Archive for February, 2011

Forest Management Efforts at Camp

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Before Thinning: Scraggly, unhealthy, and downed, rotting trees

Most of you have memories of the trees and forests at camp: the smell of the pine after a rain, the sound of the wind in an Aspen grove, the shade that cooled the trail as you hiked or rode through the forest.

We know that our forests are a critical part of the beauty of our land as well as to the spirit and activities of camp. Unfortunately, forests in many places in the West are threatened today.  Forest fires, burning in areas which have not been thinned for many years, become uncontrolled very rapidly and
we have all seen the damage this has caused in many places.

The 2002 Hayman Fire, which burned 138,000 acres and began just west and north of Lake George, has left blackened hillsides along the South Platte River above the Grandpappy Rapids, and throughout the backpacking trails in the Tarryalls. Wildflowers now grow in abundance there and new trees are sprouting,but it will be many, many years before those forests have recovered.

Felled Trees: Used for Sawmill Activities and "Lumberjack" Experiential Education Sessions

Another threat to our forests is the mountain pine bark beetle. If you live in Colorado, or have driven the I-70 mountain corridor, you will know that millions of acres of Lodgepole Pine have been lost in the central and northern high mountain areas of the state.

Although our forests here at camp have not been attacked by this particular beetle yet, we are vigilant. Unfortunately, the beetle, which originally targeted only Lodgepole Pine, is now also attacking Ponderosa Pine. And, the infestation is creeping into Park County from the West. Our Forest Service District Ranger

predicts that the beetles could be in our area within five years.

The good news is that the same forest management practices are effective against both wildfire and beetles. Thinning and cleaning out undergrowth promotes forest health and allows remaining trees to repel invading beetles
and these thinner, healthier forests also provide a barrier to spreading wildfires.

After Thinning: Healthy, Happier, Hardier Forests at Sanborn Camps

We are working on this situation in several ways. First, we are partnering with the Forest Service, which has invested a lot of resources in fire mitigation since the Hayman Fire. They have been methodically thinning and cleaning out the Forest Service lands to our west, and within the next year or so, plan to thin the Fishcreek Section which is the piece of land which comes right up to our front gate.

Second, we are partnering with the Colorado State Forest Service and the Coalition for the Upper South Platte to thin the forests on our own land. We have now completed five different areas ranging from 7 acres in size to 30
acres. These include a section south of Hercules Drive, another section near the laundry, and this Fall, the ten acres between those two sections which connects them. We have also completed about 25 acres at the top of the Witcher switchbacks—we did this in cooperation with the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument which borders this area. And finally, in November we completed the 23 acres between the Big Spring gate and the North
side of the Nature Place.

We have a camp sweatshirt which has on its back the Cedric Wright quote “I have grown taller from walking with the trees.” We are committed to continuing our healthy forest work so that campers will always have trees to walk with.

Meet Our #GNO Panelists…Incredible People, Incredible Ideas

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Tonight, from 9-11 p.m. EST (7-9 p.m. MST), Sanborn Western Camps is sponsoring a #GNO Twitter Party with host Mom It Forward about The Benefits of Summer Camp and Why Outdoor Play is Important for Kids.

The Twitter hashtag #gno stands for “Girls (& Guys!) Night Out”.  Once you are on Twitter, do a search on the hashtags #gno and #sanborncamps to join the chat or click here to follow the chat using Tweetgrid.  This promises to be a very informative, fun conversation with folks from all over the country.  It will get you pumped up to pick a great camp for your kids this summer as well as give you fantastic outdoor adventure ideas for the whole family!

Sanborn Western Camps is giving away a full Sanborn Junior tuition (or a 1/2 tuition for the full term) for summer 2011 or 2012,  based on availability.  Visit for more details on how to enter.

We wanted to take a moment to thank all of our panelists for tonight’s #gno party.  They are great people to follow on Twitter and in the blogosphere.  We look forward to their insights and contributions during tonight’s event.  Think summer!

