices.

“The point of Woodbine is to provide a base from which indigenous peoples can join with other communities of goodwill to forge a more just and sustainable future for all future generations.”

I mean, you can’t argue with that. I think we do what we do at HTOEC and Sanborn very well. And similarly, I think what Woodbine is doing is incredible work for visitors and students alike. And a lot of that has to do with the rich Colorado history we’re able to pass along.

But one of the main reasons they do what they do is because of (well, here comes that buzz word again) … intention.

“We have indigenous children who are third- or fourth-generation urban dwellers, many of whom have lost any connection with their histories, values and culture, with their songs and ceremonies, and with their elders and the wisdom their ancestors have passed to them about living in their homeland.”

There’s a lot to learn at these sort of places. And I have to say that different paths work for different people.

And each person, thus, is able to thrive in the way in which they can (and want to), whether it be (shameless plugs …) living off the grid in geodesic domes and treehouses (and walking labyrinths for hours), designing biblical gardens as summer camp, teaching low-income families about aquaponics systems in urban areas, or just brewing a good cup of chai mate (and having an awesome folk dance on Shabbat!).

So I think we all have the same goal here. We can all find validity in each of our fields.

And I think that’s especially important. We should never, ever think that what we’re doing–the way in which we teach children, build our homes, feed our communities and share ideas to future generations–is better or worse than the work of our neighbors’.

Different paths work for different people. And we should all be excited to learn with each other.

Easter Egg Hunts: An Opportunity for Nature Adventure!

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

One of the great annual traditions of the year-round staff of Sanborn Western Camps and the High Trails Outdoor Education Center is our Easter Egg hunt and staff dinner.

Easter egg hunts up here take place outside, in all weather…many years we are digging through the snow to find eggs (and, yes, this event is NOT reserved for kids under the age of 12).

Last year, however, we had one of the most fun hunts in recent memory.  It combined nature activity, sensory awareness game, and great teamwork.  If you are looking for a way to refresh your Easter Egg hunt, this will make the hunt memorable, fun, and engage the entire family!

Setting Up the Hunt:

  • Hide the eggs in both easy and challenging locations
  • Use the natural landscape to hide the eggs in unique ways (in the crook of a tree, in a hole, under a bush) this makes the hunt more exciting and fun for everyone
  • There should be an “Egg Master”, or a time limit so someone knows when all of the eggs have been found, or time has expired

Framing the Hunt for Participants:

  • Each person needs a partner; pair children with adults if possible or younger children with teens
  • The oldest partner needs to be blindfolded
  • The youngest partner “leads” his/her partner to the hidden eggs….BUT CANNOT TOUCH THEM TO GUIDE THEM (this can change if you have a very young child)
  • Only the blindfolded partner can touch the eggs
  • If you want, have a time limit (5-7 minutes) and then switch roles

After the Hunt:

  • Use the hunt as an opportunity to talk about where animals hide their eggs or make their nests
  • If possible, head back out and see if any eggs were missed while trying to find “real” nests and animal homes in the same area
  • Collect items found in the area to build your own nest…you can use it to contain all of the chocolate eggs you collected during the Easter egg hunt!

Have fun and share YOUR favorite Easter egg hunt!

Wordless Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

“Everything is simply happy.
Trees are happy for no reason;
they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents
and they are not going to become rich
and they will never have any bank balance.
Look at the flowers- for no reason.
It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are.”

- Osho

School Weeks Is Here!

Monday, March 26th, 2012

We are very excited that our school program staff week started this morning! We are looking forward to a fun and busy season. Our first school comes next Wednesday – Summit County 4th graders. Be sure to check out the HTOEC website and blog for more information on the program and spring season. After a quiet winter, it is nice to have new and returning staff on site. It is a great reminder that kids will soon be back on the property!

Students on a hike

We have a great staff from around the country – some new to COEC and some returning. It is fun to see familiar faces. Returning staff include Jessie Spehar, Will Ostendorf, Mike Piel, Jenny Hartmann, and Bea Raemdonck. Mike, Bea, and Will have been a part of the Sanborn staff in the past and are excited to be a part of School Weeks for the first time.

