Archive for July, 2010

The Art of Letter-Writing…Alive and Well at Sanborn

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Letters from the Pony Express! Let's RIDE!

In response to today’s article in USA Today, we wanted to shed some light on how Sanborn Western Camps is keeping letter writing alive and well this summer…not to mention that we believe the fairly new post office in Florissant is a direct result of these fine letter writing skills (or maybe the result of LOTS of care packages).

The secretaries in the camp office were alarmed when the first batch of mail written by campers to their families was collected.  Stamps were stuck in random places on the envelopes, including on the back, instead of the upper right-hand corner of the envelope.  Addresses were incomplete, illegible and also found in strange and confusing places.  It was a shock to realize that many young people (including staff!) do not know how to write and post a letter.  Is Letter-Writing becoming a lost art?

Imagine what the world would have missed if the correspondence between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had been via e-mail?  What if Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning had communicated via text message?  And, how sad it would be if Jane Austen, Henry James, Abraham Lincoln, and Benjamin Franklin had tweeted, instead of producing the volumes of elegant prose which preserve and enhance their legacy.

The Arrival of the Pony Express!

Camp is one of the few places where letter writing is still encouraged (and taught!).  Campers are required to turn in a letter to their families to gain admission to lunch each Sunday.  Counselors compose hand-written letters each week to send home to the parents of each of their campers describing the camper’s achievements and adjustment to the camp community.  Hand-written letters flow freely between the girls’ camp and the boys’camp.

Parents have told us for many years that they value these letters written by campers and counselors and save them along with other treasured mementos of childhood.  Some parents have shared them with us, and these are a valuable piece of the history of the camps and of the family history of each camper.

Technology today is encouraging short, superficial messages, rather than the deeper, more meaningful communication which occurs when letters are written. Text messaging is fine for letting your Mom know when soccer practice ends, and tweeting works to find out how Lance Armstrong is doing in the Tour de France.  But if you want to let your parents know how it feels to stand on top of a 14,000’ mountain, or you want to tell them about your new friends, or you want to describe the sunset you saw last night from Top of the World, then letter writing is the only way.

Letters for EVERY Lady at High Trails

This summer, campers and counselors in both sessions have participated in a fun and exciting “Pony Express” activity.  Originating at the Big Spring Barn, campers and riding staff painstaking wrote letters to every “fine lass and lady” at High Trails Ranch.  On the day of the Pony Express’ long-anticipated arrival, the riders battled “banditos” who threatened to relieve them of their Important Delivery.  After bravely defending their priceless parcels, the riders rode triumphantly to the High Trails Lodge to deliver their precious cargo.  The ladies greeted them with cheers and showered them with praise.

Letter writing might be slightly antiquated…but it has never been so much fun.

From the Camper’s Mouths…

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

At High Trails, one of the in-camp activities our campers can sign up for is called “Sanborn Blogging”.  Here are a few of the most recent writings generated from that activity.

High Trails has been very interesting lately.  For example, the Pony Express came today at lunch.  Apparently, they are showering us High Trails girls with letters and gifts this Friday.  The Pony Express is basically a bunch of Big Springs boys riding horses.  They seem like the comedic type of group. 

Another interesting event coming recently is the river all day which I will be attending.  You get driven to the river and you take tubes and go tubing down the whole river.  It is a very fun and time consuming activity.  I am very excited.

-Ellen Chapman

For our cabinside overnight, we went to Quicks Homestead.  So first we got there and we set up our tents.  Then we went to the homestead.  We went inside of the house and then we headed for the barn. 

We went to the end of the field and saw the bones of a dead cow about middle age.  It was kind of creepy.  Then we had lunch and made ice cream.  It was SO GOOD!!! 

Then we had dinner and played sardines.  Before we went to bed, we saw horses grazing.  Then we woke up and had breakfast crepes and then packed up and came back.  That was our cabinside overnight.

-Maddie LeClercq

At Sanborn Western Camps, one thing that we do a lot is horseback riding.

At the barn, you get to saddle up your own horse, brush your own horse, and get ready for trail-rides, all days, or overnights.  It’s very fun! 

You can trot, walk, lope, or canter with your horse.  You can go many places while riding.  For example, the candy cane, the 4-story tree-house, Hummer Spring, or you can just ride around in the Gymkhana ring.  It is very fun!

-Autymn Bradshaw

So far, my most enjoyable memory has definitely been horseback riding.  I am doing so much of it, it’s crazy!

