Archive for June, 2010

Loss of Empathy? Not if they work at camp….

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Fun in the Big Spring Lodge

Last Sunday’s New York Times ran an article about the loss of empathy in today’s college student population.  It cited a study which found that “college students today are 40 percent less empathetic than those of 30 years ago.”

Though, in a large research study, these numbers may very well be true, at camp…they are the opposite.

One of the interview questions we ask potential staff at both the boys and girls camp is grounded in both “empathetic concern” and “perspective taking.” (The two more important factors measured in the study).  When we ask candidates to “tell us about a time when you put someone else’s needs before your own,” we are assessing his/her understanding of empathetic behavior.

This is a very telling situational narrative.  If a potential staff member struggles with a quality answer, there is the very real possibility that person DOESN’T understand or have the level of empathy that is required when working with campers and necessary to be a quality Sanborn staff member.

On the other hand, a candidate who can not only give an example but shares the personal strength and growth that came from that experience is often a person who will be outstanding when working with children and who will also be able to teach empathy to others through excellent modeling.

Helping Out at the High Trails Stables

We have a staff of almost 100 college aged men and women who are not only empathetic to the needs of their campers, but also take into account the SCOPE of their job.  They are trained to think about their behavior, actions and their impacts on other Staff, Campers, Organization, Parents…EVERYTHING.

Because of their exposure to a nurturing, empathetic staff–our campers learn and practice genuine empathy while at camp.  They encourage each other to reach mountaintop summits; they help tack each others horses at the stables; they give hugs when people are having a bad day; and, like I saw this morning, they even readily give up prime seating in trip vans to friends who “sometimes get a little car sick.”

Having empathy is important.  A primary characteristic of bullying behavior is a demonstrated lack of empathy–if you don’t care about others, then you don’t care–or you enjoy–making yourself feel more important or powerful at their expense.  There is no room for bullying behavior at camp, but there IS room for developing an empathetic, supportive community which replaces insecurity with a tangible, growth-inspiring, Sense of Self.

So I invite Sara Konrath to Sanborn to do a study of our staff members and campers over the years….I think the results would create a sigh….of relief.

More from the camper’s mouth

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

My overnight was great!!. It wall started when I woke up. I was soo excited to see where and what we were going to be doing… I had to pack, get sunscreen, bug spray, and toothpaste. When I was finally ready, my cabin started out for the hike. When we got to Tie Cabin, we ate bagel sandwiches – they were really good! Next we started to play Capture the Flag with one team jelly and the other peanut butter. Both teams hid the jelly and peanut butter and the teams had to find the other item. Overall, my overnight at Tie Cabin was great!

Shea Nelson, Ponderosa East

Camp is a really fun place!! One of my favorite things at Sanborn would be the chanting at lunch. We do so many fun chants like the best counselors, the Hokey Pokey, the Milk song, and more. There is also a lot of hand beating and singing. Dances are my favorite part because you can sign (one talent) and dance to the song (another talent). At the end, you are cheered on to do more by the whole camp. Sorry, I’d write more, but I have to go to my next activity.

Nicole Bakar, Ponderosa East

Howdy Sanborn Fans: Sanborn Camp is a BLAST!!! We have done so many different things like art, camping, and all-camp activities. We have also gone on the cabinside overnight. My cabinside went to Tie Cabin. We did so many great things like Ninja and Capture the Flag. It was so much fun!

Taylor, Ponderosa East

From the Mouths of Campers

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Campout at Tie Cabin
My overnight at Tie Cabin was great! We walked about 2 miles to get there.  Even though it was a long and heavy walk, it went by quickly.   We carried sunscreen, clothes and other things.  Our packs were heavy but we kept going by winging chants, songs and talking.
When we got there we quickly set up tents and ate lunch. At lunch we ate bagel sandwiches with whatever we wanted on them! After lunch, we played a long and great game of Capture the Flag.  It was a TON of fun! In the end, Jelly won (thanks to me) and beat peanut butter! We played even more great games! Ninja is a popular choice for my cabin.  You hate to try and hit the other person’s hand, if you miss you freeze in that position and then the other person gets to try.
We had dinner after that.  We got to try foil dinner which is actually very good! You get to cook whatever you want in it! I slept restlessly because I knew that when we woke up we would have to leave. 
In the morning we ate crepes and packed up to go home.  It was a great overnight and I was very sad that it was over so soon.
-Grace Adams, Ponderosa East

