A lone water bottle (without a name) has been sitting on the back porch of the Big Spring Office for the past two weeks. I first noticed it just before dawn on Closing Day and have been watching it ever since. I should pick it up and send it through the dish machine and put it in the great pile of anonymous water bottles we keep around to loan to future campers. But I haven’t moved it, because in some small way, that water bottle reminds me of the great summer we just experienced.
Who knows where that water bottle has been? Did it sustain its owner on a climb to the summits of Mt. Elbert and Massive? Or did it travel to the Puma Hills in a saddlebag? Did it sit beside its owner at Sunday Rocks or backpack along the Colorado Trail?
That’s the way it is with Lost and Found.
Even though all the campers and staff (and most of their stuff) left on Closing Day, we continue to find physical reminders throughout the year, and often they make us smile. How did that baseballcap get on the roof of Ponderosa? Whose sierra cup is underneath the sink at the Big Spring Chalet? Why is there a dirty t-shirt under the driver’s seat in Van 106? When did the single Chaco get left in the High Trails Pool House (and did its owner even miss it?) Many, many minor mysteries.
I sometimes wonder if there is a sock somewhere, hidden in some forgotten nook, from each year of camp. We found a few of them when we tore down the tents on HKL Ridge and built new ones. Unfortunately Carbon 14 dating did not work, and, in our experience a sock which may have been left in 1960 looks much like a sock left in 2008 after a year or two. So we’ll never know…But, to be honest, with the remarkable number of single socks we do find on Closing Day and during the weeks following, odds are really good that there is at least one we have missed every year. We did find a couple of really ancient towels when we renovated the STUW Ridge washhouse a few years back. They were so disgusting that even Jerry did not want to keep them as an historical display. And speaking of washhouses, we always find a lot of shampoo, shower gel, and toothpaste on the day after camp. It is the unopened ones that worry me.
And so the Cycle of Camp continues. Campers come and campers go, but most of them leave something to remind us of their presence—water bottle, sierra cup, sock, toothpaste. And it all brings back great memories.
Taken from this month’s Alum E-News.
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It is much too quiet around camp since second term campers left on August 14. The fields, hills, and lodges are filled with great memories from the summer of 2011, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to spend this time with so many outstanding campers and staff.
One of our tasks during the weeks following camp is to collect and distribute all the lost and found items. We have mailed every major article from High Trails which has a name to the owner. Big Spring items have been mailed more recently so they may still be in the mail. We still have some jackets, boots, and other items of clothing which do not have names. Please let us know if your camper is missing something and we will do everything we can to track it down and send it to you.
Our outdoor education program staff arrives today and we will begin welcoming sixth graders to High Trails Outdoor Education Center on September 13. Among the staff who will be returning to teach during this program are wranglers Jenny Hartman and Lacey Ellingson, High Trails ridge leaders Stacey Robinson and Lela Payne and Camp Trip Leader/Photographer Jessie Spehar. Big Spring staff from the summer of 2011 include Ian Stafford, Zach Schoenfelt, Kevin Robinson, Jackson Blackburn, Falcon Craft and Adam Beard. Andrew Jones will return from the summer of 2010. Chris Tholl, Carlotta Avery and Chris “BC” Miller McLemore direct the program; they are assisted by camp leaders Elizabeth Rundle and Ryan and Ashley McGowan.
We have several exciting events this Fall in addition to our traditional schedule. On September 9, September 18-19 and October 6-8 we will be providing leadership training for students from several different area high schools. We have developed this outstanding program over the past few years and are always excited to work with these motivated teens. On September 10-11, we will be partnering with the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument as part of the National Park Foundation’s America’s Best Idea to provide a fun nature-based experience for the families of soldiers who are serving abroad. And on September 24, we will again join with the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument to celebrate “No Child Left Inside Day” by hosting an open house. We will be offering a program of nature-based activities and hikes for families who would like to get their children outdoors for the day. There is no cost for the event.
On October 13-16, we are excited to host a Reunion for camp alums. We’ll be hiking, riding, climbing mountains, biking, rock climbing, relaxing and reconnecting. This Reunion is also special because we’ll be celebrating the successful conclusion of our Sanborn 60 Capital Campaign.
