Archive for the ‘Professional Development’ Category

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

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artie the Abert Squirrel

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

B Strong, Find Your Community

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

I Zigga Zumba?

Last night, the Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series.  The media celebrates the Cinderella “From Worst to First” baseball story; the players celebrate the fans and the city; and the Team Manager, John Farrell, celebrates the players.

The Boston Marathon bombing was tragic and terrifying, yet the story that has unfolded as the Red Sox moved toward the pennant was anything but.  Winning a world championship in America’s game with a motley crew of bearded dudes and players who hail from Aruba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Japan, and all over the US sounds both incredible and a bit like Opening Day at Big Spring.

When it comes to describing the way the team worked together, the word that we keep hearing is “chemistry.”  I would argue that it should be “community.”  That is what these men have, and they have it because—from day one of spring training—they pushed themselves to be the best team they could be.  That is why they were incredibly fun to watch both during the season and in post-season play.  One could tell that they truly enjoyed each other.  From the beard pulling to the varied personnel executing key hits to the hilarious head butting on first base to their individual passion for the game, these men created community through tradition, ritual, irreverence, hard work, and their collective desire to support one another.  It was this community which carried them through mishaps, errors, and challenges into first place in the American League…and now, into history as the 2013 World Series champions.

Why, as a nation, are we so enamored?  Why do we love this 95-years-in-the-making story so much?

Because, at our cores, we understand that community and a sense of belonging makes us more responsible and caring.  Because we understand that supporting one another when times are tough, or tragic, is more important than our individual day-to-day stressors.  Because we understand that community can, and should, include people from all over the world who are invested in a common purpose.  Because we need to see grit and quality character modeled regularly so we can internalize and realize our own authentic selves.  Because we love the inside jokes, the fun, the joy, and the playfulness of people who don’t take themselves too seriously and simply love the game.  Because we appreciate giving, respectful, model leaders who have the class to recognize and applaud the fierce strength of their opponents before the press corps can ask a single question about their victory.  Because we want to see perseverance, effort, trust and unselfish teamwork be rewarded.  And all of this because we want to root for the underdog.

At one point in our lives, each of us was an underdog.  And many of us were, and are, fortunate enough to have a community of unique individuals that celebrated our mundane, sublime, monumental and ridiculous accomplishments.  We often find ourselves at our most “underdog” moments when we feel powerless, voiceless, unmoored and lost.  For some, that might have been in middle school, for others—right now.  Yet, when we found—or find– “our people” “our community” “our place”—suddenly we had and have the support to be more confident, strong and directed.

Community.  That is both the lesson and legacy of the 2013 Boston Red Sox and the realized vision of Laura and Sandy Sanborn: when we can come together, connect face-to-face, overcome obstacles and simply play…amazing things will happen.

Congratulations, Boston.  Thanks for modeling one heck-of-a-fun sense of community.

~Ariella Rogge

Disclaimer:  The opinions (and overt team support) expressed in this blog post belong to the author who wrote the blog post and don’t necessarily reflect the views (or preferred team/teams) of the organization and its members(We love you, too, St. Louis)

Winter Is Here…What Do We Do?

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Fly-tying during Stalking Education in the Wild 2012

There are two questions a camp director dreads: 1. Why does toilet in Kinnikinnik look like a Yellowstone geyser? 2. What do you DO in the winter?

Both questions require thoughtful responses (but the first question might also require a plunger and a biohazard suit).  Beyond hiring the 120 broadly talented seasonal staff members, recruiting 600 unique and fantastic campers, connecting with our alums, designing new programs like the Sanborn Semester, organizing mission-centric educational opportunities like Stalking Education in the Wild or our annual No Child Left Inside Family Fun Day, hosting the ACA Rocky Mountain Section regional conference, sending birthday cards (over 10,000 annually), and operating The Nature Place and High Trails Outdoor Education Center, we are committed leaders and educators in the field of youth development and in the camp profession.