Our tremendous panelists are:

@acacamps The American Camp Association (formerly known as the American Camping Association) is a community of camp professionals who, for nearly 100 years, have joined together to share our knowledge and experience and to ensure the quality of camp programs. Because of our diverse 7,000 plus membership and our exceptional programs, children and adults have the opportunity to learn powerful lessons in community, character-building, skill development, and healthy living — lessons that can be learned nowhere else. Dani Shaw  (@DaniShaw), self-proclaimed “techno-naturalist” who also happens to be the Field Executive for ACA Texhoma, will be tweeting for @acacamps tonight.  Dani’s twitter tagline “wandering but not lost” sums it up for many of us who love the unlimited possibilities of the outdoors.  Learn more about ACA and their rigorous camp accreditation process by visiting

@acacampparents is a comprehensive summer camp resource for families—offering expert advice from camp professionals on camp selection, readiness, child and youth development, and issues of importance to families. ACA helps you find the right camp for every child.  Dawn Swindle, head of ACA Publications (both print and web) will be tweeting using @acacampparents during tonight’s #gno Twitter party.  With her years at ACA, and as a long time camp professional, Dawn is a great resource for parents and camp professionals alike.  Learn more about Dawn and use the impressive camp finder tool at

@balmeras Bethe Almeras, The Grass Stain Guru, is an award-winning author, web producer, and eLearning designer. Bethe is the Director of Education & Outreach for Head Start Body Start National Center for Physical Development and Outdoor Play.  Co-founder of the National Wildlife Federation’s Green Hour®, she has been connecting people with play and nature for many years. A gifted speaker and trainer, Bethe also specializes in inclusive education and accessibility issues for individuals with disabilities.  We love Bethe because, as she says, “I also believe that childhood was meant to be messy. Muddy. Slimy. Silly. And most of all, joyful. Steeped in awe and wonder, childhood should be spent outdoors as much as possible, and should rely on imagination and whimsy as much as it does on rules and regulations.  I firmly believe that nature is the best therapist and teacher any of us will ever have, and that the magic of childhood should be rooted there, and the peace of adulthood is waiting there. It’s not only in nature, but the connections we make with ourselves, and each other, when we slow down long enough to notice the beauty around us and simply play.”  Agreed!  Visit her at

@banteringblonde Fiona Bryan is a techno-goddess.  She blogs about social media and all things “banter-worthy” at, was a 2009 Top #50 Tweeple on, and writes regularly for the popular blog Technorati.  Her passion for motivating and empowering women to be positive role models for their families led her to found MomActive in early 2009.  Momactive is a multi-media outreach initiative that includes a weekly Blog Talk Radio program, MomTV live stream video program, and the community and blog.  Sanborn Western Camps has partnered with Fiona on MomTV and looks forward to hosting an upcoming moms retreat with her at The Nature Place.  As a former camper and active alum of New England Music Camp (@nemusiccamp), Fiona appreciates and understands the growth and wisdom that comes from a summer camp experience.

@CarissaRogers Carissa Rogers is “a Mom of all trades…a Jack of NONE.”   She is a consummate blogger, reader and co-founder of the MomItForward and #gno concept.  She has three wonderful children and, like many panelists, believes in Manifest Destiny…and she just keeps going West.  She writes about her family, blogging and social media tips, great books she’s read, and really tasty recipes (some of which may find their way into the Sanborn Western Camps kitchens this summer!).  We are excited to have Carissa as a panelist because she knows all of the tricks and tips to make everyone’s ideas and voices heard.  Read more about All Things Carissa at

@chatterboxcgc Christie Crowder would fit in perfectly at camp: she is creative, clever, candid, and always heavily caffeinated…not to mention that  she has an inner “Solid Gold Dancer” (think Ms. Sanborn circa 1996). She ditched corporate America and her own successful project management firm to become a full time author/blogger, certified life coach, and now, certified social media consultant. Through writing and coaching, she helps others discover their true passions and entrepreneurial spirit.  She is co-founder of The BlogRollers Media, a contributor and Executive Editor for the Work & Business section of HybridMom.c om, the host of The ChatterBox Show, and is launching a new internet video show called The Coolest Things Show this month.  We are excited and honored to have Christie’s humorous wisdom as part of our panel.  Visit her at Inside The ChatterBox

@ChildrenNature The Children & Nature Network (C&NN) was created to encourage and support the people and organizations working nationally and internationally to reconnect children with nature. The network provides a critical link between researchers and individuals, educators and organizations dedicated to children’s health and well-being.  Typically hosted by Suz Lipman (@slowfamily) who is a writer, blogger at, soapcrafter, jammaker, hiker, retro-enthusiast, and who claims she will work for peace, justice & cheese.  For @ChildrenNature, Suz shares incredible information, research, and cutting edge ideas with parents, educators, researchers, camps and like-minded organizations who are passionate about getting kids outdoors.  Tonight @ChildrenNature will be hosted by Rue Mapp (@outdoorafro) of