We are already thinking about next summer and have established our dates. The first term at Big Spring and High Trails will be Sunday, June 10 – Tuesday, July 10, 2012. The second term will be Friday, July 13 – Sunday, August 12. The four terms of Sanborn Junior will be June 10 – June 24, June 26– July 10, July 13 – July 27, and July 29 – August 12. We have sent this information to current camp families and will send additional information in October to camp families, former camp families, and prospective camp families. If you would like to receive our catalog and DVD or know someone who would, we will be happy to mail them at any time.
Each month we will post news from camp and photos from the summer of 2011 on the website, so keep checking it out! Right now, a few gold leaves are showing on the Aspen, and the sky is incredibly blue. A large herd of elk is hanging out at Potts Spring and the horses are wondering why no one comes each day to ride them. We wish all of our camp friends a great beginning to the school year and hope that everyone will keep in touch.
As the program director at High Trails, each summer I am energized by the creativity and motivation of the collected group of staff members who return or are brand new each and every summer. Their ideas for both in and out of camp programming are as varied and nuanced as each individual at camp.
During a program interview prior to camp, I will ask staff about their “secret nerd hobbies” and their “passion areas.” These are often jumping off points for many creative activities we share with campers. Maybe a staff member knows how to crochet, or he is a campfire culinary master, or she is just really into Harry Potter. By immediately trying to integrate our staffs’ interests into the summer program offerings, we are harnessing their creativity and creating buy-in for the creative, inspirational community culture of camp.
Additionally, once our staff are familiar with the day to day camp schedule, we regularly solicit new ideas for activities and trips to add variety and richness to our program offerings. This inspires others to “think big” and also creates an opportunity for positive reinforcement that benefits the entire organization.
“Add a dose of trust and positive reinforcement”
Look out! It's Mystique on the Move!
This summer at camp, overnights and trips like The Pirate Overnight, The Yoga/Horse Five Day, The Ghost Hunter Overnight, The Locavore All Day, and The Assault on Mt. Doom (formerly known as The Pikes Peak Bomber), made for memorable, creative, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences for the campers and staff on the trips. Themed hikes featuring X-Men adventures, 80’s attire, fairies, and Ninja hijinks were both new on sign-up sheets—and full of the creative spirit of the staff whose idea inspired the activity. Nature activities like PoeTREE and Guerilla Art were both unique and enhanced the campers’ Sense of the Earth, while The Junkyard Art All Day will, undoubtedly, be the catalyst for the next generation of Burning Man artists. The newly created “Costume Class” competition during 2nd Session’s Gymkhana was a fantastic addition to a long-standing tradition, while our traditional ceramics program was a hit for many of the campers—with some of the pieces they created out on overnights being glazed and fired for an end of camp show that was enjoyed by the whole community.
We don’t always know how a new trip or activity will work out. And sometimes they DON’T work. Yet as an organization we trust the efficacy of the entire experience because that type of experiential, creative learning is enormously beneficial for both campers and staff. Campers provide real-time feedback to adults, often directly “challenging the process” and “inspiring a shared vision”, while staff members are able to analyze their triumphs and potential missteps in a supportive, creative community environment where feedback is often solicited as much as it is given…because personal success should be celebrated.
“Motivate with autonomy”
Yoga on Horses
What should one do on Xanni and Grace’s Rugby and Parkour Adventure Hike? Whatever Grace and Xanni decide to do. In this case, campers did a lot of running around, jumping off/over/around rocks/bushes/trees, and practicing the fine art of “scrumming”—all while hanging out with a couple of REALLY OUTSTANDING female role models.
Utilizing the talents, interest areas, and latent creativity of staff members allows for autonomous professional and personal growth. Even if staff members don’t necessarily know what the heck “Treehouse Madness, Fairy House Building, and Cloud Watching” might be, they have to craft an activity that is fun, campercentric, and fulfills the mission in some way. This also helps them create opportunities for camper excitement, ownership, and autonomy because the campers themselves often have great ideas about where to build the best fairy houses, what to do at the treehouse, and which valleys/high points have the best cloud watching potential.