As the culture shifts, camp is taking its rightful role as an important component in the year round education of every child.  COEC Board Member Rod Lucero said in a recent article in Camping Magazine, “One concept that emerges from most every camp activity schedule is the idea of “fun.” While “fun for fun’s sake” is a worthy goal, I would contend that fun with an articulated focus on education transcends the camp experience and extends to the pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade classrooms.”  Sandy and Laura Sanborn believed in “fun and adventure with a purpose.” And we, like Rod, believe that “the purpose is education, and as the camp has evolved and grown, this mantra has remained fundamental to every aspect of the good work being done there.”

One of the 101 Nature Activities: Find a Tree Hike

Everything begins at home and we are committed to professional development of our year round and seasonal staff.  Through conferences, training sessions, and skill development workshops, our staff not only represents a seasoned group of camp professionals, we actually lead, teach, and design many training sessions for others in the camp community.

The National Convention of the American Camp Association was held in Atlanta in mid-February, and we participated in full force.  Executive Director, Jane Sanborn, was the program chairperson for this year’s conference (as well as for the upcoming 2013 National Conference in Dallas, TX) and worked on an outstanding educational program for many months.  Chris, Elizabeth, and Ariella led educational sessions at the conference. Mike, as President of the Rocky Mountain Region of the American Camp Association, participated in all of the leadership events held at the conference. COEC Board member Rod Lucero presented one of the keynote addresses, and Julie, David, and Carlotta attended the conference.

Additionally, Jane, Elizabeth, and Ariella have written curricula and participated as webinar panel experts for the ACA’s e-Institute.  The ACA just released a 15 hour online Certificate of Added Qualification for Middle Managers, and Ariella was one of the four writers of the curriculum.  Jane is the chair of the ACA’s Children, Nature and Camps Committee and co-authored the best-selling, “101 Nature Activities for Kids” with Elizabeth.

Then there is the hard skill training: BC is a AMGA (American Mountain Guide Association) Certified Top and Bottom Managers and supervise our rock-climbing staff; we train using the most current ACCT Ropes Course certification model; all of our summer trip leaders have WMI/NOLS Wilderness First Aid certification; we have an on-site Red Cross Lifeguard course; we require our peer supervisors (ridge leaders, wranglers, kitchen coordinators) to attend a specialized Supervisor Workshop; and all of our trip leaders go through a comprehensive Trip Leader and 15 Passenger Van Driver Training…plus all staff are certified in CPR and Standard First Aid and participate in our 10 day Staff Week training. This training includes everything from the latest in youth development research to experiential teaching techniques.  Whew!

Winter=Time to Turn Our BIG Dreams into Reality!

We are invested in the experience and our own continued growth and development.  We are actively involved in building a more professional camp and educational experience for ALL children through our staff development and the variety of outreach and educational sessions we lead.

This is a big part of our “purpose” and it is one we take pride in.   And with Jane repeating as program chair for the 2013 American Camp Association National Conference, we will continue to take a professional lead in the camping and youth development industry.

So we actually do work in the wintertime…maybe that is why summer is so darn incredible!

Sanborn Summer Staff: True Professionals

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Mentor, Leader, Youth Development Professional

There has been quite a bit of buzz about camps recently. The New York Times ran a number of articles in its Motherlode parenting blog over the weekend. In one, Dan Fleshler doubts the resume building value of working as a camp counselor, and in the other, Michael Thompson extolls the benefits of having college-aged camp counselors who can “out-parent” parents. Finally, KJ Dell’Antonia struggles as a new-to-camp, first-time camp parent who wonders, “Is It Too Late to Send Myself to Camp?

All of these articles speak to the education and human development that occurs at camp. The campers grow, the staff grow. The American Camp Association has detailed the 13 Core Competencies that camp staff members will develop while they work at camp.