@CraftyMamaof4 Kim Janocko IS a Crafty Mama!  With her sidekicks Mr. Z, Pookey, Boo and Bubba (not to mention three dogs and a few large piles of laundry), Kim manages a busy household, a fantastic blog, and manages to make crafts.  (We see a future Arts and Crafts Coordinator…or maybe someone our A & C coordinator should emulate!)  With great coupons, giveaways, craft ideas, recipes and a quality gift guide for all ages, the blog is one not to miss.

@evolvingmommy Catherine is a Colorado mom who has a beautiful, graceful blog that shares insights about life, motherhood, terrific recipes, and the elusive search for balance.  Evolving Mommy is a chronicle of her journey as a mother and her search for balance. Searching for balance is an interesting ride, to say the least. I learned a lot about myself after becoming a wife and mother but the learning and growth didn’t stop there. It may sound corny but everyday is a chance to learn something about myself, the people I care about and the world around me. Catherine has a beautiful daughter, Maddy, who we hope will someday be a High Trails gal.

@JylMomIF Jyl Johnson Pattee lives, works, and breathes a special kind of magic.  As the founder of, Jyl combines a passion for communication and people, and she launched the site in 2008 with the mission to “change the world one mom at a time.”  We think the concept is a perfect use for value-added social media (and a great metaphor for human relations all the way around)—great ideas are TOO great not to be shared.  She is THE hostess of the weekly #gno parties on Twitter, which started in September 2008. Jyl is known as a “connector” who brings good ideas and people together both on and offline to make a positive impact for causes and brands through education and sharing of experiences.  Jyl is also a tremendous mother to two active boys, an intrepid traveler, the creator of the EVO conference, a wonderful writer, an occasionally irreverent wife to Troy, and a great friend to any parent online.  Please take the time to visit her and learn more about Jyl, the EVO conference, the Mom It Forward movement, #gno and much, much more at

@outdoorafro During her childhood, founder Rue Mapp split her time between urban Oakland, California and her families’ working ranch in the Northern woodlands, where she cultivated a passion for natural spaces, farming, and learned how to hunt and fish. As a youth, her participation in the Girl Scouts and Outward Bound broadened her outdoor experiences, such as camping,  mountaineering, rock climbing, and road bicycling. But Rue was troubled by the consistently low numbers of African Americans participating in these activities. So for two decades, Rue has used digital media as an important and practical tool to connect with people of color who share her outdoor interests.  We are thrilled to have Rue on our panel tonight tweeting on behalf of @ChildrenNature.  Be sure to visit to read her blog and learn more about the community.

@sanborncamps Ariella Rogge, Program Director/Assistant Director/Outdoor (and indoor) Eductor/Social Media Junkie/Mom of Two Boy Wonders/Toilet Plunger, manages the @sanborncamps Twitter account both day (and more consistently) by night.  Ariella has been involved in some capacity (see “Toilet Plunger”) at Sanborn Western Camps since she was 12.  She is a true believer in the transformational power of the camp experience for all children because for her, like Richard Louv (author of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder) says, “The woods were my Ritalin. Nature calmed me, focused me, and yet excited my senses.”  She would love to answer any questions you might have about summer camp (or help direct you to the right person!)—either at Sanborn or anywhere else—feel free to email her at ariella at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

@SITSGirls Where to begin? Tiffany Romero is one of the most multi-faceted, intelligent women we know…and, yes, we are biased because she also runs Tocaloma, an incredible day camp in California.  As one of the founders of The SITS Girls (The Secret to Success Is Support), Tiffany takes her myriad skills on the road to lead Bloggy Boot Camps all over the country.  These training camps give women the opportunity to increase their understanding of blogging and social media, while sitting next to their favorite people from their online world. Tiffany is also the Southern Section chair of WAIC (Western Association of Independent Camps) and keeps those in the WAIC and the ACA community aware of the positive impact technology can have on camp professionals.  Check out everything Tiffany does online at  You can also follow her other Twitter handles, @TiffanyRom and @CampDirectr

@TeacherMomOfTwo By day, Diana is a French teacher.  At home, she is a multi-tasking wife and a mother to two darling children. One question which challenges Diana (and all of us) is: how do you find a balance between work life and family life? Or rather, can you? For Diana it is recognizing the little things and realizing they matter most. Her blog,, began to record memories of my kids as they grow up and to connect with other.  With great giveaways, excellent insights, and articles ranging from obscure board games to tips on getting your kiddos to bed her blog is one not to miss!

