Archive for the ‘Fun Activities’ Category

Family Time, Game Time

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Passing the Wah in "The Wah Game" can get really crazy.

This afternoon was our annual COEC holiday luncheon. We get together and sit around the tables at The Nature Place to enjoy good food and the fellowship of our coworkers. As Mike said, “we all work together, yet sometimes only see each other in passing or on this day”. The ranch is big and our duties are various, yet we are all working toward a common mission. It is fun to sit around a table together and laugh about the funny stories that have made up the past year. It is like sitting around the tables at both the High Trails and Big Spring lodges during the summer and sharing stories of daily adventures or long trips.

Football is the not only game that requires a huddle. Giants, Elves, & Wizards also requires a solid game plan.

We know that many of you will soon be traveling to be with family or will be welcoming family into your home. The stories and conversations will flow out while enjoying a delicious meal. We imagine some of these stories will be told by current campers and will probably lead into to memories from all of you former campers. We can just hear the stories now…

“We were hiking uphill all 22 miles from Tipi Village to Quicks Homestead” (We know camp stories tend to sound a lot like fishin’ stories) “It was so hot, so we stopped for water and a game break. Our counselor taught us this new game called Llama Llama. It’s so hilarious!”

Stories are the best! And so are games! We recently discovered that were too many people in the office who had no idea how to do the Broom Dance. Jane and Ariella were shocked and saddened, and soon the ninja squirrels outside could hear some raucous broom dancing. “Cough-cough AHEM!” It took a while for everyone to catch on, that it was hard to dance because we were laughing so much, but we are proud to say the entire Sanborn office can now do the Broom Dance.

Games put a smile on everyone's face around here - Enjoy!

It got us thinking, though, about all our favorite camp games. There are many that bring up memories of fun counselors, or that time so-and-so fell down playing Ninja. There are the debates over the correct rules for Crossed and Uncrossed or the Stick Game. Even with all the discussion and A Bag of Tricks book, we came to the consensus that Jane’s rules are THE rules.

So at your family gatherings this year, when the stories die down, what do you do next? Not the dishes! Ask your current campers to teach you the Llama game, the 2016 Sanborn Game of the Year, or any of their favorites. You ‘ol timers can brush up on your broom dance. This is a great way to share memories of camp with friends and family around your table – well after, or before, the dishes are done.

P.S. If you need a refresher on how to play a game, check out Youtube or just Google it. We were surprised at how many tutorials we could find.

The Joy of Campfires

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

"The brilliance, the warmth, the crackle of the logs…it brought new life to our cold campsite."

There are so many magnificent things about summer camp, and for me one of the greatest of them is the opportunity to sit around a campfire.  Not a gas flame flickering, not a warming lamp on a restaurant patio… but a campfire.

The first campfire I experienced was at Sanborn, and it was love at first sight.  I was a camper on my first unit overnight, far from home.  I was tired from a long hike in wet weather, my feet and shoulders were aching, and a cold front was rolling in behind the rain. But then the counselors built a campfire.  And all of those tiresome things melted away. I couldn’t believe how incredible it was to just stare at the rolling flames.

The mood lifted as campers and staff gathered around.  We gazed at the fire, transfixed by the vines of light tangling in the air.  The brilliance, the warmth, the crackle of the logs…it brought new life to our cold campsite.  There was something mystic about those flames.  It felt like a message from the earth, from nature itself, an encouraging note of warmth and energy.

Throughout that evening, campers and counselors stayed near the fire, working together to prepare dinner.  We chopped and grilled, cooking right over the blaze.  There wasn’t a stove in sight, we literally cooked over the fire.  It felt timeless, as if we were engaged in an ancient task.  I still remember that meal, it’s one of the best dinners of my life.  And not because it was well made, which it was, but because the entire meal was cooked on an open fire.  It lit up my mood and filled up my belly.

"We chopped and grilled, cooking right over the blaze."

That campfire was a first for me, and summer camp is all about firsts.  Spending a night or two out in the wilderness can be scary, but a campfire can chase away those fears.  It’s a process that humans have been doing for eons.

The human race has a special relationship with campfires.  It’s a ritual of light, a safe zone of warmth and community.  Gazing into a the flames, we connect to our past.  For thousands of years our ancestors sat around fires, not for fun, but for necessity.  Human history began by the firelight.  When we build campfires, it brings a taste of the timeless into our cluttered modern world.

It’s essential to be safe when building a fire.  At Sanborn, we don’t have fires all the time, we only build when conditions permit.  Sometimes there are fire bans, other times we’re in National Forest or high country and we simply don’t want to impact the surroundings.  But when we do build campfires, it’s truly wonderful.  A campfire can warm a day and bond a group.  Gazing into the flames inspires you in ways that are hard to describe.  The flames roll and your thoughts roll with them.

Years ago, that night around the fire, the meal finished but we kept the flames going.  We roasted marshmallows and sang along with an untuned guitar.  The flames twisted up into the night with our laughter in tow.  I looked across the fire, into the eyes of my new friends.  The campfire underscored the mood, it was a shared love of the moment.  With each pop from the fire, sparks floated up into the sky, mixing with the stars.  I felt so… connected.