Camp is a Really Fun Place!
One of my favorite things at Sanborn would be the chanting at lunch. We do so many fun chants like the beaver song, the MILK song, the Hokey Pokey and more.  You can tell people to do certain dances too!  It is a joy. Of course, we still get to eat.  There is also a lot of table pounding and singing.  Dances are my favorite part because everyone gets to sing along as we dance.  At the end, you are cheered on to do more by the whole camp!  I’d love to write more but I have to go to my next activity!!
-Nicole Bakar, Ponderosa East

Meet the High Trails Staff Summer 2010

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

In order to put faces to names, we want to introduce you to our fantastic High Trails Staff!

Counselors and Assistant Counselors

Juniper West

Left to Right:
Counselor Name: Megan “Moose” Wilkerson
Number of Years at Sanborn: Yearling
Hometown: St. Louis, Moose-ouri
College: University of Central Moose-ouri
Favorite Food: Chocolate Mousse

Counselor Name: Rochelle Lewallen
Number of Years at Sanborn: First Year
Hometown: Vinita, Oklahoma
College: Haskell Indians Nation University
Favorite Household Pet: Ninja Squirrels

Assistant Counselor Name: Anneke Allen
Number of Years at Sanborn: First Timer
Hometown: Aurora, Colorado
College: University of Colorado
Fun Fact: Always keeps a stash of tropical starburst under her pillow, in case of emergencies.

Juniper East

Left to Right:
Counselor Name: Katy Ellard
Number of Years at Sanborn: First
Hometown: Madison, Georgia
College: University of Georgia
Claim to Fame: Defeated Shaggy and Scooby Doo in a Sandwich eating contest.

Counselor Name: Claire Norville
Number of Years at Sanborn: Newbie
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
College: Auburn University
Hidden Talent: Master double-dutch jump-roper by day, wild bear tamer by night.

Assistant Counselor Name: Rebecca Wagner
Number of Years at Sanborn:  First time on staff and 3 decades of family history.
Hometown: Centennial, Colorado
College: Pacific University
Favorite Food: Skittles or anything that tastes as good as the rainbow.

Ponderosa West

Left to Right:
Counselor Name: Chelsea Davenport
Number of Years at Sanborn: First Summer
Hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma
College: Colorado College
Hidden Talent: Speaks Spanish in her sleep.

Assistant Counselor Name: Katie Powers
Number of Years at Sanborn: 3 as a camper, 1st year on staff
Hometown: Sherwood, Oregon
College: Loyola Marymount University
Bonus Features: Has webbed toes and speaks fluent Quack.

Counselor Name: Kelsey Maginn
Number of Years at Sanborn: Newcomer
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
College: University of Missouri
Favorite Quote: “Slam-a-lama-ding-dong goes the dynamite!”

Ponderosa East

Top to Bottom:
Counselor Name: Hannah Smith
Number of Years at Sanborn: Fired up for her first
Hometown: Easthampton, Massachusetts
College: Springfield Tech Community College
Favorite Quote: “The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese!”

Assistant Counselor Name: Emily Katz
Number of Years at Sanborn: Camper for 3 years, 1st year on staff
Hometown: Overland Park, Kansas
College: University of Kansas
Interesting Fact: Would tie-dye her skin if it were physically possible.

Counselor Name: Sara Maurer
Number of Years at Sanborn: 3 on staff
Hometown: Farmington Hills, Michigan
College: Michigan State University
Odd Tid-bit: Loves her Chacos so much, she eats, plays and dreams in them.

Silver Spruce West

Left to Right:
Counselor Name: Megan Jung
Number of Years at Sanborn: Uno
Hometown: Billings, Montana
College: College of St. Catherine
Favorite Camp Food: The ever-so-popular pita pizza slow cooked on an open flame.

Assistant Counselor Name: Sophia Nuñez
Number of Years at Sanborn: New in town
Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colorado
College: Washington University
Hidden Literary Talent: Has written sonnets in iambic pentameter.

