Archive for February, 2012

Wordless Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

“If we’re ever going to get the world back on a natural footing, back in tune with natural rhythms, if we’re going to nurture the Earth and protect it and have fun with it and learn from it – which is what mothers do with their children – then we’ve got to put technology … in its proper place, which is that of a tool to be used sparingly, joyfully, gently and only in the fullest cooperation with nature. Nature must govern technology, not the other way around.”

- Tom Robbins







The Happy Wanderer(s) — Jeff Joyce & Stacy Robinson

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

As much as Jeff and Stacey loved the four-a-week hoedowns at HTOEC, it was time to move along.

Since last fall, the two moved back east to Harrisonburg, Virginia. Stacey began working for the VA hospital as a case manager with a program called “Hand-in Hand.”

Jeff has been working “like a mad-man,” Stacey told me, launching a number of food trucks in northern Virginia. Jeff has three trucks ready to launch by St. Patrick’s Day.

“We just hired a General Manager who is creating the menu and spends his days making food for the first truck – drum roll please … its going to be a chili and mac-n-cheese truck!” Stacey said. “We eat our body weight in mac-n-cheese tasting all the different variations.”

Ahem … commence Chili Dance.

They hope to have 49 trucks (whoa!) over the course of the next few years. And even though it’s a lot of work, they’re excited to embark a creative endeavor.

So what else goes on in rural Harrisonburg? Well …

“Outside that, we have been training for the Shenandoah 100 miler!” Stacey said. “It’s a 100-mile mountain bike race that just very well may be the end of us. It’s in September, so we got some time to beef up and get ready.”

Oh yeah. Almost forgot.

Jeff and Stacey will be getting married on June 9! We shall keep you posted on the two’s big day.

Until then, hands up, chili chili.

(This is part two of a series entitled, “The Happy Wanderer,” which explores what interesting things our Sanborn alum are doing these days.)







ACA Conference

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Last week 10 of us ventured to Atlanta for the ACA National Conference. The overall theme of the conference

Jane Sanborn and her entourage!

was Convergence: Vision, Learning, Innovation. This was an exciting opportunity for our staff to continue our professional development as youth and outdoor educators and camp professionals. And it was a great week! Our very own Jane Sanborn was the conference program chair. She and the conference team lined up wonderful session and keynote speakers, fun night programs, and a variety of exhibitors for the exhibit hall.  We were all able to go to a variety of educational sessions presented by child development and camp professionals – sessions that emphasized the importance of what we do best: provide exceptional outdoor experiences for children. We were able to network with other camp professionals. We left energized and motivated for the summer! It is fun for us to come back and share all that we have learned with each other and start incorporating new ideas into our summer and school weeks programs.

We had great keynote speakers including, Dr. Christine Carter (author of Raising Happiness), Richard Louv, Sanborn alum, Rod Lucero, and Niambi Jaha-Echols. Each speech was relevant to and encouraging of what we do at camp.

Dr. Carter started the week sharing the importance of teaching and cultivating life skills such as gratitude, kindness, and growth campers – all things that we know about and do at camp! Dr. Carter is a strong believer of Growth Mindset – the belief that someone is successful due to hard work and effort, as well as innate ability. At camp, it is important to us that campers are challenged to try new things and encouraged through the process. We believe that campers and staff can grow and learn from our trips and activities. Being able to try new things is one of the great things about camp and campers having the ability to choose their own trips and activities.

Richard Louv emphasized the role camps play in continuing to get children outside. In his speech he told us how he was jealous of his friend who left Kansas every summer to go to camp…specifically, his friend left Kansas and spent his summers at Sanborn. He spoke of the growing importance of camp and getting outside, as our world becomes more technology-driven.

Rod Lucero helped us better understand the importance of camps continuing the education from schools. Relevance, Rigor, and Relationships are the foundation of education, and according to Lucero, without them, reading, writing, and arithmetic don’t matter. At camp, we help make education relevant. The foundation of Sanborn is education. We continue to learn and pass our knowledge on to all Colorado Outdoor Education Center participants.