Autonomy can be terrifying: “What if I mess up? What if this doesn’t work out? What if it does? What will people think? How will I feel?” Yet in the camp environment, campers and staff ask themselves versions of these questions every day. By making independent choices and dealing with the real time outcomes, our campers and staff develop stronger, authentic selves.
In our camp environment, like the larger Burning Man community, there simply isn’t room or time for micromanagement. The mission and community shape the camp culture; the people and the 6,000 acres of space create the unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience we share each and every summer.
“Reward people with appreciation rather than money”
Junkyard Art All Day Adventures
People don’t often get rich through creative expression alone…and we also know they don’t get rich working as summer camp counselors. Yet the value of the experience IS truly multi-faceted: an enhanced confidence in one’s own creative ability, the recognition found in self-expression in a community, and the freedom to learn, grow, and challenge oneself to create something unique that positively impacts the campers and their camp experience.
I truly appreciate the creative efforts and inspired thinking of our Sanborn staff members…and I challenge any and all of the participants of Burning Man to see if they can sustain and maintain their creativity for the duration of a summer camp contract…you do remarkably great things in the desert for seven days, but our staff do AMAZING things for 72 days.
Camp has sadly come to an end for the summer of 2011. Things are very quiet at Big Spring and High Trails! While we are already looking forward to next summer, we want to share a few more stories from this summer…
Today we went horseback riding. We all put on our jeans and boots and walked to the barn. First we talked to our wrangler about how to saddle our horses before our ride. The sun was blazing hot, but luckily we all finished saddling quickly. My horse was named Popcorn. She is dark brown and pretty tall. We walked through all the pretty trees and mountains. At about noon we stopped for lunch. YUM! We tied our horses to trees and enjoyed a delicious meal. Turkey sandwiches and fruit. After we ate, we got back on our horses and started to head back to camp. On the way back we took a different trail and saw colorful flowers and lots of trees. After an all-day ride, we got back to the barn and untacked our horses. This was probably the best horseback riding trip ever all because of SANBORN!!
One day early in the morning we got up and dressed to go on our all-day horse ride. It was really fun! When we got to the barn I looked on the sheet and I got Rafter. Rafter was a tall horse. He was really sweet and listened to everything I told him to do, and he loved to trot fast. I loved him so much. When we got back, we put the horses in the pen. Rafter dropped on the ground and started to roll in the dirt. I said “Rafter I just brushed you” and he just looked up at me, stood up, and came up to the fence and licked my hands.
There are lots of fun things to do at Sanborn. The fun thing I just did was the Artsy Overnight. It is a hike to Tie Cabin and we make art. It took us about twenty minutes to get ready with our backpacks full of food and tents. And then we were ready to go. It took about two hours to get there and set up our tents. Then we started to draw, make key chains, rock necklaces, and so much more. The day went by so fast. It was time to go to bed. I was sad to leave the fun things that we were doing, but I knew that a bunch more fun things await me and my campmates!
We just got back from our very fun overnight, the Artsy Overnight. When we got back, we went to outcamp to wash dishes and put away the food. We had a delicious lunch of hamburgers, french fries, and root beer floats. We met at the lodge for our afternoon activities – I chose blogging. I know we are going to be very sad to leave our new friends we made at Sanborn. But most of us are coming back for another summer of fun!
CORE (Community OutReach Experience) Horse was a very educational, growth encouraging, and fun-filled experience for me. A lot of people think riding a horse is very simple. But it takes a lot more work than just sitting in a saddle and pushing the horse forward. My group learned things from how to scoop manure to how to do Key Hole in gymkhana. You learn how to face your fears of riding bareback on a horse and how to communicate with your horse through your body, not just your actions. We learned how everyday wranglers, like Jessie, Will O., and Maren, wake up at 5am to feed and pull horses for us campers throughout the day. And then they don’t get to sleep until 10pm. CORE is a great experience and I will never forget it. Thank you Sanborn!
Sanborn is the BEST camp ever! You meet lots of great people here and they are very nice to you. My favorite part of camp is the good. The chefs are amazing! And nice. The one thing that is great about this camp is that you get to choose almost everything you do here! I can’t wait to climb a 14er! The view is beautiful everywhere you go. There are trees everywhere! We follow a practice that is “Leave No Trace.” That basically means don’t litter, leave stuff behind, or carve your name into trees. I most certainly can’t wait for my 2nd year in 2012!