As a camp counselor, you will gain professional skills that are applicable to many future careers. Staff learn skills that enhance Youth and Adult Growth and Development. They are exposed to and design different Learning Environments and Curricula. Program Planning allows counselors room for creativity, innovation, and developing advanced organization and teaching skills. Counselors learn how to Observe, Assess, and Evaluate the efficacy of their teaching and counseling skills. They develop Professionalism and Leadership by working with career camp staffers who truly understand the larger place of camp in the “whole education” of every child. Young counselors recognize the value of Health and Wellness for both themselves, campers and within the creation of work/life balance. Staff members practice Risk Management–in urban, rural and extreme outdoor environments. Cultural Competence allows staff to develop respect for, an understanding of and for ALL people, no matter what their background. Counselors make connections with Families and Communities that provide the opportunity to expand their own networks as well as help them see the positive impact of their job. Children and adults who have positive experiences with Nature and Environment are happier, healthier and smarter…and ALL of our camp counselors are nature counselors. Sanborn has incredibly progressive Business Management and Practices and policies, and many senior staff have the opportunity to manage other staff members and receive professional training on business leadership and management. At camp, Human Resources Management doesn’t stop after counselors are hired…counselors are given regular formal and informal feedback about their strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement so they can improve immediately and transfer those improvements to the campers. Camp staff also engage in Site and Facilities Management while they are responsible for the upkeep and care of expensive camping equipment, camp vehicles, and the overall care of the facilities…plus they are teaching campers how to care for those things, too.

Building an ‘Outdoor Nation’

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

So there’s this guy named Richard Louv. Not sure if you’ve heard of him.

Not only did Louv create a network of nature enthused people, aptly named the Children & Nature Network, but his book, The Last Child in the Woods, also sparked this neat little political campaign called Outdoor Nation.

In June 2010, with the help of various nationwide conservation groups, outdoor educators, and some super sweet retailers, more than 500 delegates met in Central Park, New York City, to come up with ways to break down barriers to the outdoors and come up with more ways to get kids outside.

There they drafted a declaration for youth, for outdoor educators, heck, for anyone who ever wants to enjoy the outdoors and protect its future in the States.

So without further adieu, here’s what they came up with:

For the first time in U.S. history, more than 500 youth have risen together to address the growing disconnect between young people and the outdoors.

We are leaders and we are diverse. Therein lies our strength.

We come from the city, suburbs, and the country – from coast to coast.

We are the pioneers of the outdoor revolution. Our unified voice shouts that everyone has the right to access and enjoy America’s great outdoors.

America is in a current state of crisis where its youth are choosing technology over nature, Xboxes over healthy lifestyles. Green spaces in urban areas are either unsafe or non-existent. Families, schools, and media have failed to engage and excite youth about the benefits of the outdoors.

To confront these and other barriers, we commit the Outdoor Nation to:

  • Engage all of America’s youth in the outdoors and … move the outdoors to the inner city and the inner city to the outdoors. create safe places to be outdoors and a green spaces to call our own.
  • Work with communities to provide … clean outdoor spaces, free Outdoor events, safe urban areas for recreation, and local role models.
  • Create outdoor jobs through … local community projects like revitalization, spreading awareness of job and training opportunities, and securing the funding of that training.
  • Partner with schools to encourage … environmental literacy curriculum, scholarships for outdoor mentors, service learning, and well-funded after school programs and field trips.
  • Advocate to our local, state, and national governments to … increase public/private partnerships, more effectively manage existing resources for outdoor experiences, and create a culture that places a priority on the outdoors.
  • Inspire volunteerism and service learning that … utilizes social media tools, cell phone applications, and advanced web based information systems to engage our technology driven generation.

We are innovative, entrepreneurial, and committed to continuously improve and fund our initiatives.

We are determined to act on our ideas year-round, year after year, and the annual Outdoor Youth Summit will be the gathering place for Our Nation.

Now is the time to amplify our energy, momentum, and power to impact our neighborhoods, boroughs, cities and towns, and to make a lasting impression on our Outdoor Nation for generations to come.

We are mobilizing and empowering today’s youth because we are the leaders of today’s youth.

We can and will make a real, measurable difference.

We are taking a stand. We are united together as a movement. We are Outdoor Nation…

I know, pretty bold.

I was lucky enough and oh so happy to attend the Denver summit last summer when I worked for Mile High Youth Corps (shameless plug). There we were able to draft a set of rights and responsibilities as outdoor educators to present (in the near future? not sure …) to the Obama Administration. I also won a pretty sweet pair of Merrell tennis shoes, but that’s neither here nor there.