Niambi Jaha-Echols provided us with an inspiring and humorous closing session. According to Jaha-Echols, camp provides us the opportunities to transform into new beings – from caterpillars to butterflies. It is important to us that we provide campers with the space and support to understand and grow into the people they are supposed to be. We are lucky to have 6,000 acres, amazing counselors, and a great variety of trips and activities to help all campers grow as individuals into butterflies.

We look forward to continuing to share our learnings with you and incorporate them into our 2012 summer.







Wordless Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012


Suppose we did our work

like the snow, quietly, quietly.

leaving nothing out.

–Wendell Berry







Evolving Education: how schools can kill creativity

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

(This is an introduction to a series entitled, “Evolving Education,” exploring topics such as children’s literacy, how to inspire creativity, and the our various types of experimental education)

Ken Robinson gives us his hilarious perspective on the education system and gives us some startling thoughts of how education is killing our children’s creativity. So the question is, as educators during the summer months and in schools, what can we do to awaken our student’s imagination again?

“What these things have in common is that kids will take a chance. If they don’t know, they’ll have a go. Am I right? They’re not frightened of being wrong. Now, I don’t mean to say that being wrong is the same thing as being creative. What we do know is, if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original — if you’re not prepared to be wrong. And by the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity. They have become frightened of being wrong. And we run our companies like this, by the way. We stigmatize mistakes. And we’re now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. And the result is that we are educating people out of their creative capacities. Picasso once said this — he said that all children are born artists. The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up. I believe this passionately, that we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather, we get educated out if it. So why is this?”


“But something strikes you when you move to America and when you travel around the world: Every education system on earth has the same hierarchy of subjects. Every one. Doesn’t matter where you go. You’d think it would be otherwise, but it isn’t. At the top are mathematics and languages, then the humanities, and the bottom are the arts. Everywhere on Earth. And in pretty much every system too, there’s a hierarchy within the arts. Art and music are normally given a higher status in schools than drama and dance. There isn’t an education system on the planet that teaches dance everyday to children the way we teach them mathematics. Why? Why not? I think this is rather important. I think math is very important, but so is dance. Children dance all the time if they’re allowed to, we all do. We all have bodies, don’t we? Did I miss a meeting? (Laughter) Truthfully, what happens is, as children grow up, we start to educate them progressively from the waist up. And then we focus on their heads. And slightly to one side.”

- Sir Ken Robinson







Cindy Lou- Blue Eyed Girl

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Cindy Lou with her thick winter coat

Cindy Lou

Color: Bay

Gender: Mare

Breed: Quarter Horse Cross

Cindy Lou is a very popular horse around these parts. She is ridden by just about everyone at camp- from Silver Spruce campers up to JCs, riding counselors, wranglers, and those of us that work with the horses all year. We love her!

Besides being able to get around camp’s extensive acreage with ease, Cindy Lou has gone on just about every Horse Long Trip that Sanborn has to offer. She’s been to the Puma Hills, around 39 Mile Mountain, Sledgehammer, Black Mountain, the Corduroys, and to Split Tank.

Cindy Lou with a camper friend on the 39 Mile Mountain Long Trip

Cindy also has amazing skills at being a “ranch horse.” From knowing how to work cows, to being an expert at moving horses from one of our big pastures to another, she loves to have a job. She also enjoys running around High Tor and Quicks’ pastures on the search for some of our sneaky herd who like to play hide and seek on warm summer mornings.

Cindy Lou has a unique blue eye that she likes to assess situations with.  She always wants to know what she’s getting herself into before making the next move!

Click here for more Tails from the Barn.
Find more Four-Legged Friends here!







A few camper stories

Friday, February 17th, 2012

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

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

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

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







To See A New Color

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

A recent blog post from Simon Ings tells us how we need to start seeing differently:

“We humans acquired the means, very late in our evolution, to perceive a world of colour – and every day we spend phenomenal amounts of energy making the world even more colourful than it would otherwise be, with face paints and aniline dyes, fabrics and photographs, paints, powders and moving images everywhere.

But the further we leave our terrestrial environments behind, the more we confront a relatively colourless universe. At best, the Martian sky is mauve. The rings of Saturn are dun brown. The Moon is black and white. Or is it? Today, with a decent telescope and a digital camera, any keen amateur astronomer can demonstrate that the Moon is full of colour – but can our unaided eyes, so spoiled by life on earth, ever appreciate its de-saturated motley?