Last week I rode about 5 times!  My many activities include a Saturday Special (riding), a horse overnight, 2 riding all days, one for the cabin, and one I just do, and A FOUR DAY HORSE TRIP!  But of course the best part of camp is Gymkhana! 

I can’t wait!

-Talia Miller

High Trails has been fun lately.  We are getting excited for Thursday and Friday because we are going on our first 14,000 foot OVERNIGHT. 

We have gone on 14,000 foot LONG TRIPS, but never an overnight.

We are summitting Mt. Quandary.  We are anxiously counting down the hour…no….minutes….no…seconds until our departure.  We are nervous yet excited–WOO-HOO!

-The Dynamic Duo, Caitlin Sweeney and Hanna Ohaus

On cabinside overnights, Cedar Lodge East explored the remains of a dead calf, we we had first mistaken for an aardvark.  Though very upsetting, we were glad to have gained the knowledge of the difference between a baby cow and an aardvark, and is showed us a piece of the circle of life.

-Kara Sinkankas

Summer Camp: The Kitchen of Human Relations

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Happy Campers: An essential ingredient

Beyond the incredible opportunities for personal growth, exposure to the natural world, and the connection (or reconnection) with one’s sense of wonder, camp provides campers a unique opportunity to build a community from the ground up.

Building these communities is a little like baking at high altitudes: there are plenty of modifications to the recipe you can try…but you are never sure exactly which one is going to work.

Take our recipe for a FANTASTIC cabin/unit community at Sanborn:

9-10 happy campers
2 dedicated, attentive counselors
1 personable, knowledgeable assistant counselor
3 tons of positive attitude
1 ton of mutual respect
100 lbs. of integrity
18 gallons of flexibility
10 quarts of compromise
80 lbs of problem solving techniques
5 buckets of perseverance
5 buckets of resilience
1 truckload of empathy
A bunch of new experiences
A dash (or 200) into the outdoors  for new perspective
An infinite number of amazing opportunities and fun to be had!

Teambuilding activities build community

That said, sometimes campers or staff unintentionally modify our ideal recipe.  Occasionally, some snarky comment gets spilled in, or a selfish behavior is added, or—in some cases—an entire ingredient is forgotten or substituted.  And, like the high altitude cake with incorrect modifications, you find yourself with a crumbly, grumbly, salty mess on your hands.

Yet unlike the adult world, where it is sometimes more admissible (and far easier) to just cut your losses and walk away…at camp, these are the people you are living and working with for the rest of your summer.  You have to figure out what went wrong and try to fix it…otherwise, your summer simply won’t be as sweet.

You never expect the first cake you bake at 8,600 feet will turn out perfectly (though you do hope it will be edible)—similarly, you cannot expect the desires, wills, values, beliefs, emotions, and hormones of 13 unique individuals to always line up and converge in perfect harmony.  So you tinker with the ingredients: you teach the staff some new problem solving techniques, spend time getting to know each camper very well, and you show everyone support, gratitude, forgiveness and empathy along the way.

Fun and silliness at camp!

It is easy to get frustrated with a crumbly cake or with someone you are living with…but the cake won’t respond to your irritation or anger any better than a person.  So, through the daily mix of ingredients in our living units, on trips, on activities, and everywhere at camp, we create a unique and ephemeral “Daily Special.”  Because of all the factors involved, a day at camp cannot be repeated.  Each day is unique, it never has been, or ever will be the same again.  Some leave a bit of a sour taste in your mouth, others will represent the high point of your life for many years to come.

At the heart of camp, just like at the heart of cooking, is the playful spirit and desire for fun, wholesome experiences—the experiences that all campers and staff are seeking from their summer in the Colorado mountains.

And the best part?  There are NEVER too many cooks in this kitchen.

The Sad Letter…Why You Might Be Happy to Get One

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Signing up for trips in the yurt

As parents (and, perhaps, former campers ourselves), we have so many expectations for our own child’s camp experience. Thus, if we receive a sad letter from our child while he or she is at camp…we are truly disappointed.

Our first instinct is to call camp and make sure everything is alright (visions of our son or daughter sobbing alone under a tree are not uncommon). This, in most cases, results in a calming conversation with either Mike or Julie, or our child’s counselor or ridge leader.

Many children, and plenty of adults, suffer from some degree of homesickness while they are away from home. How we, as parents, deal with the occasional “sad” letter speaks volumes to our child about how much we believe in their ability to deal with adversity. That said, it is INCREDIBLY hard for us as parents to stand back and allow our child to develop his or her own resilience…especially when WE were the one who put them in this position in the first place.