@TroyPattee Troy Pattee is a Man Among Women.  Troy is THE “G” in #GNO.  Troy’s wife, Jyl, founded the Twitter #GNO (Girls Night Out) party—and has brought her affable “Guy” with her to every event.  @sanborncamps first connected on Twitter with Troy—and later with Jyl—because he has an unnerving propensity to be skiing EXACTLY when we wish WE were skiing (and, we’ll admit it, sometimes the snow IS better in Utah).  Troy has a fabulous blog called where he will be sharing tales and adventures with other like minded dads…and—knowing Troy–probably moms, too.  Check out the blog at and hang with him during the weekly Tuesday night #gno Twitter parties.

It’s Time to Get Outside: Nature Bingo

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Nature Bingo: Use ours...or create your own!

Are the kids getting a little stir-crazy during this holiday weekend?  It’s time to get them outside for a rousing game of Nature Bingo!

Adapted from our newly released 101 Nature Activities for Kids book, this is a great activity for the entire family.

From 101 Nature Activities: Many common games can be adapted for use in the outdoors, and bingo is a great example.  Children can either use bingo cards that you have made ahead of time or they can create the cards themselves.  If they are making their own cards, provide a list of items that you would like them to find or things they think they might find.  Then, they can draw or write the items on their bingo cards.  See how many bingos they can get throughout the hike.

Have fun!  And let us know all of the amazing things you find!

The H-Word: Homesickness at Overnight Camp

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

At Camp: Get kids engaged! (Reviving a hummingbird helps shift the focus off of the homesickness)

Homesickness is scary for parents because reading a letter filled with emotional vulnerability while WE are physically separated from our child is very hard. Yet it is important for a child to be able to express that vulnerability to us—and for us to validate that feeling, yet not try and own it for our children. By trusting their ability to overcome those moments of homesickness, we are empowering them to trust in their decisions in the future.

Over the years we have seen that transparency between parent and child, open and honest conversations, and allowing children to “own” the camp decision prior to camp significantly lessen the possibility, frequency and intensity of homesickness.

At Camp: Have counseling staff available to meet and talk to parents as they arrive to drop off their campers

In our experience, children who are actively involved in choosing the camp they attend are often less likely to experience homesickness. If they DO experience homesickness, they are more apt to be able to work through (with the assistance and validation of supportive adults on the camp staff) those emotions if they feel they have had ownership over the decision to attend camp in the first place.

We have also found that parents who take the time to talk about and listen to ANY potential fears the child may have about camp, really provide the emotional support and validation the child needs to feel prior to their arrival at camp. A parent who says, “Oh, you shouldn’t worry about that—you’ll LOVE horseback riding!” is taking away the child’s personal ability to process, “I am nervous about riding horses….but if I try horseback riding, and I don’t like it, I don’t have to sign up for that activity anymore.” Additionally, don’t impose your own fears on your child—YOU might be the one who is terrified of horses…but your own personal fears shouldn’t trump a child’s desire to try new things in a safe, controlled environment.

At Camp: Make camper arrivals VERY fun for the whole camp!

Another key for a successful (and homesick-free) first overnight camp experience is helping a child make connections between camp and previous “overnight” experiences. With our younger campers, we really encourage previous overnight visits/trips with family and friends because it is a good indicator of potential challenges the child may have at camp. If a child flies halfway across the country to stay with Grandma and Grandpa for a month every summer, he/she won’t have some of the same apprehensions and concerns as a child who has NEVER spent a night away from home. In that case, role playing will often help a child think about some of the concerns she might have—like Mom not reading to her every night, or Dad not being there to kiss him before bed—and you can decide if a “practice run” at a family member or friend’s house might be in order.

Finally (and most difficult) parents need to be honest with themselves about the camp experience. Why do you want your child to go to camp? What skills are you hoping he will gain? If those skills are self-efficacy, confidence, perseverance, resilience, inner strength, or independence, then you—as a parent—need to support the personal growth they WILL have at overnight camp. No problem, you think, but that means you have a conversation that looks like this:

Child: Even though we have talked about all of these things, if I don’t like camp, can you come pick me up?

