Archive for October, 2011

Down in the Dump…and happy about it

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Co-mingling at the Dump...not what it USED to be.

Ahhhh! Remember the Good Old Days…

When the dollar was worth more than the Swiss Franc? When Apples and Blackberries were still fruits? When we threw our trash in the dump?

The Dump has been gone now for more than a decade. Today we have a trash compacter, and a 1962 (not kidding) semi trailer that we fill with cardboard and haul down to Colorado Springs three or four times a year for recycling. We spend $600 hauling it down and receive about $400 for the cardboard—but it is the thought that counts, right? We also have three huge recycling bins—one for paper, one for aluminum and one for “co-mingle” which sounds vaguely suggestive but actually means that glass and various metals can get tossed together in there.

But please DO NOT put garbage bags in the co-mingle bin!

Things are not always perfect with the trash compacter either. On at least three separate occasions, the compacter was so heavy when the driver came from Waste Management (don’t you love that name?) to haul it away, that his front wheels would not stay on the ground and he had to dump all the trash out on the ground. Apparently, they can only haul 13 tons or something like that.

But I digress. Back to the dump—which was the ultimate co-mingle. Everything went in the dump. You remember…it was about 50 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 15 feet deep…large enough to hold several trucks. And over the years, it did hold several trucks–when the garbage man miscalculated while backing up or forgot to set the emergency brake (or did set the emergency brake but it didn’t work). Sandy was not happy when this occurred.

The dump was also a fabulous wildlife refuge. How many of you remember hopping in a van in the evening to tour the dump and watch the bears that were always attracted by the pungent aromas coming from the area? There were a few garbage men, however, who had rather frightening encounters with bears at the dump, because, as you will recall, our garbage trucks rarely had windows. One poor guy was seriously upset and ran back to Big Spring when a bear came right through the no-glass back window into the cab. Now the bears walk mournfully around the trash compacter and head off to the back porches at the Big Spring and High Trails Lodges where the aroma is still pungent. It is a sad loss…

Another advantage of the dump was that, if something was accidentally thrown away, you had a chance to retrieve it. The classic example is the retainer that someone wrapped in a napkin during the meal and forgot until a couple of hours later when the trash had already been hauled away. I have personally retrieved at least five retainers from the dump by focusing in on what we had for lunch that day (“Ah! I see taco remnants) and crawling into the dump to search the trash. (always checking of course to make sure no bears were around). It was messy but effective and the retainers could be washed and returned to their grateful owners. Today, however, if a retainer gets to the compacter…you can imagine.

We are much more environmentally conscientious these days, and much more in compliance with a whole bunch of rules made by a whole bunch of bureaucracies, but there are times when I long for the old Dump.

-Jane Sanborn-

Four-Legged Friend: Fiona

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Fiona, or Sweet Fee, as some campers refer to her, is truly one of the sweetest horses you’ll meet at camp.

Fiona is a little bit timid.  She needs a reassuring, calm, soothing rider she can trust, especially at the hitching post and when being saddled, because she gets a little nervous around fast movements.  She loves when campers scrub her with a curry comb–it’s like getting a massage and helps her to relax.  Watch for her to twitch her nose when being groomed!

Once you are on Fiona’ back, she is an incredibly smooth ride.  The slower she jogs, the smoother it is, and with just a kissing sound, she transitions gracefully into a nice, even lope.  She can pick up the speed, too, and is one of our favorite Gymkhana horses.

On the trail, Fiona has been known to dodge away from branches to protect her riders from getting scratched by pine needles or twigs.  She is very aware of her rider at all times, and very willing to please, especially if her rider is sure to praise her by telling her “Good girl,” or scratching her withers (the top of her shoulders).

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Tails from the Barn Coming Soon!

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Introducing: A new section of the Sanborn Blog!  Tails from the Barn will chronicle the lives of our favorite four-legged friends during the on- and off-season at Sanborn.  Ever wonder what CindyLou does all winter long?  Curious about what Popcorn looks like in her full winter coat?  Want to check in on Cowboy?  Here’s where you’ll find that information and more, including Four-Legged Profiles, New Arrivals, Horsey News and Updates all relating to Sanborn’s Riding Program.

Stay tuned for updates on our favorite friendly four-leggeds.


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The Teenage Brain: A Beautiful Thing!

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

A Natural High at the High Ropes Course

Teenagers rejoice! In the October issue of National Geographic, an article entitled Beautiful Brains reveals that many of the traits that cause you (and your parents) headaches and heartaches actually make you, from about age 10-25, some of the most adaptable individuals on the planet.

In a nutshell, the research shows that your love of excitement, novelty, risk, and the company of peers is not only normal, they are universal traits of adolescence. For some “these traits may seem to add up to nothing more than doing foolish new stuff with friends,” but for you—they help prepare you for life on your own.

Teens’ love of excitement and novelty, “sensation seeking”, peaks at age 15. The desire to meet new people and try new things can, theoretically, lead to negative outcomes (depending on the people and the things). Yet, in most cases, sensation seeking is a supremely beneficial trait: by seeking opportunities to meet other people in new situations—much like camp–you better prepare yourself for a world full of people who aren’t exactly like you. Thus, you create a rich pool of varied friends and relationships with your peers, and supportive, healthy adults outside of your immediate family.

New Experiences Above the Clouds

Teenage risk-taking involves the most hand-wringing from their parents, and has recently been attributed to teens “undeveloped” brains. The article showed, however, “teens take more risks not because they don’t understand the dangers but because they weigh risk versus reward differently: In situations where risk can get them something they want, they value the reward more heavily than adults do.” In many cases, the reward is recognition, acceptance and the admiration of their peers.
This “reward” may not seem substantial (especially if, as a parent, you are dealing with any sort of teenage—or tweenage—girl drama), yet teens “gravitate toward peers for another, more powerful reason: to invest in the future rather than the past.” We are born into a world made by our parents, but it is whether we can successfully create and remake our own world that matters…and we need good, healthy friends to help us do it. This reminded me of a story from one of our SOLE trips this summer.

Making dinner on SOLE trip

Every day of the trip, staff members assigned certain “camp life” tasks to certain groups when they arrived at camp. Some campers would put up tents, others would hang the bear bag, while others would prep for and cook dinner. One day, the small group that was supposed to be hanging the bear bag was just hanging out. When asked about the bear bag, they replied, “Oh, we didn’t see how you put it up yesterday, we were waiting for you to help us.” The counselor kindly, but firmly, said, “Figure it out.”

Both the counselor and the campers related that story to me after the trip. The counselor was struggling with what she must not have done during her demonstration; the campers were beyond ecstatic and delighted because, “It took a long time, but we did it ourselves!”

So the counselor should feel validated when author David Dobb states, “when parents engage and guide their teens with a light but steady hand, staying connected but allowing independence, their kids generally do much better in life.” And, after 63 years of doing just that with each and every one of our campers, we know it is true.

As always, the images from the National Geographic article are stunning…but we like to think our own images tell a bit different story of risk-taking, novelty, excitement, and the company of peers. Enjoy!