Counselor Name: Amrit Khalsa
Number of Years at Sanborn: First timer
Hometown: Eugene, Oregon
College: Colorado College
Nickname: Omelet Salsa

Silver Spruce East

Bottom- Left to Right:
Counselor Name: Kimberly Foster
Number of Years at Sanborn: 3rd time counselor
Hometown: Austin, Texas
College: Baylor University
Favorite Camp Activity: She can canoe, can you?

Assistant Counselor Name: Helen Higgins
Number of Years at Sanborn: 3 years as a camper, first year back on staff
Hometown: Mission Hills, Kansas
College: Hamilton College
Special Exhibit: Frolics with marmots (July 3rd to August 16th)

Top:
Counselor Name: Ismerai Heep
Number of Years at Sanborn: Rookie
Hometown: Littleton, Colorado
College: Colorado State University
Magical Talent: Can always find room for dessert(s) before breakfast.

Cedar Lodge West


Left to Right:
Counselor Name: Ann- Marie Young 
Number of Years at Sanborn: Brand spanking new
Hometown: Any town, USA (she’s moved 10 times in 21 years)
College: Northern Michigan University
Sideshow Trick: Can rotate her tongue, ears and eyeballs 360 degrees!

Counselor Name: Laura McCaughey
Number of Years at Sanborn: Camper for 7 years, 1st year on staff
Hometown: Bloomfield, Michigan
College: Hendrix College
Southern Delicacy: Loves to contra dance to the fiddle tune “Cornbread, ‘Lasses and Sassafras Tea”

Cedar Lodge East

Bottom to Top:
Counselor Name: Hannah Eldredge
Number of Years at Sanborn: 2
Hometown: Manassas, Virginia
College: Oklahoma State University
Favorite Quote: “Bold moves. They happen every day-especially in Cedar Lodge”

Counselor Name: Pippa Nardie-Warner
Number of Years at Sanborn: Former camper for 2 years, first year on staff
Hometown: O’Fallon, Missouri
College: Grinnell College
Claim to Fame: Harry Potter look-a-like, enthusiast and extraordinaire.

Crystal Palace East

Top to Bottom:

Counselor Name: Annamaria Viazzo
Number of Years at Sanborn: Newbie
Hometown: Mamaroneck, New York
College: Stony Brook University
Can be found: Eating foot long hot dogs while playing her Ukulele in an Aspen grove.

Counselor Name: Megan “Dee” Shiverdecker
Number of Years at Sanborn: The newest thing since sliced bread
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
College: Clemson University
Hidden Talent: Porcupine whisperer

Crystal Palace West

Left to Right:
Counselor Name: Jacqui Patten
Number of Years at Sanborn: Pioneer
Hometown: Allen, Texas
College: Utah State
Hidden Talent: Can build a campfire with two shakes of a horse tail, a half eaten apple and no matches.

Counselor Name: Sara Everhart
Number of Years at Sanborn: Hot off the press
Hometown: Larchmont, New York
College: University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Interesting Tid-bit: Raised by a small family of Mountain Goats on the Collegiate Peaks.

Assistant Counselor Name: Abigail Smith
Number of Years at Sanborn: 6 years as a camper, 1st year on staff
Hometown: Montgomery, Alabama
College: Georgetown University
Nickname: Abi-snail

Kinnikinnik East

Left to Right:
Assistant Counselor Name: Mary Jantsch
Number of Years at Sanborn: One-zie
Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
College: Gonzaga University
Not-so-hidden Talent: Can break apples in half with her bare hands!

Counselor Name: Bonnie Johnson
Number of Years at Sanborn: New Release
Hometown: Freeport, Maine
College: Northland College
Summer Goal: Miss Sanborn 2010

Counselor Name: Susan Bingler
Number of Years at Sanborn: Hot off the press
Hometown: Johnstown, Pennsylvania
College: West Virginia University
Favorite Camp Activity: Goldie Locks and the Three Bears Rock Scrambling

Kinnikinnik West

Left to Right:
Counselor Name: Joanne Bauer
Number of Years at Sanborn: This just in
Hometown: Leawood, Kansas
College: Kansas State University
Claim to Fame: Fastest tent pitcher this side of the Mississippi.