Parent: If you don’t like camp, I want you to write me a letter and let me know what is happening that makes you not like the experience. I will think about what you have said, then I will write back. Some days at camp might be hard, some days might be the most fun you have ever had, some days might be boring, and some days might make you feel like you are on top of the world. We have talked a lot about camp, and you have said you feel ready for this experience. I am excited for you, and excited about all of the stories you will have to tell me when you get home. Because I believe in you and in the camp we have picked out together, I will not pick you up from camp if you feel sad or homesick. I will be ready to hear about all the good times, and the hard times, when you get home.

At Camp: Be a confident parent. Help make the bed, ask for a hug, and give your child the gift of heading home.

And when you DO get the sad letter, take a deep breath, and feel free to call the camp director and get more information about what is going on. In most cases, a child who writes a “sad” letter at the beginning of camp is absolutely fine by the time the letter arrives home. If your child is truly having a hard time at camp, the camp director will often call and create a strategy with you to help your child work through the challenge. Yet it is up to you as a parent to create a foundation, and an understanding, that—no matter what challenges might come your child’s way—you believe in her enough that you will resist interfering with her experience.

If we can keep these things in mind, we will give our children the gift of camp: a sense of self, a sense of community, a sense of the earth, and a sense of wonder through fun and adventure. We are giving them the opportunity for new, fun, and challenging experiences; the opportunity to learn necessary leadership, followership, and social skills; the opportunity to play in the natural world and to learn about interconnections in nature and in life; the opportunity to develop the self-efficacy, confidence, perseverance, resilience, independence and inner strength that will eventually allow them to be happy, successful, functional adults.

And, in the end, if they miss home a little bit—they are learning to appreciate their family and friends that much more, too.

How have you or your children dealt with homesickness in the past?

Beyond 101 Nature Activities—Part I: Thinking Outside the Bag

Monday, February 14th, 2011

In his 150th ACA Anniversary keynote address, Joe Ehrmann noted that a recent study of elderly individuals in this country showed—if they could “do it all over again” they would take more risks, reflect more, and do more things that would live on after they were gone. This is the very stuff of childhood…and it is disappearing.

Risk taking is being undercut by our culture of fear and oppression. Reflection is giving way to constant motion and unending distraction. Taking action that makes the world a better place is seen as too idealistic and unattainable to people who are accustomed to the instant gratification our society so readily provides.

101 Nature Activities for Kids--from Sanborn authors Elizabeth Rundle and Jane Sanborn

Yet we can reverse this trend. We can reconnect children, and their parents, teachers, and mentors, with the outdoors and with themselves. We can reignite their sense of wonder.

At the recent American Camp Association conference in San Diego,CA, Sanborn leadership team members Elizabeth Rundle and Ariella Rogge led a presentation entitled, “Beyond 101 Nature Activities.” The goals of the session were to:

1. Help participants engage and reconnect with their sense of wonder.
2. Demonstrate ways to teach other staff members, adults (parents/community members) and mentors the value and importance of outdoor play.
3. Learn tools, activities and strategies to get kids outdoors, and—in some cases—help them learn or re-learn how to play and how to just BE.

The “Thinking Outside the Bag” activity reminds us that our world views can sometimes be fixed and grounded in the known and the familiar. Yet children operate in a day-to-day world that is both unknown and highly unfamiliar—sometimes a little uncomfortable and scary—but mostly unexplored, uninhibited, and experience-rich. So we wanted to push our participants gently into that same unfamiliar space—back through that door of the known, and into the world of imagination, fun, and possibility.

Each participant was given a paper bag with a random natural object hidden inside. From here, participants were asked to transcend their “adult” (and somewhat “fixed” mindset) and connect with the children they once were. Using only their sense of touch as their guide, participants explored their object and answered the following, very unscientific and very imaginative questions:

• What color does your object feel like?
• What does this object smell like to a mouse?
• Where would this object be camouflaged?
• Would your dog eat it? Why or why not?
• What sort of creature might use this object and how?

A lively discussion ensued in which we “juiced up our imaginations” and “had fun.” In a few short moments, we had shifted our focus into the world of possibility, imagination and wonder. Yet the joy, surprise and amazement that followed when participants actually saw their natural objects was almost as rich as the sense-deprived, imaginative experience in the first place.