Taking it a step beyond, some delegates have the opportunity to take the conversation over to Washington D.C. to meet with Members of Congress to chat about our natural resources, investments and make sure that our youth have a say in the future of our great outdoors.

Check out some of the 2012 dates and other ON opportunities they have been cooking up this winter, and be a part of the movement.

See you in 2013 for the Florissant Summit (fingers crossed).

The Happy Wanderer(s) — Jeff Joyce & Stacy Robinson

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

As much as Jeff and Stacey loved the four-a-week hoedowns at HTOEC, it was time to move along.

Since last fall, the two moved back east to Harrisonburg, Virginia. Stacey began working for the VA hospital as a case manager with a program called “Hand-in Hand.”

Jeff has been working “like a mad-man,” Stacey told me, launching a number of food trucks in northern Virginia. Jeff has three trucks ready to launch by St. Patrick’s Day.

“We just hired a General Manager who is creating the menu and spends his days making food for the first truck – drum roll please … its going to be a chili and mac-n-cheese truck!” Stacey said. “We eat our body weight in mac-n-cheese tasting all the different variations.”

Ahem … commence Chili Dance.

They hope to have 49 trucks (whoa!) over the course of the next few years. And even though it’s a lot of work, they’re excited to embark a creative endeavor.

So what else goes on in rural Harrisonburg? Well …

“Outside that, we have been training for the Shenandoah 100 miler!” Stacey said. “It’s a 100-mile mountain bike race that just very well may be the end of us. It’s in September, so we got some time to beef up and get ready.”

Oh yeah. Almost forgot.

Jeff and Stacey will be getting married on June 9! We shall keep you posted on the two’s big day.

Until then, hands up, chili chili.

(This is part two of a series entitled, “The Happy Wanderer,” which explores what interesting things our Sanborn alum are doing these days.)







ACA Conference

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Last week 10 of us ventured to Atlanta for the ACA National Conference. The overall theme of the conference

Jane Sanborn and her entourage!

was Convergence: Vision, Learning, Innovation. This was an exciting opportunity for our staff to continue our professional development as youth and outdoor educators and camp professionals. And it was a great week! Our very own Jane Sanborn was the conference program chair. She and the conference team lined up wonderful session and keynote speakers, fun night programs, and a variety of exhibitors for the exhibit hall.  We were all able to go to a variety of educational sessions presented by child development and camp professionals – sessions that emphasized the importance of what we do best: provide exceptional outdoor experiences for children. We were able to network with other camp professionals. We left energized and motivated for the summer! It is fun for us to come back and share all that we have learned with each other and start incorporating new ideas into our summer and school weeks programs.

We had great keynote speakers including, Dr. Christine Carter (author of Raising Happiness), Richard Louv, Sanborn alum, Rod Lucero, and Niambi Jaha-Echols. Each speech was relevant to and encouraging of what we do at camp.

Dr. Carter started the week sharing the importance of teaching and cultivating life skills such as gratitude, kindness, and growth campers – all things that we know about and do at camp! Dr. Carter is a strong believer of Growth Mindset – the belief that someone is successful due to hard work and effort, as well as innate ability. At camp, it is important to us that campers are challenged to try new things and encouraged through the process. We believe that campers and staff can grow and learn from our trips and activities. Being able to try new things is one of the great things about camp and campers having the ability to choose their own trips and activities.

Richard Louv emphasized the role camps play in continuing to get children outside. In his speech he told us how he was jealous of his friend who left Kansas every summer to go to camp…specifically, his friend left Kansas and spent his summers at Sanborn. He spoke of the growing importance of camp and getting outside, as our world becomes more technology-driven.

Rod Lucero helped us better understand the importance of camps continuing the education from schools. Relevance, Rigor, and Relationships are the foundation of education, and according to Lucero, without them, reading, writing, and arithmetic don’t matter. At camp, we help make education relevant. The foundation of Sanborn is education. We continue to learn and pass our knowledge on to all Colorado Outdoor Education Center participants.