Counselor Name: Kelly Muedeking
Number of Years at Sanborn: Camper for 4 years, staff for 2 years
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
College: St. Lawrence University
Favorite Phrase: “Heavens to Betsy!!”

Assistant Counselor Name: Holli Machmer
Number of Years at Sanborn: Fresh out of the oven
Hometown:  Fort Collins, Colorado
College: University of Colorado at Boulder
Bonus Feature: Performs “My Favorite Things” in her marching band uniform, eight days a week. Only the best for her campers!

Columbine East

Left to Right:
Counselor Name: Cara George
Number of Years at Sanborn: Brand spanking new
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
College: Iona College
Wacky Fact: Co-creator of the Spontaneous Dance Party Movement (S.D.P.M.)

Counselor Name: Keenan Meyer
Number of Years at Sanborn: 9 years as a camper, 2 years on staff
Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona
College: University of Colorado
Odd Tid-bit: Longs to become the first High Trails Woman to shoot a “Robin Hood” at the Archery Range.

Columbine West


Bottom to Top:
Counselor Name: Cameron Joyce
Number of Years at Sanborn: 2
Hometown:  Lenoir, North Carolina
College: Lees-McRae College
Previous Profession: Stand-up comedian at Chuck-E-Cheese

Counselor Name: Cailin Asmo
Number of Years at Sanborn: Newest thing since sliced bread
Hometown: Binghamton, New York
College: Alfred University
Favorite Past Time Activity: Whistling with the Mountain Blue Birds

Assistant Counselor Name: Kat Struthers
Number of Years at Sanborn: Camper for 5, first summer on staff
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
College: University of Virginia
Hidden Talent: Paints with all the colors of the wind

Gold Hut 

Top Row-Left to Right:
Counselor Name: Lela Payne
Number of Years at Sanborn: Newcomer
Hometown: Jackson, Missouri
College: University of Missouri
FYI: Aspires to be the next Willy-Wonka and make a chocolate ravioli that can be eaten on mountain climbs.

Counselor Name: Hannah Wendel
Number of Years at Sanborn: First Timer
Hometown: Hillsboro, Oregon
College: University of Oregon
Most known for: Serious Speed Walking Abilities

Back Row- Left to Right:
Assistant Counselor Name: Sofia Iatarola
Number of Years at Sanborn: Camper for 6, First Year on Staff
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
College: Johns Hopkins University
Claim to Fame: Can find a movie quote to fit any and every situation

Counselor Name: Amanda Oates
Number of Years at Sanborn: 2
Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee
College: University of Tennessee
Nickname: Honey Bunches

Counselor Name: Lacey Meyer
Number of Years at Sanborn: 6 years as a camper, 2 years on staff
Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona
College: Arizona State University
Favorite Camp Activity: Fireside bonding and gourmet s’more constructing

Senior Staff

Ridge Leaders

Left to Right- Bottom
Name: Reggie “The Ridgy” Cahalan
Number of Years at Sanborn: 2
Hometown: Lakeland, Florida
College: Clemson University
Favorite Food: Sugar, Sugar and more Sugar

Name: Jessie Spehar
Number of Years at Sanborn: 4
Hometown: Laramie, Wyoming
College: University of Wyoming
Hidden Talent: It’s so hidden that she doesn’t even know what it is.

Left to Right- Top
Name: Megan Clover
Number of Years at Sanborn: 3
Hometown: Ionia, Michigan
College: Michigan State University
Claim to Fame: Most toilets plunged at High Trails in 08’ and 09’.

Name: Maya Ovrutsky
Number of Years at Sanborn: Camper for 8, staff for 3
Hometown: Yorktown Heights, New York
College: Bates College
Hidden Talent: Can scare even the scariest of moon shadows.

Wranglers

Left to Right:
Name: Jennifer Hartman
Number of Years at Sanborn: 3
Hometown: Littleton, Colorado
College: Colorado State University
Favorite Food: Chocolate covered chocolate dipped in chocolate

Name: Bea Raemdonck
Number of Years at Sanborn: 5 as a camper, 3 on staff
Hometown: Wilton, Connecticut
College: University of Kansas
Hidden Talent: One match fires

Name: Jessie Tierney
Number of Years at Sanborn: 2
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
College: Columbia College Chicago
Favorite Camp Activity: Horseback Yoga

Name: Lisa “Bonkers” Boyko
Number of Years at Sanborn: 3
Hometown: Orefield, Pennsylvania
College: Lebanon Valley College
Favorite Word: “WHOA!” (most appropriately used at the barn)

Name: Lacey Ellingson
Number of Years at Sanborn: 2
Hometown: Shoreview, Minnesota
College: Willamette University
FYI:  Only rides horses on days that end in Y.