Take a walk this afternoon, gather a handful of natural objects, hide them in bags for your family, and then come up with your own creative, imagination-juicing questions to help them—and you—reconnect with that forgotten sense of wonder, and that vast, untapped realm of the imagination.

What questions will you ask?

Sanborn Love

Monday, February 14th, 2011

In our annual Valentine that we send to campers and staff, we encouraged campers to write limericks about their camp experience to share with their camp friends as part of a “Valentine’s Day Limerick Contest”.  This limerick arrived last week, but it demonstrates the Welsh family’s Love for Sanborn.  Thank you for sharing the poem, Teresa!

There was a 10 year old camper named Mel,
And once while on horseback she fell.
She got back in the saddle,
Though her teeth still did rattle,
Smiling eyes just as clear as a bell!

There was a 9 year old camper named Drew,
Who’s nickname is truly “Drew Blue.”
He dreamed of horses.
And archery courses,
So off to Sanborn he Flew!

There was an 8 year old camper named Chase,
Who was the last to join in the race.
The littlest one,
To join the fun,
And camp in the wide open space!

Well this Valentine’s day we are home,
Wishing to hear from our friends on the phone.
Reading letters from camp,
Sealed with a stamp,
With Sanborn we are never alone!

Opening Keynote: ACA Conference 2011

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Chip Heath: Opening Keynote at the ACA National Conference 2011

In the opening keynote of the 2011 ACA National Conference, Chip Heath, co-author of Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, said camp professionals need to “look for the bright spots” in camp to ascertain what aspects of our youth development are effective and successful.

Humans have the tendency to always see the negative (but, really, HOW positive can you be when it is -24 degrees when you wake up in the morning?), so the trick is to see those genuinely good experiences and build on them by examining how, when and why a certain activity, trip, event at camp, or even staff member is successful.  This is both a skill that takes self-reflection, and—perhaps more importantly—a “growth mindset.”

In Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, she examines Fixed vs. Growth mindsets.  Kids need to develop resilience and persistence in order to function well in adulthood–and to deal with the ups and downs of daily life in their middle, high school, and college experiences.

Do you have a growth mindset?

Yet many kids are NOT gaining these essential life skills–and Dweck attributes this to the mindset they have learned (or not learned).

Some of the key questions she asks to determine if one has a “growth” or “fixed” mindset are:  How do you tackle challenges? With a can-do, excited attitude about finding new solutions…or with a sense you are already somewhat defeated just because there IS a challenge?  How do you react to correction?  With an open mind and desire to improve…or with defensiveness and denial?  How do you react to failure?  With the knowledge that every failure leads you closer to the path of success…or with the resignation of final defeat and the fear of judgment, ridicule, or loss of personal status and power?

Chip Heath and Carol Dweck both see the power of teaching growth mindsets to kids–and encourage us to teach ourselves and our children that “the brain IS a muscle–and we have to use it or you will lose it.”  We have to teach our kids not WHAT to think…but HOW to think.

Camp is an excellent place to learn how to think because, in many cases, it is the first time a child is afforded the opportunity to make decisions and choices on his own…and that process can be both terrifying and empowering.

The conventional wisdom says that change is hard, change is futile, and that people resist–no, even HATE–change.  But Heath says if we look for the bright spots, we will see where change can be easy, and we will empower to our campers, parents, staff, and our camp culture as a whole to embrace new ideas, ways of thinking, and opportunities for developing persistence, creativity, problem solving skills, resilience, and more in our kids–creating happier, healthier, and successful adults in the future.

Meet Our New Program Director

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Pick: Do I have to wear this in the summer?

Hey There!  My name is Brian Picknally and I am the new Program Director at Big Spring Ranch here at Sanborn Western Camps.  Most of the team calls me Pick.  I came to camp as a counselor at Big Spring in the Summer of 2008 between college semesters, and had the chance to return as an instructor at High Trails Outdoor Education Center in the Fall of 2009.

While I do not have an extensive background here in Florissant, I have been impacted greatly in the few seasons I have spent here.  I am very excited about the opportunity to be back at Sanborn to impact the lives of the kids that are going to come through camp this summer!