As the night ended, the flames fell into coals and the embers pulsed like a heartbeat.   One by one, everyone headed off to bed, zipping into their tents and bags.  I sat alone with a few others, poking at the embers. Finally, the counselors put the fire out with a crash of cold water.  Steam hissed up into the night, the light fading away.  It was time for bed.

I always sleep like a rock after sitting around a campfire.  It’s almost like the flames were a lullaby for my busy mind.  And then there’s the fun of the next day… because one of the great things about a campfire is that it stays with you.  The next morning you can smell the campfire in your clothes, an aroma of smoke, an echo of nighttime fun.  More than once, I’ve been caught standing stock-still, sniffing my clothes and smiling, remembering the flawless joy of a campfire.

News from Camp: June 21, 2015

Monday, 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.

Happy, Healthy and Moving

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Staff Gaga Ball...Practicing Best Practice!

Just yesterday, there was a piece on NPR that basically said our teenagers are getting fatter.  Based on the nation’s recognition of the childhood obesity epidemic and PSA’s from the NFL, the First Lady, and a wide variety of Sesame Street characters, our kids should be moving more right?

Maybe.

As the pendulum has swung, and children have been spending less and less time outdoors (this generation has spent less time in the outdoors than any generation in human history)—I will posit—that they have actually FORGOTTEN how to play.

During a recent training session with the High Trails Ridge Leaders, we actually had to look up the rules to “Kick the Can” (granted, it was because there were competing theories…and we realized it is a much easier game to play in an urban environment where there are a lot of cars and basement stairwells to hide in).  Active play has been endangered by hyper-vigilant playground monitors, fear of strangers, children’s access to and us of technology, and a lack of adults who model outdoor play.

Yet, at camp, all of that changes.  Kids walk everywhere.  They hike, they bike, they look at the stars instead of screens, they carry saddles long distances (ask any Sanborn Junior camper what is the hardest thing they do at camp and it is carrying those gigantic, awkward saddles).  It isn’t hazing, it is helping—we help these campers recognize the potential of their bodies.

Our staff are wildly active—pick-up Frisbee games after every meal, Gaga ball, riding bikes to commute to work, walking up and down the High Trails hill and back and forth from the ridges to the lodge and all of these crazy games.  During our afternoon training, our comprehensive pack-packing clinic was a bit rushed because we couldn’t stop playing games (my new personal favorite is a tag game where everyone is trying to tag everyone on the backs of their knees, and when the person who tagged you gets out, then you are back in again…ran and laughed so hard I thought I was going to throw up…which was NOT an unpleasant feeling in this case).

Adults love to run and play, too, and when we model it for our own children, students and campers…AND TEENS, we WILL help the pendulum shift back to an understanding that play might be the job of childhood, but it is a requirement of of healthy, happy adulthood, too.

Cooking With Fire #1: Spanish Tortilla

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Intro

Tea has been running rampant through the office. Our electric kettle, decorated with orange and brown flowers, first began its journey at the PPRS Research Station, made it’s way to South Platte, and finally to the offices of the Sanborn Blog. But don’t let word get out to the wonderful men and women working downstairs– the kettle barely makes 2 1/2 cups as is. Tea is our major defense against the cold days, along with fleeces, flannels, and beanies (or knit caps, toboggans, bobcaps, stocking caps, a tabby cap, a watch cap, or in Canada, a tuque; this interactive map will help you decide: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk). But we’re here to talk about eggs and sprouts, not if you say hoagie or grinder.

Spanish Tortilla, along with Brussels Sprouts and Chicken

1 red pepper

1 onion

1 large sweet tater

12 eggs from Marty’s chickens

milk

broccoli

3 cloves of garlic

coconut oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

chili powder

chicken breast with lemon

Brussels sprouts

JB scrambled up the eggs along with a bit of milk. He put the cut veggies into a 10-inch cast iron skillet and sauteed them with coconut oil, salt and pepper to taste, and some butter. Once the veggies started to brown he poured in the egg and cooked over medium heat. Some recipes call to flip the tortilla halfway into cooking it, but JB chose not to. A little chili powder was added. On the side he baked chicken breast at 400 degrees till done, along with lemon, onions, and salt and pepper to taste. The Brussels sprouts were sauteed in a 12-inch skillet with salt and pepper.

The Spanish tortilla is best served with friends and family on a cold, snowy night. 3 year old children seem to like all elements of the Spanish tortilla, yet 5 year olds seem aversed to certain vegetables. Broccoli was a hit with all ages. If there is no side of chicken, along with growing children in the household, ham can replace the sweet tater in the tortilla. Theoretically.

JB takes a quick moment to battle local wildlife.

New Years Resolutions

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

We're hard at work here in the office!

Hello!