Outcamp/Art

Left to Right:

Name: Stephanie Seifert
Number of Years at Sanborn:
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
College: University of Georgia
Favorite Quote: “Life’s a garden. Dig it.”

Name: Adrienne Jones
Number of Years at Sanborn: First Summer
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
College: University of Colorado at Boulder
Hidden Talent: Jedi mind tricks

Support Staff

Nurses

Left to Right:
Name: Suzie Bartley
Number of Years at Sanborn: Newbie
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
College: LaSalle University
Favorite “Animal”: Sasquatch aka Yeti, Big Foot etc.

Name: Colleen Humphreys
Number of Years at Sanborn: 1st timer
Hometown: Dothan, Alabama
College: Auburn University
A big fan of:  Non-poisonous snakes

Food Service Professionals aka: The Best Cooks in Colorado.

Left to Right: Meagan Thomas, Jane Pino, Vicki Martin, Kathie Smith and Bryna Barta. (Not Pictured: Irene Klous)

 

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

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.

I love our Sanborn Western Camps mission statement. It is rich and varied; succinct and pointed; it represents both years of summer camp experience and the vibrancy of each new camp season; it celebrates the individual and the team; it embraces and enhances our connections to each other, ourselves, and to the world as a whole; it reminds us that growth is intensely personal, but is maximized when shared; and it isn’t a didactic lecture, delivered by the learned professor–it is an afternoon studying multi-colored lichen on some high mountain rocks, a leisurely walk through elk-chewed aspen groves, a game of hide-and-seek among the montane grasses and trees, and children laughing, talking, and growing around a Colorado campfire.

Our mission statement is transcendent and universal…we want it to share it in as many ways as possible. We want every child and adult to understand what gifts they can gain when they spend a summer at Sanborn, when they spend a lifetime in the outdoors. We want the Sanborn mission statement to “make sense” to our staff, so we have designed a set of “Six Staff Senses” to help make the mission statement real. Parents, teachers, outdoor advocates, experiential educators and more can use these “senses” to help bring the life lessons, values/ethics, fun and adventure of the summer camp experience to your every day life. Enjoy.

The Six Staff Senses

1. Seeing/Vision: To “see” both the outside and inside of every child; being able to see/know everything all at once; the past, present, & future; seeing through different lenses—what do parents see, what does the camp community see, what do the campers see, what do I see; visualizing the impact of the natural world and the camp experience on campers—seeing through the goals you set for the campers and for yourself.

2. Hearing/Listening: REALLY learning to listen and HEAR campers and their needs; hear the words between the words; hear the hurt/fear/frustration behind the action; pause to listen to the lessons of camp; allow yourself to listen to your heart and your gut…good judgment comes from within.

3. Smelling: Olfactory memories are some of the strongest around; make sure and have your campers stop and smell the trees/grass/morning/evening/post-storm/flowers/desserts etc.. Smell is also a complicated memory maker—it has to be associated w/ other elements to become memorable—so take TIME to sculpt those memorable (and fragrant!) moments.

4. Taste/Food: Eating is VERY important at camp; it is respectful community building in our family style/campfire meals; it is ritual in our plate scraping/mabel waiting; it is celebration in our song/birthday parties/theme dinners/banquets/post-climb meals; it is analyzation in our end-of-the-day dinner discussions/observations of kids eating; it is nourishment for the body and the soul—be present, be aware.

5. Touch/Feeling: “The shortest distance between two people is a smile.” “A smile is the light in the window of your face that tells people you’re at home.” All summer long: BE PRESENT. The benefits of hugs, smiles, nods of affirmation, high fives of celebration will not work if you are not there to share those feelings, share the physical connections, share the summer with your campers and yourself.

6. Wonder: Each day is a god—make it be so in everything your do.

Make the mission make sense–the more you practice and play, the less abstract this job and the world will become.