A little bit about me.  I was born and raised outside Philadelphia, PA and I am a huge Philly Sports fan.  I studied Physical Education at James Madison University in Virginia and really developed a passion for working with and educating kids.  Prior to returning to Sanborn, I worked as an instructor for pre-school aged kids, teaching fitness and movement concepts in the Philadelphia area.  I enjoy an active lifestyle which includes anything outdoors, ** particularly base jumping, hacky sack, and long walks on the beach.

(** I also love spending time with my family and friends, going to the beach, cooking and grilling, reading Calvin & Hobbes, making S’mores, attending sporting events, and listening to/dancing to live music.)

A life experience that I will never forget was bicycling across the United States with my 4 roommates from JMU upon graduating in the Summer of 2009.  The trip began in Harrisonburg, Virginia and ended in Astoria, Oregon, covering 4,000 + miles and 11 different states in 2 ½ months!  It was truly a remarkable experience in which I learned a lot about myself, my best friends, and the beauty and people of this country.  We also had the chance to stop through Sanborn on our journey and spend a few nights here while camp was in-session.  I feel that this experience really ties into the mission of Sanborn Western Camps, which is to live together in the outdoors building a sense of self, community, earth and wonder through fun and adventure.  My roommates and I did just that, day and night, for 2 ½ months.

What does camp mean to me?  To me, camp is a place where individuals grow and learn.  This includes everyone: Big Spring, High Trails, campers, counselors, ridge leaders, wranglers, AC’s, kitchen staff, and the leadership team.  We all benefit from the camp experience in a positive way and are better people because of the time we spend here at camp and at Sanborn in particular.  I remember heading back to the east coast after my first summer and saying “this is a place that I will come back to.”  At the time, I was unsure of how that would look or when that would happen, but I felt it inside me that I would return in some capacity.  That was the impression that Sanborn left on me after just one summer.  For anyone who spends any amount of time here, the effect is lasting and powerful.

That being said, I am stoked to be a part of the leadership team here at Sanborn and I can’t wait for Summer 2011!

I Zigga Zumba

-  Pick

News Update: February 1st, 2011

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

A blast of winter weather has hit us during the past few days and we are experiencing sub-zero temperatures and several inches of snow.  Despite the chill, we are focused on next summer, and are happy that June 1 is now only four months away!

Mike and Julie have enjoyed seeing many of you as they travel through the Midwest with our digital slide show program.  They have appreciated their warm receptions and enthusiasm for the coming summer. We still have a show planned in Boulder, CO on February 23.

February is a busy month as we prepare for the summer of 2011.  A major project throughout the winter is to hire the summer staff—counselors and wranglers, nurses and A.C.s.  We are always so proud of the outstanding college men and women who spend their summers contributing enthusiasm, fun, and nurturing leadership for the young people who attend Big Spring, High Trails, and Sanborn Junior.  We already have a great group of returning staff lined up and are making careful selections among new applicants now.

The National Convention of the American Camp Association will be held in San Diego in mid-February, and we will be participating in full force. Ryan, Elizabeth, Jane, Mike and Ariella will be leading educational sessions at the conference. Mike, as President of the Rocky Mountain Section of the American Camp Association, will be participating in all of the leadership events held at the conference and Jane will be participating in several events as a member of the national Children and Nature Committee.  We are especially excited that our new book, “101 Nature Activities for Kids”, written by Elizabeth and Jane will be released at the conference. Julie, Carlotta, Ashley and Pick will also be attending the conference. This type of training helps us to stay on top of evolving issues and inspires us to continue to improve our program each summer.

Unfortunately, the “Reconnect with Sanborn” reunions planned for January 30 in Greenwich, CT., and New York City had to be rescheduled due to snow on the east coast.  These events will now take place in early March. Our “Reconnect with Sanborn” event in Denver is scheduled for February 27.  This event is also a benefit for the Sandy and Laura Sanborn Scholarship Fund.

We already have a few early calves at the Witcher Ranch, most of them will show up in March.  Maren, Scot Ashley, and Rosie are hard at work preparing the riding program for next summer and making sure the horses are all ready for their busy season.

Alums can look forward to a big news-filled edition of the Alum News in March, and camp families will receive our Getting Ready information early in March.

We are all excited about the community that is coming together for the summer of 2011 and can’t wait to begin the fun. We are happy to mail our brochure and DVD to anyone interested in camp and to provide references for new families.