Archive for the ‘Sanborn Western Camps’ Category

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

Social Responsibility

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Fun and Adventure in the Natural World

Here at Sanborn, we like to transcend norms. For example, we are passionate about getting kids outdoors, and we spread the word both in action and through our online connections. We have come to see the importance of an online presence because it can validate and educate others about what we do offline and at camp. We also truly enjoy having the year-round input and connection with our campers, staff, parents, and alums.

With that in mind, we encourage you to engage with us through your favorite social media platform. We currently are active on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest, and the Sanborn Blog.

Social media works in concert with our mission: To live together in the outdoors building a sense of self, a sense of community, a sense of the earth, and a sense of wonder through fun and adventure. Though we may only be living outdoors with others for 9 months of the year (during summer camp and outdoor ed), social media creates a year-round opportunity to build on our shared values…and exchange ideas, information, and insight that can educate beyond these 6,000 acres.

In order to maintain an authentic identity in the realm of social media, it is important that we do what we do best at camp: be ourselves, build community, practice good communication, be outstanding role models, represent our values and mission, be a leader, keep a good sense of humor, and – most of all – remember the importance of unplugging, getting out and playing in the natural world.


Like any social situation where there are group dynamics at play, the social media environment can be both overwhelming and empowering, expansive and intimate, calloused and understanding – and, because we are professionals when it comes to the development of social and emotional skills in people – we are at an advantage in the social media environment because we CARE about people…and we see the value of “playing” within the technologies that exist.

If you don’t use any of those platforms, let us know what you are using and what you like most about that social environment. In the summer, you want to be where we are–the rest of the year, we would like to be able to say “Howdy!” wherever you might be.

See you online!

Wordless Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Nature Based Children’s Books

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Our List of Great Nature-Based Children's Books on Pinterest

At camp, we love to read. As part of the American Camp Association’s Explore 30 reading program, Sanborn is building an outstanding library for our campers at both High Trails and Big Spring to encourage both independent reading and the long-held tradition of reading aloud in cabins, tents, and by the campfire.

We know reading inspires the imagination, enhances a sense of wonder, builds community, teaches life-skills, and limits summer-learning loss–much like the camp experience as a whole.  Books can take you to places you have never been, introduce you to creatures and people you have never met, and create environments and situations you have never imagined.  And, after reading a book, the story becomes part of you.

Thus it was a little discouraging as parents, educators, and advocates of the Children in Nature movement when we read the USA Today piece last week which detailed the loss of nature environments and themes in current children’s picture books. Researchers examined Caldecott Medal award winners and honorees from 1938 to 2008 and determined that, over the course of 80 years, children’s books are moving away from nature environments, themes and characters. According to the study:

•Early in the study period, built environments were the primary environments in about 35% of images. By the end of the study, they were primary environments about 55% of the time.

•Early in the study, natural environments were the primary environments about 40% of the time; by the end, the figure was roughly 25%.

As Richard Louv says this study demonstrates “a physical disassociation with the natural world.” He recognizes that “Nature experience isn’t a panacea, but it does help children and the rest of us on many levels of health and cognition. I believe that as parents learn more about the disconnect, they’ll want to seek more of that experience for their children, including the joy and wonder that nature has traditionally contributed to children’s literature.”

So to help you connect your kids to the outdoors through children’s literature, we have a Pinterest Board celebrating some of our favorites….and if you don’t see your favorite nature-based children’s book on the list–let us know and we will add it for you!

What are some of your favorite nature-inspired children’s books?

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

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!

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.

A few camper stories

Friday, February 17th, 2012

A few stories to send you into what is hopefully a good weekend for you…

Hi, I’m Daniela and I want to tell you about a great horseback riding experience! Here at Sanborn, they teach you everything about the horses and give you time to love them. There is time to appreciate and learn about them. The wranglers help you understand the horses and how horses understand your feelings. Horses teach you how that everything is possible! They give you a feeling of comfort, even though the horses are bigger than you. The horseback riding experience at Sanborn is unforgettable and you shouldn’t miss it!