Niambi Jaha-Echols provided us with an inspiring and humorous closing session. According to Jaha-Echols, camp provides us the opportunities to transform into new beings – from caterpillars to butterflies. It is important to us that we provide campers with the space and support to understand and grow into the people they are supposed to be. We are lucky to have 6,000 acres, amazing counselors, and a great variety of trips and activities to help all campers grow as individuals into butterflies.

We look forward to continuing to share our learnings with you and incorporate them into our 2012 summer.







The Happy Wanderer — Falcon Craft-Rubio

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

(This is part one of a series entitled, “The Happy Wanderer,” which explores what interesting things our Sanborn alum are doing these days.)

Our fellow Big Spring Warrior, HTOEC teacher, and Art Barn extraordinaire, Falcon Craft-Rubio, headed back to Texas this winter and began an interesting creative company with his family called Bexar Goods Co..
Check out this video where, yes indeed, that’s Falcon hammering away:
I was able to get a hold of this busy bee recently, and he gave me some good perspective on not only his business model, but how Sanborn helped pave the way:

David: This is such an interesting creative field to move into–how excited are you about everything that’s going on? How has this changed things for you?
Falcon: Its an exciting new adventure. It’s been a learning experience. I’ve had a lot of fun designing and becoming more familiar with hand-crafted goods.  We all have enjoyed each step of starting Bexar Goods Co.
D: So how did the whole Bexar operation begin? Out of a dream? Out of the BS craft shop?
F: Bexar Goods was inspired by rugged classic designs . The initial idea was to start with a quality made wallet or bag.  Then expanding on that idea of well made durable products. Bexar Goods is different from a lot because of the quality and promise of our products. We are not a trend based company. Bexar Goods started to create products we wanted to use ourselves. For the active, rugged and adventurous man.
D: What’s been your role thus far, and has this been an entirely new thing for you, and/or what’s been a challenge in starting a whole company?
F: Bexar Goods Co is a collaborative operation along with Christian Craft (brother) and Guy Rubio (cousin).  We equally have had input and creative leadership on each of our diverse products.   Creatively we had no outside help, it was all in the family. We first started with the concept and mission.  Then we created our makers mark that prompted our product and website design. Each Bexar Goods design is an overall group effort to insure that the vision is executed to meet our standards.  What’s great about Bexar Goods is that we build off of each other. I might have an idea for a new product and both Christian and Guy will build on it to make it better.  I work specifically as the one of the craftsman, stitching our carry goods.  As well as designing new products.
D: Where did the name “Bexar” (pronounced “bear”, correct?) come from? And how did it all begin, basically?
F: Its the county we live in. Also has multiple meanings and true to the origin, Bear, Bare, and Bexar. Natural, raw and where we are from.
D: Are there any ideas/skills/dreams that came from Sanborn? Or was this something you started to dream up before you came/in the off months of camp?
F: Sanborn Western Camps is an inspiring place itself and teaches a lot of self discovery and encourages people, young and old to grow and learn about the outdoors. Bexar Goods is a company based on these same principles. We don’t have limitations, we are free to grow in any which way we desire.
D: What makes your company different from anything else out there? (product-wise, materials, vision/mission)
F: Bexar Goods Co. is quality hand-made products that instills the ideas of proud local products that a lot of the bigger corporations claim but not necessarily execute correctly.  Bexar Goods promises each product is individualistic, and built to be handed to the next generation.  The materials we use are of the highest quality and bought locally in America.
D: Would your product outlast a 5-day horse trip/a summer at camp / hail, lightening, hellstorm-proof?
F: Well only if Claude approves. Flashy might put our products to the test.
D: Where do you see yourselves at the end of 2012?
F: We would like to continue making the highest quality products and striving to improve and being well-respected.
D: Do you all make Ella-size (Ryan & Ashley’s) baby tote bags/baby bjorns (Christmas idea)?
F: She can have anything she wants.
D: Anything you would like all your campers (fans) to know?
F: I Zigga Zumba.
D: Any other thoughts on Bexar for now?
F: We wanted to thank Sanborn for supporting our small family business and for being that special place where people can continue to learn and exceed expectations. Thank you for everything , Falcon Craft-Rubio.