A letter from a first session parent accurately describes this emotional dichotomy in an incredibly healthy way. By communicating her concern, providing specific information, and asking for the necessary reassurance from camp, this mother was able to get past the “sad” letter and get solid information about the health and well being of her daughter without directly impacting the daughter’s camp experience.

Always laughing at High Trails

I have received two letters from my daughter so far.   One of the best things she wrote was that she and one of her cabinmates were laughing so hard so couldn’t breathe.  I can imagine her having SO much fun!  In the second letter though, she expressed some homesickness.  I am sure you guys deal with this every day but I just wanted to pass it along so you can share it with her counselors.  She  can often hold her feelings inside and no one would even know she might feel sad.

In her letter she wrote, “I miss you SO much. It hurts so bad. I want you to come visit and I need you. Please come!” Of course as a mother, I want to step in and give her a big hug and make her feel better. So perhaps, you can give me some guidance. I cannot drop everything and come visit, and I am guessing that would not be a wise solution. Maybe she is doing fine and just wrote at a moment of sadness.

I am not sure if you ever allow kids to phone their parents or if that would help. Please pass this along to her counselors and any advice you have for me would be greatly appreciated.

On the whole, phone calls home are even harder than sad letters for both the campers and their parents. It is not unusual, if a child does call, for there to be much sobbing and begging…only to be followed by that child joyously running out of the lodge with an enormous grin on her face ready to go on her river trip….and a very distraught mom or dad on the other end of the phone.

We encourage parents who may be concerned about possible homesickness to avoid making promises like, “If you can’t make it the full term, I’ll come pick you up whenever you want.” This sets the camper up for failure because he or she will have a hard time seeking personal strength and seeing their own positive growth if the camper knows he/she has an easy way out.

As youth development professionals and parents ourselves, when our campers are homesick it hurts us as much as it hurts you. We have trained ourselves and our staff in effective homesick management techniques, and our directors and senior staff are constantly supporting the staff with the implementation of those techniques.

Loving every minute of camp!

The insight shared when our first session mother said, “Maybe she is doing fine and just wrote at a moment of sadness…” is outstanding. We all have our “moments,” and we all turn to those we love and trust most during our challenging times. So think of the “sad” letter as a gift—the recognition from your child that you ARE the safe haven and pillar of strength they need…even in spirit…to help them get through this challenge and grow stronger on their own.

In the end, we received a short follow up from our homesick camper’s mom, “She had a BLAST at Sanborn!!! She is ready to go back next year. Thanks again for everything, you all are awesome!”

…and being ready to come back to camp next year?…THAT is the best (and only) cure for “campsickness” around.

A Glimpse Into The Portal

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Backpacking Adventures

At the end of one successful camp session, and on the eve of our next, we are both humbled and inspired by the power of summer camp.

Every day of this summer, at camps all across this county and globe, children are discovering a portal into an amazing place: themselves.  This journey can be simultaneously exhilarating and challenging; simple and complicated; fun and hard; crystal clear and confusing; liberating and frightening; but—most of all—it is their own.

For girls, many of the lessons build on the relational skills they have been developing since early childhood.  They learn to live together, compromise and deal appropriately with conflict, connect with the natural world, persevere, develop integrity and independence, respect the feelings and emotions of those around them, challenge themselves physically and safely, gain a sense of empowerment that will last a lifetime…and much more.

For boys, especially boys in the 9-12 year old range, summer camp becomes an essential “outlet” to help define their journey into manhood.  In their 2007 book titled “Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys,” Stephen James and David Thomas encourage parents to “be intentional with summers” by sending boys to camp.  Their reasoning states that:

Summit Day!

A number of great camps across the country are doing excellent work with boys.  Camps provide a rich opportunity for boys to experience appropriate risk—physically, emotionally, and relationally—in a completely different way than they can on their home turf.

Much of that difference, for boys and girls, comes from the daily exposure to and reality of the natural environment.  As participants in a ground-breaking research study conducted by the American Camp Association, we realized that camps scored slightly lower in the “physical safety” category than in many of the other “supports and opportunities” categories.  The ACA followed up with campers and realized that, for many, living in the outdoors (with deer, porcupines, and bear) can be a bit disconcerting for youth and thus, make them feel less physically safe than they feel at home.

Yet that subtle fear has a valuable purpose.  It helps young people understand their “position” in the world.  “There is a humility and seasoned wisdom to be learned in the natural world,” writes John Eldredge.