There are so many things to do at High Trails, and fishing is one of them! We went fishing and it was so much fun! We learned how to fish in 3 simple steps. Cast, reel, and viola! You probably have a fish. We used marshmallows as bait. There were a lot leftover, so we ate them. We heard that the boys caught a 19in fish in the pond, so we were hopeful! In the end, everybody had caught something – reed, sticks, themselves. Overall everybody enjoyed themselves and were full of marshmallows!
I am a junior at HIgh Trails, but I wish I were here for a month because it is so much fun here. One of my favorite things is the horseback riding, which I absolutely love, but everything at Sanborn is fantastic so I’m not picking favorites! Today we came back from our last overnight at Tie Cabin, which was awesome. It’s amazing that eleven days have done by because it feels like two days. I am definitely coming back to Sanborn!!!
We have had another great week at camp. Rainy evenings have not dampened our spirits and the sunny days have been perfect for our many activities and trips. This morning’s gymkhana was a real highlight—riders from Big Spring and High Trails competed in horseback games in the arena and everyone from both camps cheered them on. Saturday night’s dance with a Western Hoedown theme was also a lot of fun.
Long trips at High Trails returned Thursday and Friday enthusiastic about their adventures and accomplishments. The four-day Elbert-Massive Backpack climbed Colorado’s two tallest mountains, 14,433’ Mt Elbert and 14,421’ Mt Massive. The five-day Colorado Trail Backpack hiked along the spectacular Continental Divide and summited 14,073’ Mt. Columbia on the fourth day. The five-day Harvard-Yale Backpack hiked in the beautiful Collegiate Peaks and climbed Mt. Harvard (14,420’) in the same day. The Kite Lake three-day climbed 14, 148’ Mt. Democrat on Wednesday and the Alpine Valley 3-day trip reached the top of 14,036’ Mt. Sherman. Backpack trips into the Tarryall Mountains, and Mt. Silverheels enjoyed spectacular scenery during their four days in the wilderness. The four- and five-day horse trips had great experiences exploring wilderness areas south and west of camp. All of the girls were excited about the beauty of their campsites and the fun they had together.
Big Spring campers enjoyed many exciting overnights and all-days last week including climbs of Mt. Huron, Mt. Princeton, La Plata Peak, and Mts. Oxford and Belford. The boys also had fun on horseback overnights, rock climbing overnights, river overnights, fishing trips, a canoe overnight, and several trips which camped out on the ranch.
The Sanborn Juniors have been enthusiastic and energetic about their activities this week. They have enjoyed horseback riding, swimming, crafts, hikes and nature programs at the Interbarn. Their group photos have been posted on the website with the tent and cabinside photos.
Next week, Big Spring will head out on three-, four-, and five-day backpacking trips, mountain climbs and horse-pack trips. High Trails has a variety of overnights and all-days planned including a trip to the resort town of Breckenridge on Thursday. Sanborn Junior campers are looking forward to another campout, more horseback riding, a hike to the Florissant Fossil Beds, and an all-day tubing trip on the South Platte River. The term is flying by and we plan to make the most of our last week together.
Would YOU be able to locate Humpty Dumpty Rock? Do you know where to find the ORIGINAL swimming pool at camp?
These are some of the questions that were asked on a recent “Camp History Scavenger Hunt” that based out of High Trails and meandered all over camp–allowing campers and staff to learn more about both the area’s western history and the legacy of Laura and Sandy Sanborn.
After picking the brains of an Original High Trails Camper (Julie Richardson) and locating one half of a Sanborn marriage (Maren MacDonald), the girls hiked to Big Springs to find Jerry McLain–our resident historian, current Director of Alumni Relations, and general know-it-all (in the most positive sense of the phrase). He told a few excellent stories from the original “dining hall” (the main room of the current Big Spring office, and the former dining room in Laura and Sandy’s original house) and told the ladies about the evolution of camp.
How would you have done? Check out the questions and the great photos the girls took on their scavenger hunt.
