Archive for February, 2013

Learning for Life at Summer Camp

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

The COEC Team in Dallas!

Many of us have just returned from the American Camp Association National Conference in Dallas, and I want to share a little of what we learned.  The theme of the conference was “Camp:  Learning for Life” and we heard over and over again the same message:  The skills that children need in order to succeed in the 21st century are not the cognitive skills that are measured by standardized tests in the classroom; they are character skills like enthusiasm, perseverance, empathy, optimism, and self-control.  These skills are the best predictors of happy, healthy adulthood.

We heard psychologist Madeline Levine, author of the 2012 best-selling book “Teach Your Children Well”, tell us that children do not gain self-esteem when adults tell them they are smart or talented; they gain self-esteem only from true accomplishment—from riding the horse or climbing the mountain, or successfully making friends in an environment away from home—an environment like camp.

We listened to Mawi Asgedom, who came to the United States as a refugee from Ethiopia, graduated at the top of his class at Harvard, and has dedicated his life to helping young people set and achieve their goals.  His message again stressed that our society has placed too much emphasis on grades and academic achievement, and that what young people need are social and emotional skills like networking, creativity, and ability to problem solve.

Paul Tough’s book, “How Children Succeed:  Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character”, has climbed to the top of the New York Times Best Seller list and his title says it all.  He spoke about his research and also about the power of adult mentors to help young people gain success—adult mentors like those found in camps.

And, finally, we heard from Dr. Gary Krahn, the Head of Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, about the importance of taking kids outdoors and getting them out of the classroom and into the natural world.

Of course, all of this was music to our ears, and we came away from the conference both affirmed in the critical education we are providing at Big Spring and High Trails, and inspired to do it better.  As most of you alums will realize from your time at camp, these are not new concepts at Sanborn.  In fact, building a place where children could learn the social and emotional skills critical for successful adulthood, was a foundational principle for Sandy and Laura.  And we are still doing it today.

All the research and evidence is pointing in one direction:  The camp experience plays a more vital role in each child’s educational journey today than ever before.  We are committed to helping children and young adults learn for life.

Getting ready for the ACA Conference

Friday, February 8th, 2013

February can be a long month (despite the fact that it is the shortest month). December and January flew by with anticipation and enjoyment of the holiday season, but February seems to last a bit longer. Everyone is looking forward to something: Spring, better skiing (hopefully), warmer weather and much more. However, before we get to any of this, we have to make it through February.

Thankfully, the ACA National Conference in Dallas is next week, which will give all of us at camp the revitalization and inspiration to stride through February, and the rest of the winter with ease. At the conference, we will hear keynote speeches by Peg Smith and Madeline Levine, Mawi Asgedom, Dr. Lorena Gonzalez, Paul Tough and Gary Krahn. All of these speakers have different experiences, skills and messages to share with the rest of the camping world; we will be sure to bring back some great ideas!

The conference lasts for four days and will be filled with breakout sessions, exhibit halls,  luncheons, and other great activities. People from all over the country and the world will be at the conference, sharing ideas, passions and excitement for camping! During the conference, we will be updating our Facebook page, uploading pictures to our Instagram, and tweeting about our travels. Make sure that you check-in to see what everyone at camp is up to!
If you want to experience the conference for yourself, check out some of these books and other information about the keynote presenters…

Peg Smith has had close to thirty years of experience with children. She has worked with many organizations including, Head Start, the Governors Step Ahead Initiative, Indiana Youth Initiative and is currently the chief executive officer of the American Camp Association.

Madeline Levine is the author of four books, Viewing Violence, See No Evil: A Guide to Protecting our Children from Media Violence, The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids and Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success. Currently she is a practicing psychologist in California, constantly working on issue’s with adolescent development.

Mawi Asgedom is the author of the book, Of Beetles and Angels and The Third Harmony. Of Beetles and Angels is the story of Mawi’s incredible journey from a refugee camp in Sudan then to Chicago, and then to Harvard University. He has since started the Mawi Learning program through which he reaches out to educators and students with information on leadership and leadership training.

Dr. Lorena Gonzalez is the co-author of the book, Inheritance: Discovering the Richness of Latino Culture and Heritage. She has worked with many Hispanic and Latino communities in an effort to revitalize and sustain them through the organization, Urban Strategies. She also has worked with developing leadership programs for individuals, groups and communities through AVANCE.

Paul Tough is the author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character. This book is about giving less praise to test scores and the academic achievement of children, and putting more emphasis on non-cognitive skills and a child’s character in terms of success. Tough has spoken many times on this topic, as well as poverty and parenting.

Dr. Gary Krahn is the head of the Trinity Valley School, a K-12 school in Fort Worth, TX. He has extensively presented on his effort to successfully guide children into a world filled with unknowns, ever-changing technology, politics, and economy.

Check out all of these people, pick up their books and go to their websites! We are all looking forward to hearing what they have to say, and integrating their information into camp.

Work on the New High Trails Health Center Begins

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

The Next Teller County Planning Commissioners, Mike and Jane. Veni. Vidi. Vici.

We are very happy to announce that we have begun work on a brand new Health Center at High Trails. This building was one of the projects designated in our 2008-11 Sanborn 60 Capital Campaign. Thanks to the generosity of our alums and many camp friends, the funds for the building project are available and we are now putting them to use.

The new Health Center will stand on the site of the old infirmary/Pooh Corner so the first step in the process is to demolish the old building. We are doing that now and have some photos and video up on Facebook to show the progress. Designed by Big Spring alum Dan Miller, the new building will have raised ceilings and light and airy rooms. There will be private rooms for two nurses, a room with several beds, two isolation rooms and multiple ADA accessible bathrooms. The central area is open and spacious and will be an attractive space for meeting campers, dispensing medication, removing splinters, and all the other things our nurses do on a daily basis.

Everything about the new Health Center will be upgraded—floors, bathrooms, light fixtures, etc.—and everything will meet new standards for providing best practice health care during camp. We will be documenting the progress on Facebook throughout the Spring—and will be very excited to share this new facility with 2013 High Trails campers when camp begins!

Former Nurse Quarters=Al Fresco Living

February News Update

Friday, February 1st, 2013

February 1, 2013

January brought us true Colorado winter weather this year.  Our days ranged in temperature from 20 below zero to 60 above.  We have had some snow, which we are grateful for, and the high mountains of Colorado have received quite a lot of snow.  A large herd of elk has been grazing by our front gate and we are seeing a lot of deer throughout the forests of camp.

Mike and Elizabeth have enjoyed seeing many of you as they traveled through the Midwest with our digital slide show program.  They have appreciated their warm receptions and enthusiasm for the coming summer.

February is a busy month as we prepare for the summer of 2013.  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 Dallas in mid-February, and we will be participating in full force. Jane is the Chairperson for this year’s conference and has been working on an outstanding educational program for many months.  Chris, Mike, Elizabeth, and Ariella will be leading educational sessions at the conference. Mike, as Chairperson of the Rocky Mountain Region of the American Camp Association, will be participating in all of the leadership events held at the conference.
Carlotta, Ian, Kelly, Rob, WillO, and David 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.

We have exciting facility news!  Next week we will begin work on a brand new Health Center at High Trails.  The new Health Center will be exactly where the old Health Center has been.  It will be up and running by the time camp starts this summer!  We will be following its progress on our Facebook page, if you would like to check it out!

Maren, Rosie and Jenny are hard at work preparing the riding program for next summer and making sure the horses are all ready for their busy season.  It won’t be long before we start having new calves at the Witcher Ranch.

We are all excited about the community that is coming together for the summer of 2013 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.