Turn a canoe sideways and it will tip.  Approach an elk upwind and it will spook.  Run your hand along the grain of wood and you’ll get a splinter.  There is a way things work….In the realm of nature, you can’t just order room service, or change the channel, or write a new program to solve your problems.  Your can’t ignore the way things work.  You must be taught by it.  Humility and wisdom come when you learn those ways, and learn to live your life accordingly.

Hawking the Horses on the 4-day Horse Trip

The natural world is a powerful teacher—and it teaches us experientially.  If you head out on a hike without a rain jacket, and it begins to rain (or hail) it is unlikely you will forget your rain jacket next time.  Similarly, at camp, if a camper loses a glove on a mountain climb and has to wear a sock on his hand instead,or hurts a good friend with a thoughtless remark, or makes some other mistake that involves a natural consequence, there will—over time—be a recognition that develops about “how things work” and “how much effort I have to put forth in order for them to work out the way I would like.”

Call it responsibility.  Call it self-awareness or self-efficacy.  Call it the basis of wisdom.  Whichever name or characteristic you choose, the result is still the same: a more thoughtful and insightful child who understands that he/she is part of the larger world…and not the other way around.

Camp is a great place to learn how people, ideas, life lessons, challenges, opportunities, and the natural world can all intersect and impact you as an individual and vice versa.  Those precious camp moments are ephemeral gifts which can make a positive impact forever.

So to our campsick friends we say, “Don’t cry because it is over; smile because it happened.”  And with each smile or story about camp, another lesson is learned, ingrained and owned by the camper.  It is a little glimpse through the portal into themselves: into the world of confident and thoughtful individuals who can live, work, and play in the outdoors…and love every minute of it.

Meet the High Trails Summer Staff- 2nd Session

Thursday, July 15th, 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!”

Counselor Name: Allie Anderson
Number of Years at Sanborn: 3 as a camper, 1 on staff
Hometown: Shreveport, Louisiana
College: Centenary College of Louisiana
Nickname: Dr. Dolittle

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.

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: Wynne Connelly
Number of Years at Sanborn: 8 years as a camper, 1st time counselor
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
College: University of Redlands
Claim to Fame: Her Britsh accent puts Simon Cowell to shame.

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)

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

Right Back:
Counselor Name: Jenn Zavaleta
Number of Years at Sanborn: 8 years as a camper, 1st on staff
Hometown: Irving, Texas
College: Claremont McKenna College
Sideshow Trick: Professional Tree Hugger

Right Front:
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

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.

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

Gold Hut 

Top Row-Right to Left:
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

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

Bottom Row- Left to Right:
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

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:
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.

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: 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: 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:
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.


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

Kitchen Coordinator

Name: Nicole Nord
Number of Years at Sanborn: 7 as a camper, 2nd on staff
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
College: Denison University
Can be found: Sleeping, eating and singing in the trash truck.

Support Staff


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

Helping Hands

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!

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)


Soulful Work…and 112 Pounds of Hot Chocolate

Monday, July 12th, 2010

It is hard to quantify what goes on at camp.  We know that we climbed sixteen different mountains, that we rode hundreds of miles on horseback, that we made our s’mores with fourteen cases of graham crackers, seventeen cases of marshmallows, and ten cases of Hershey bars, and that we washed them down with 112 pounds of hot chocolate.

We cannot begin to tell you, however, how many times we laughed together, or how many songs were sung around the campfire or in the Lodge.  We don’t know how to count the moments of wonder or the times when someone accomplished something they didn’t think they could.  There are no calculators that can figure how many special friendships were made, and no charts can tell us how many of us learned something about teamwork, tolerance, resilience, or perseverance.  But we know that all of these things happened and we hope that campers will return home with increased self-confidence, a new appreciation for the out-of-doors and many wonderful memories.

In her new book, “Raising Happiness”, Dr. Christine Carter writes, “If I had to pick the one thing that matters most to human happiness, I would say that our relationships with other people matter more than anything else.”  She goes on to say that in order to raise happy, successful children, “We need to embed our children in rich communities of relationships with whom they can hone their social skills.  These relationships will provide them with a deep sense of security and be sources of joy and growth; they will feed their souls.”

Our summer camp community IS rich in the relationships that will feed, and have fed, children’s souls over the years and for many more years to come.

From the Camper’s Mouths…

Friday, July 9th, 2010

We live in Kinnikinnik West

Of course it is the best!