Improvements in All Areas

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Living at camp during the winter is quite an experience. Sometimes it’s quiet, and sometimes it’s cold. I have come to appreciate these times, and I still get amazed at the way the community can come together and pull me back in after I’ve been on my own.

Building community is one of the four big goals for all programs at Sanborn, and today I better understood why we are so successful in this area: we have a rock-solid community of core year-round staff and support staff.

Creative Cuisine!

As a way to continue to improve all areas of our programs, we held the first ‘Creative Cuisine’ lunch today at The Nature Place. The idea was developed by Shavano, one of the head cooks at The Nature Place, and entailed a potluck meal involving all winter staff and support staff. We gathered for lunch, with everyone bringing a dish that could be used to expand and diversify the menu options of the kitchens.

As you can imagine, we enjoyed food of all varieties – salads, appetizers, casseroles, soups, and amazing desserts. I wish I could share the tastes I experienced – I’m still stuffed as I write this.

Creative Cuisine definitely brought out a new array of options for our cooks, but it’s the experience of the lunch that I’m still digesting. After a few months of working on my own projects in and around the office, I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed getting to reconnect with the great people that work together in so many different areas for this great organization. Cooks, laundresses, maintenance staff, office staff, summer camp folks – so many people that I haven’t seen as much this winter.

A potential new dessert - YUM!

I was reminded of why we all love to work at Sanborn – it is a home for everyone that comes through. Our community stretches across generations, across the world. Every person that is touched by being here can remember this community. You can take comfort in the knowledge that the next time you come to Sanborn, we will have some great new meals. More importantly, though, we will still be the community you were a part of, and we’ll pull you back in too.

How Long Is Your Shadow?

Monday, February 6th, 2012

How long is your shadow?

“How long is the shadow of your leadership?” A recent article in the ACA’s Camping Magazine includes an article by Kerry Plemmons, a clinical professor at Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver. The basis of the article is that camp is good for everyone. Plemmons and fellow professors bring students from DU’s business school to The Nature Place for a weekend early in their graduate school careers to help teach the students the leadership skills necessary to be successful business men and women.

The relationship between Daniels and The Nature Place started in 1990 when Rob Jolly and Sandy Sanborn approached Daniels with the idea of experiential leadership. As part of the 10th Mountain Division, Sandy saw the importance of strong leadership in challenging situations. He saw how organizations could be successful with a flat structure. He saw the long-term benefits of leadership opportunities in students of all ages. During the summer, we offer a Peaks to Performance curriculum where campers can partake in SOLE and CORE in 8th and 9th grade, respectively and are able to be Junior Counselors and Outbackers in 10th grade. We put into practice the beliefs that Sandy felt so important with campers:

  • Individual development: self confidence, virtue & courage, sense of self, leadership roles & styles, establishing trust
  • Team development: working with a team, encouraging & helping others, interdependency, membership and followership
  • Problem solving: managing others, creativity & innovation, environmental awareness

These are the same skills that DU business students develop and practice during a three-day weekend. As Plemmons points out, it is easy and fun to talk about leadership, ethics, and values in a classroom, but it is not until the skills can be put into practice that individuals are challenged, motivated, and successful at implementing personal change. Campers are challenged during the summer in a safe and supervised environment. Counselors are prepared to help campers work together and challenge themselves individually.

Daniels students are taught “the Shadow of Leadership” – we practice leadership skills modeled by others, and those skills

Working together on a plan

are hopefully passed onto other people we interact with; and ideally the shadow of good leadership continues to grow. Plemmons explains, “When you think of bad leadership, the influence of that person leaves as soon as the physical shadow is gone…Good leadership is able to influence people across boundaries of time and space through empowerment.” This is our goal for every participant (from the young camper, to the DU graduate student, to the corporate business person) who comes through the Colorado Outdoor Education Center – to be in the shadow of positive leadership and help that shadow grow.

It is important to us to keep asking, “How will you build capacity in others in a manner that lengthens the shadow of your leadership?”