It is just as fun to see how quickly new staff is incorporated into the COEC family. Marie DiBennedetto is from Allenstown, PA and has been a part of various outdoor education programs in the northeast. Adam Delp is joining us from Michigan – but has spent much of his adult life in Colorado; he is currently enrolled in a Wilderness Therapy program. Brendan Brady is from New York state where he has recently been an environmental educator. Michelle Davis is also from New York state; she graduated from SUNY Potsdam where she studied Environmental Studies and Wilderness Education.

Friday, March 16th, 2012

“To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – this is to have succeeded.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sanborn Camps News Update…and an (almost) spring Top Ten

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Top Ten Ways We Can Tell Spring Is Just Around the Corner

10.  Days are getting longer.  More sunshine=More birds singing in the Ponderosa Pines

9.  The spring winds have arrived…and are trying to blow Colorado into Kansas.

8.  There is mud everywhere: on our boots, in our cars, in the office, and under our fingernails

7.  Larry is spending more time servicing camp vans and less time servicing snow plows

6.  Popcorn is starting to lose (some) of her winter coat

5.  The number of staff employment applications has quadrupled

4.  Preparations for our spring High Trails Outdoor Education Center are well underway (we’ll smell baking cookies by the end
of the month!)colorado summer camps

3.  Our annual Denver Reconnect is happening THIS WEEKEND!

2.  Sunbathing on the Big Spring office balcony is once again possible (but don’t blow away…see
#9)

1.  We are wearing tutus

Hello from camp and happy (almost) spring!  We are just coming off an incredible American Camp Association conference in Atlanta.   Our very own Jane Sanborn was National Conference Chair, and many of our year round staff members presented educational sessions.  COEC board member, Rod Lucero, gave a powerful and motivating keynote speech to the 1,000+ camp professionals reminding us that we are outstanding educators who provide—in the words of Sandy Sanborn—“fun and adventure with a purpose.”

As educators, we are happy to announce the launch of COEC’s latest program offering, our very own Sanborn Semester.  The Sanborn Semester offers achievement-oriented high school students an opportunity to create, live, and learn in a supportive community environment isolated from the distractions of the sometimes too-busy and over-stressed high school years.  We are currently accepting applications for the 2013 spring semester, and would love to answer any questions you might have about the program.

We are gearing up for another incredible summer at camp!  New Big Spring Program Director, David Cumming, creating a variety of great new program offerings and building a comprehensive library for Big Spring.  Maren, Rosie and Scot are charting new rides, designing great activities and trips, and waiting for the cows to calve.  Chris, BC and Carlotta have assembled a top-notch staff for our outdoor education program, and are currently helping Colorado Spring’s District 20 with their outdoor education fundraising efforts.  Mike and Julie finished up the Sanborn Road Show tour in Boulder on February 8th.  It is always a fantastic way to kick off the upcoming camp season, to connect with camp families, alums and staff, and to have the opportunity to share the spirit of camp with prospective campers and their families.  If you are interested in hosting a future Sanborn Road Show in YOUR community, please contact Mike or Julie at 719.748.3341.

Everyone in the office is busy hiring staff, processing camp applications and sharing the experience of Sanborn with prospective families over the phone.  One of our favorite things to do is to talk to parents about the life-changing opportunities that camp provides kids of all ages.  Even when the phones are ringing, we regularly share great parenting, camping, child development research and information on our blog and Facebook page, so if you are not currently following us, we hope you will soon!

We are all excited about the community that is coming together for the summer of 2012 and can’t wait to begin the fun. Many of our age groups are already full for the summer of 2012, so if you don’t want to miss any of the adventures, get your application in today!  Last month we shared that we have added the “Camp In Touch” app to our Facebook page.  This will allow families to access their camp information, view photos from the summer, purchase “Camp Stamps” for our one-way email program and much more.  We are happy to mail our brochure and DVD to anyone interested in camp and to provide references for new families.

Think summer!