Get excited, because we have a lot of great things coming your way this New Year! Sure, the first Postal Holiday of the year is over, but here at the office things are just warming up. Look out for an update from us here at Sanborn’s blog each Wednesday in the form of (but not restricted to): the exploration of gustatory delights with Big Spring’s new Program Director, Jackson Blackburn, interviews with staff and camp buildings, updates on winter projects, an article here and there that catches our attention, and the occasional uplifting piece of multimedia.

An exciting event: our #sanbornswag contest! Let us see your Sanborn Western Camps swag (this means clothing) from home, from camp, and any and all adventures you’ve taken around the world! Follow us on Instagram (@sanborncamps) and post your picture with #sanbornswag along with a great caption. Submissions are due February 3rd 2014! We will announce the winners and post their pictures here and to our Facebook page. If you don’t have an instagram, you can post your pictures to Facebook with #sanbornswag, but, as you may not be aware because you do not have an instagram, the bigger problem here would be not having an instagram. I bet you also don’t have a 3-D printer, and therefore do not have geometrically shaped candy treats in flavors of mint or sour apple? Ha. What is this, the stone age?

So check back every week for what’s new and cool here on Sanborn Western Camps’ blog!

A Tale of Two Peaks

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Harvard/Yale BS 2012

As we sit here in the Rocky Mountains it makes my mind wander. Where do trees come from? Why are milkshakes so delicious? What makes White Mike’s hair grow in such cute yet funny looking curls?

The answer to these questions and more, is you!

After driving the treacherous hour and forty minutes to pick you up from your pick up point it makes me recognize that this world is comprised of all creatures both man made and natural. If you squint at a sunset it looks similar to shining a flashlight in your eyes, if you attempt to eat a pinecone in less than six bites it’s going to make your insides hurt (I know this from personal experience), this is the world. It is your world. And today you are stepping into it not only as men, not only as boys, not only as Big Spring Warriors, but mythical creatures much like a combination of a pegasus, with an ogre’s arms, Jerry McLain’s hair, tarantula fangs, and the heart of a zephyr.

At Big Spring we do many things that literally make the world go round. Sumpings, chants, growing facial hair, and being bold brave warriors. These attributes have culminated here, in this very park, eating this very pizza! We have conquered fears, hunger, thirst, the desire to flirt with that girl at the swings over there, but, alas, we are still here. We are legendary, we are the ones that return with glory!

These mountains were once flat, this grass was once dirt, that sky was once a fish, and we are much like all of those things. We grow, evolve, develop, regress, develop again, scratch our arm pit, and then recognize that we must shape shift. Not in a creepy way like how Will-O turns into a horse, but like Mystique from x-men. This is who we are and it’s to be carried as a true testament of our character, courage, fashion statements, and hygienic values!

I came to this spot to greet you and bring you home, but now I stand here and understand that this is more than just a pick-up, it is a ceremony of life, and I think Ghandi put it best when he said “if I eat anymore rice I’m gonna throw-up on myself” and that is the thought I want to leave you with…I’m proud…humbled…and ready to eat more pizza!

ACA Explore 30 — enter Big Spring Read-a-Thon

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Challenge: During the summer children experience “summer learning loss” when they are not involved in high quality programs with opportunities for skill building.  As a result, young people can forget up to 2 months of academic instruction, particularly in the areas of reading and math when they are not in school. Camps and other youth development programs provide the opportunity to reduce summer learning loss in an expanded learning environment where children are engaged experientially and have an opportunity for additional academic enrichment.

- taken from ACA Explore 30 web site

Our new Big Spring Library is fully equipped with books about astronomy, Colorado flora & fauna, as well as two full shelves each of fiction and non, children book series and picture books for those bed-time read-a-louds!  Plus board games, maps and other fun resources for campers and counselors to make camp an enriching environment!

We began a Read-a-Thon at the beginning of the session and about 23 counselors and 26 campers took part in the four-week-long challenge. The record was around 5,300 pages read thus far by a counselor, and not far behind was another counselor with about 5,100 pages read, and Liam Kelly, a camper, with 3,120 pages!

Stay tuned for next session’s Read-a-Thon!

The Great Indoors

Monday, July 9th, 2012

The Good Earth

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

Our First Session Big Spring Outbackers refitted this old horse coral right above the BS Barn (used to be called the Elephant Pit, according to Mr. Jerry) into our very own garden plot!

The combination of horse poop, hay and shade made for great soil conditions. The Outbackers were stoked to be able to create something that will be turned into a Sanborn summer gardening program as well as curriculum on high altitude farming for our new Sanborn Semester. We created a low-flow irrigation system for such hot days, as well as rows to separate such vegetables as beets, carrots, radishes (mainly rooty items, due to our altitude). It’s a fun project for the kids to see progress in just a few weeks (with help from our friendly skies of late) and they can go home knowing there is something growing here that they planted.

Fresh cilantro, arugula and beets (with help from worms churning soil and creating better organic material underneath) growing in an ol’ water tank.

Our compost bin (full of 2 lbs. of red wiggler worms) is filled with vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and other brown, carbon-rich material (eaten by the worms–crazy) to make this lovely, four-week-old compost! This will be spread as a top layer over our garden plot to add sufficient nutrients to our crops.