Exposed to radiations from which they were normally shielded by the Earth’s atmosphere, the earliest astronauts – balloonists with the US Air Force’s Man High and Excelsior projects –saw colours they conspicuously failed to identify on a Pantone chart. There are, after all, new colours to be discovered in space – but to see them, we need new eyes …”


Wicked.







The Sanborn Semester: Education at Its Peak

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Live It.

We begin the new year with some exciting news!

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

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

Learn It.

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

Be It.

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

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

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

We look forward to hearing from you!







The Happy Wanderer — Falcon Craft-Rubio

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

(This is part one of a series entitled, “The Happy Wanderer,” which explores what interesting things our Sanborn alum are doing these days.)

Our fellow Big Spring Warrior, HTOEC teacher, and Art Barn extraordinaire, Falcon Craft-Rubio, headed back to Texas this winter and began an interesting creative company with his family called Bexar Goods Co..
Check out this video where, yes indeed, that’s Falcon hammering away:
I was able to get a hold of this busy bee recently, and he gave me some good perspective on not only his business model, but how Sanborn helped pave the way:

David: This is such an interesting creative field to move into–how excited are you about everything that’s going on? How has this changed things for you?
Falcon: Its an exciting new adventure. It’s been a learning experience. I’ve had a lot of fun designing and becoming more familiar with hand-crafted goods.  We all have enjoyed each step of starting Bexar Goods Co.
D: So how did the whole Bexar operation begin? Out of a dream? Out of the BS craft shop?
F: Bexar Goods was inspired by rugged classic designs . The initial idea was to start with a quality made wallet or bag.  Then expanding on that idea of well made durable products. Bexar Goods is different from a lot because of the quality and promise of our products. We are not a trend based company. Bexar Goods started to create products we wanted to use ourselves. For the active, rugged and adventurous man.
D: What’s been your role thus far, and has this been an entirely new thing for you, and/or what’s been a challenge in starting a whole company?
F: Bexar Goods Co is a collaborative operation along with Christian Craft (brother) and Guy Rubio (cousin).  We equally have had input and creative leadership on each of our diverse products.   Creatively we had no outside help, it was all in the family. We first started with the concept and mission.  Then we created our makers mark that prompted our product and website design. Each Bexar Goods design is an overall group effort to insure that the vision is executed to meet our standards.  What’s great about Bexar Goods is that we build off of each other. I might have an idea for a new product and both Christian and Guy will build on it to make it better.  I work specifically as the one of the craftsman, stitching our carry goods.  As well as designing new products.
D: Where did the name “Bexar” (pronounced “bear”, correct?) come from? And how did it all begin, basically?
F: Its the county we live in. Also has multiple meanings and true to the origin, Bear, Bare, and Bexar. Natural, raw and where we are from.
D: Are there any ideas/skills/dreams that came from Sanborn? Or was this something you started to dream up before you came/in the off months of camp?
F: Sanborn Western Camps is an inspiring place itself and teaches a lot of self discovery and encourages people, young and old to grow and learn about the outdoors. Bexar Goods is a company based on these same principles. We don’t have limitations, we are free to grow in any which way we desire.
D: What makes your company different from anything else out there? (product-wise, materials, vision/mission)
F: Bexar Goods Co. is quality hand-made products that instills the ideas of proud local products that a lot of the bigger corporations claim but not necessarily execute correctly.  Bexar Goods promises each product is individualistic, and built to be handed to the next generation.  The materials we use are of the highest quality and bought locally in America.
D: Would your product outlast a 5-day horse trip/a summer at camp / hail, lightening, hellstorm-proof?
F: Well only if Claude approves. Flashy might put our products to the test.
D: Where do you see yourselves at the end of 2012?
F: We would like to continue making the highest quality products and striving to improve and being well-respected.
D: Do you all make Ella-size (Ryan & Ashley’s) baby tote bags/baby bjorns (Christmas idea)?
F: She can have anything she wants.
D: Anything you would like all your campers (fans) to know?
F: I Zigga Zumba.
D: Any other thoughts on Bexar for now?
F: We wanted to thank Sanborn for supporting our small family business and for being that special place where people can continue to learn and exceed expectations. Thank you for everything , Falcon Craft-Rubio.