I love horses! I ride English at home and compete in lots of horse shows. I really love to come to camp and ride Western. It is fun and relaxed and I still learn a lot. The wranglers are all really nice! I am able to sign up for lessons on Saturdays, go on a horse overnight, and different rides in the morning and afternoon. Even though it is a different type of riding, the wranglers help me improve my riding skills so I will be a better rider when I go home. I like going on trail rides because we get to play games on horseback and talk to our friends. I definitely recommend riding while at Sanborn!

We are getting ready for our last overnight this week. I am really excited to go on the Pirate overnight. I heard we get to build a pirate ship, go on a scavenger hunt, and play fun games! I loved all of my trips and activities this summer. I can’t decide which is my favorite! I am going to be really sad to go home soon. I have made such great friends this session – I’ve made some new friends and spent time with some people who were here last year. This has been such a fun summer and I can’t wait to come back next year!

The Sanborn Semester: Education at Its Peak

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Live It.

We begin the new year with some exciting news!

We are launching a new semester school program, the Sanborn Semester, to begin in January 2013. This unique semester program is designed for achievement oriented, college-bound high school juniors and seniors.

Students will live at The Nature Place from mid-January to mid-May and take core subjects (English, History, Science, Math, Foreign Language, etc) taught in an experiential and integrated format. In addition to the academic subjects,
students will participate in a unique Perspectives course which is focused on leadership, service learning, environmental ethics, and research. They will provide community service by becoming teaching assistants in our High Trails Outdoor Education Program, and they will also have the opportunity to take advantage of the many special outdoor opportunities the Sanborn property provides—horseback riding, rock climbing, hiking, biking and more.

Learn It.

Why, you might ask, would a summer camp undertake a high school semester program? The answer is simple: We are educators and we have always been educators. (Some of you will recall the stories Sandy used to tell about the years he was Superintendent, Principal, only Teacher, and Janitor at the Florissant High School) We know that young people thrive when they have contact with the natural world; we know that the technology we are surrounded with can create distraction in a teen’s life which leads to diminished focus; we know that a program which integrates academic skills with social and emotional skills provides a solid foundation for 21st century success. And we know that our brand of experiential curriculum works on many levels. It excites and inspires students; it reignites curiosity and wonder; it makes learning fun and relevant again; and it helps to create a passion for lifelong learning.

Be It.

Our year-round professional staff is extremely excited about the opportunities which the Sanborn Semester presents, and are committed to providing a truly transformational experience for the students who join us.

If you know of any outstanding high school students who might be interested in the program, please let us know
and we will be happy to send them additional information about the curriculum, the program, and community life.

We would also be happy to send information if you are connected with a school and know of students who might be interested in this opportunity. You can also check our website

We look forward to hearing from you!

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.

Camp Memories – All Year Long

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

I was doing a little procrastinating today, hence a late blog post, and was amazed by some of the things that I

We can't get enough!

read of Facebook. Camp isn’t just something that happens for a couple of months during the summer. It is a year-round experience.

We know that a camp experience is important to children. We know about the friendships that are made. We know how essential it is for children to spend time outdoors and to have the opportunity to reconnect with nature. We see campers and staff grow and change during their time at camp during the summer. We love mailing reminders of camp during the year – calendars, DVDs, postcards, newsletters. We live and breathe Sanborn all year. And we LOVE hearing how campers, staff, and alums live and breathe camp when they are away.

As I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed today, I noticed a number of Sanborn reconnects and memories being shared. Campers visiting each other, staff taking trips together, alums reminiscing about their Sanborn experiences. For us, it a great feeling to know how people stay connected to camp even when they are not here. Recognizing that my number of Facebook friends can never compare to the number of people who have come through Sanborn, I can only imagine the number of Sanborn memories and reunions that I am unaware of.

A fun camp memory

It is great for us to hear about the lasting impact camp and Sanborn has had on people’s lives. Send us news updates, follow us on Facebook, look through photos from the summer – share your camp reconnects and memories with us! We love Sanborn and we love that you do too!