1. Find Humpty Dumpty Rock
2. Locate the place where a sit-in occurred to keep a pipeline from being constructed
3. Locate the original lodge
4. Find the original swimming pool
5. Identify a square of Laura’s quilt
6. Find a person who was a camper the first year of the girls camp
7. Find the two halves of a Sanborn marriage
8. Find the newest cabin at High Trails
9. Find the oldest camp building
10. What is the actual name of the “treehouse trail”
11. Which were the original four cabins at High Trails
12. Locate the original dining hall
13. Find someone who can tell you a story about Quicks Homestead or the Witcher Ranch
14. Locate the first tennis courts
15. Find the original “Leo’s”–the 1st auto maintenance shop
Ready for some answers? Check out the photos below and see if they trigger any memories…and right answers!
Humpty Dumpty Rock on the way to Sandy and Laura's house
Standing above the water pipeline...and down the trail from Old Boys Sunday Rocks
The Pool that became The Depot that became The Rock House
Quilt Made By Campers and Staff for Laura's 80th birthday
Many generations of High Trails Ladies
Ashley McGowan=Half of Camp Marriage #58
Ryan McGowan=The Other Half (these hats were actually worn at the wedding)
The Big Spring Barn: One of the two original buildings on camp property
Jerry McLain Parkway
The Original Four HT Cabins=Juniper, Ponderosa, Gold Hut and Kinnikinnik
Jerry and the girls in front of the Big Spring office: aka, the Original Dining Hall
The Original Tennis Court...now the Ultimate Prison Ball Court
The Chalet of Auto Maintenance: The two bays for cars have become a) Outcamp and b) The Tent Room
What a busy week we’ve had! Big Spring and High Trails had a wide variety of all-day and overnight trips both on and off the camp property. A number of campers chose overnight horse trips while others selected rock-climbing, canoeing, fishing or mountain climbing adventures. All-day trips included hikes to the Florissant Fossil Beds and to Pancake Rock, as well as tubing on the South Platte River and fishing. Some of our older campers signed up for the challenging SOLE (Sanborn Outdoor Learning Experience) and CORE (Community Outreach Experience) programs for the week. They were enthusiastic about their experiences and felt great about the service components of the trips.
Sanborn Junior campers also had a full week. High Trails Juniors were excited about their all-day hike to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. All the Juniors enjoyed a second camping trip and a wide variety of in-camp programming. We were sorry to see them leave on Friday.
We were happy to greet a new group of Sanborn Junior campers today and look forward to a campout, horseback riding, swimming, hiking, and many fun activities with them next week. The fourth term of Sanborn Junior living unit photos will be up on our website on Wednesday or Thursday this week.
Special events last week included the Sanborn Carnival for both camps on Saturday. This was followed by a theme dance. Big Spring spent Wednesday on a Unit All-Day where each living group selected an activity to do together—mountain biking, high ropes course, fishing, horseback riding, rock scrambling, etc. The boys also enjoyed a Kangaroo Court evening, and a “How Well Do You know Your Counselors” Game Show. A favorite evening program at both camps was the Counselor Hunt. High Trails also had fun with their “Minute to Win It” program on Friday.
CORE Horse Ambassadors clearing trees on SWC property
Next week the girls will leave camp for three-, four-, and five-day trips. Some will head out on horse pack trips; others have chosen 4 or 5-day high mountain backpacks into some of Colorado’s most pristine wilderness. Other trips will be based in spectacular alpine areas such as Leavick Valley at the base of Mt. Sherman and Kite Lake at the foot of Mt. Democrat. Many groups will have the opportunity to climb mountains.
Big Spring has planned an exciting program of overnights including mountain climbing trips to Mt. Princeton, Mt. Huron, La Plata Peak, and Mts. Oxford and Belford. The boys will also be tubing on the river, mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, canoeing, and enjoying some overnights on the ranch. BS long trips will take place the week of August 8.
Camp is like a home away from home. Every year is full of fun, adventure, and excitement. I have been with the same group of girls that now feel like family; I can be as crazy as I want to around them. Camps is also the only time I really get out into nature and no amount of technology can compensate for living with nature.