Our counselors are Joanne and Kelly

They make sure our cabin is never smelly.

Stacey talks in her sleep

And someone always snores

But that makes sure our nights are never ever a bore!

And that is why Kinnikinnik West

Is the best!

Erin, Catherine, Annalise, Stacey, Phoebe, and Kelly

On July 1st, I climbed a 14,037 foot mountain (Mt. Sherman). While we couldn’t find the trail right away, we didn’t back down and we eventually found the way to the top of Mt. Sherman. It was REALLY fun! And challenging. When we got to the top after a 4 hour hike, we had sparkling apple cider and gummy bears. It was SO much fun! It was a wonderful experience and I’m glad I went. (Hi Mom!)

Hannah Boswell

On our long trip we had a lot of fun. We hiked about 30 miles over 3.5 days. I summitted my first mountain while wearing a bikini! We climbed Buffalo Peaks. The view from the top was amazing! We had to get up really early while it was still dark, but it was really fun. Climbing a mountain was hard, but fun!

Erin O.

Getting to the Top

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Celebration for a Lifetime

Twelve different groups from Big Spring and High Trails stood on the summits of thirteen Colorado mountains last week.  Other campers will have this awe-inspiring experience in the coming week.  Climbing a mountain is a real accomplishment and an exciting adventure.  To crawl out of a warm sleeping bag before dawn and face the brisk morning temperatures is an act of courage in itself.  The long climb upward, step-by-step, requires perseverance, commitment, and teamwork.

The Alpine tundra is beautiful, dotted by tiny forget-me-nots and other flowers.  Often we are fortunate enough to spot marmots, ptarmigans and other mountain wildlife.  The best moment of all, though, is stepping onto the summit and catching a first glimpse of the spectacular vistas.  Climbers always gain a well-deserved feeling of pride, and the self-confidence that comes from “making it to the top”.

Climbing a mountain provides so many benefits for young people. Youth development research tells us that young people need challenging and engaging activities and learning experiences in order to grow into confident, happy adults.  Reaching the summit requires hard work, determination and a lot of self-discipline. Mountain climbing stretches perspectives as well as legs, and it takes place in some of the most stunningly beautiful places on Earth.

Mountaineer Sir John Hunt said “The true result of endeavor, whether on a mountain or in any other context, may be found rather in its lasting effects than in the few moments during which a summit is trampled by mountain boots.  The real measure is the success or failure of the climber to triumph, not over a lifeless mountain, but over himself.”

We have many truly triumphant individuals in our midst.  The successes our campers experience at camp will be revisited countless times throughout their lives…and they will be better, stronger, and happier because of it.

Hooray for the Wild Child

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Last week, both Big Spring and High Trails enjoyed Games Night following their return from overnight and all day adventures. The playing fields rang with laughter and the sounds of pure fun. Volleyball, Frisbee, Schmerltz—the World’s Greatest Game. We also had fun with camp classics like Elbow Tag, Giants-Wizards-Elves, and the ever-popular Marshmallow Baseball.

Felix Carroll, wrote an article in April for CapeCodOnline called “In defense of the endangered wild child”. His tongue-in-cheek premise is “Though no hard statistics exist, it is believed only a handful of these creatures remains. I am referring, of course, to the wild child, children in their natural habitat, children who have not been herded up, given jerseys with numbers and called ‘offsides’ by scary adults in zebra stripes.”

Childhood itself, he goes on to say, may be endangered. “Everyone always talks about protecting children, but no one talks about protecting childhood.”

We are happy to report that childhood is thriving at camp, and that our 6000 acres are one of the natural habitats remaining for children. Our pine forests and Aspen groves contain all the materials needed for forts just waiting to be built; our hills supply exciting and unknown vistas around every bend of the trail; our rocky bluffs provide challenge and adventure and the satisfaction of making it to the top.

Last week, we experienced some magical childhood moments. Boys on several fishing trips caught “giant” trout in one of our mountain ponds and cooked them over the campfire. Many campers from both camps and Sanborn Junior experienced the thrill of riding a tube through the “Grandpappy Rapids” on the South Platte River. Girls from High Trails stood on the summit of 14,265’ Quandary Peak elated by their accomplishment and soaked up the stunning views. Passionate “rock hounds” opened a piece of shale and discovered a 35 million year old fossil leaf while digging near the Florissant Fossil Beds.

We have many more adventures planned for the coming weeks and are very grateful to be sharing all of these “wild child” childhood memories with our campers.