The Warrior Dash
The warrior dash was such a blast! We had all these different teams and challenges that we had to complete. These are just some of the things we got to do. First we went to the warrior sing and had to make up a song for our team. Next I went to the 4-story treehouse and had to save “King Arthur” by choosing the right silver cup. We tossed shrunken heads (water balloons) back and forth in front of the lodge.
Sanborn Camp is not about sitting around. Sanborn is about determination, courage, and responsibility. Sanborn is about getting in touch with nature, hiking the tallest mountains, riding a horse as fast as you can, and pushing yourself to the extreme! Sanborn is a new beginning and it never has an end. Sanborn camp is happiness, pure happiness.
In the world,
we get lost in the commonality
we forget to look for the beauty
we miss the glow of life
Then we come to nature and
we are afraid to look, love, listen
we are afraid that something might be perfect and true
we are terrified that something is real
That’s why together we can accept that
this might be what we’ve been searching for
this might open up our eyes to it all
Then we go back to the world
never to be the same.
Grab your towel, grab your goggles, bring your smile, and run to the pool. Cruise down the slide, and splash in the water. There’s so much to do at the POOL! Paddle around in the blow-up tubes! Use the noodles as any sea creatures. Adventure through the whole pool, there’s so much to do! You can play in the pool or out of the slide. I love the swimming pool! My favorite thing is to hang out in the sun and talk to my friends! Mis loves to go down the slide on a sleeping pad because it goes so fast! Addie loves to go down on a tube! I love the pool! There’s so much to do!
I was new at camp the year. When I came I was scared and got homesick. Then everything got better, everyone was really nice!! My counselors were nice too! One of my favorite activities is horseback riding! You get to learn how to put the saddle on and learn how to brush your horse. Skit night was fun. It’s where you and your cabin make up a skit and perform it and everybody at High Trails watches. I like singing songs here like “Rocky Mountain High.”
High Trails is like a second family to me. We all come here from different parts of the county and come from different backgrounds. But once we are surrounded by all of these beautiful mountains and trees and nature, none of that matters. Every new person is welcomed with hugs and smiling faces. And old friends are never forgotten. You are never bored because there are a variety of things to do. You can horseback ride, mountain bike, technical rock climb, rock scramble, swim, arts and crafts, and much more! High Trails gives me something to look forward to every summer and when it is over I know there are more girls enjoying the Rocky Mountain High.
High Trails at Sanborn Camps is a summer worth of fun. There is something for everyone. Horseback riding, drama, hiking, climbing, pottery, and so much more. Sanborn is a safe environment where kids can learn and grow in the outdoors. We welcome new campers with open arms. Sanborn has become a second home to some and hopefully to you too. Sanborn is an experience you do not want to miss. Have you ever heard the wind dance in the aspen leaves? Have you ever slept out under the stars? Have you climbed to the top of a mountain peak? Have you ever gone tubing down a river? We guarantee you will have a blast! Throughout the term you will learn new things, meet new people, and do things you may not have. I tried Sanborn and I know I am a better person for it. Sanborn is the camp to go to. We hope to see you here next summer!
It’s only the first week of Sanborn, and I can already tell you that walking uphill is A LOT easier. I’m sure by the end I will have gained so much muscle! Hiking a mountain will be a breeze. Then I will spend more time actually seeing the beauty of the Rockies. The hills gently roll, and the mountains…Oh the mountains! Last year when I was hiking up Quandry we got up at 3 in the morning. I can tell you it was well worth the early rise. In the light of the moon, the dew on the pines sparkles and glistened. It was probably one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen.
Not using technology was hard at first, but when you get to know how many things you can do without it, it gets easier. There is so much to do here, you really don’t have time for technology. If there’s anything to be said of Sanborn, it’s that you never get bored!
At Sanborn there are 2 sections. One is Big Spring, where the boys live. And I live at High Trails with the girls. It actually makes camp more enjoyable to be separate, you spend less time worrying about looks and boys and more time enjoying the outdoor experience. There are coed events where you get to see the boys. Best of both worlds!
Coming to Sanborn is a wonderful experience, and the people you meet always become your friends. It’s like a family away from family. Cliques don’t exist here. Everyone is there to help you out. If I could spend every summer here, I would say yes without even batting an eye.