Archive for July, 2013

News from Camp: July 28, 2013

Monday, July 29th, 2013

We had some fabulous all-day trips on Thursday and Friday.  The weather was warm and sunny and the High Trails Juniors loved their Thursday tubing trip on the South Platte River as did a group of older girls who chose this adventure on Friday.  A group from each camp climbed on the fabulous rocks  at The Crags on the west side of Pikes Peak, and others enjoyed rock scrambling on the camp property.  We also enjoyed fishing trips, canoeing trips, technical rock climbing trips, mountain biking trips, and several extremely fun horseback riding all-days.

We had several trips to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, and campers found many leaves and insects at the special digging site we visit after seeing the huge Sequoia Stumps at the Monument. The Big Spring Junior campers enjoyed this trip on Friday.

Hike the Pike

We have had a full weekend with Saturday Special Activities yesterday morning and Hike the Pike in the afternoon.  For Hike the Pike, campers may choose to hike up to 6 miles, and the camp makes a donation to charity for each mile walked.  Many campers participated and some even did the route twice, walking 12 miles!  Last night we had a coed dance;  the theme of the dance was “Shipwrecked” so there were many fun and creative costumes.

Sunday is always a day to clean-up, organize and get ready for upcoming adventures.  During the afternoon we had a fun in-camp program which included all kinds of games and swimming.  Tonight, each camp will celebrate our traditional Sunday Rocks service at dusk.

We have a lot going on next week.  Both camps have many overnight and all-day trips including mountain climbs, horseback 2-days, Capture the Flag Overnights, River trips,  canoe trips and much more.  This is also the week for our SOLE (Sanborn Outdoor Learning Experience) and CORE (Community Outreach Experience) Trips, offered to campers who have completed the 8th and 9th grades.  Campers choose from trips specializing in mountain climbing, horseback riding, technical rock climbing, and mountain biking.  Each 5-day adventure includes a service component as well as a great deal of learning in the chosen activity area.

Our photographers are hard at work uploading this week’s photos to our website.  You can check them out Monday morning.  Until next week….Jane

The Caring Care Package

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Delicious desserts!

With the excitement, and vitriol, generated by the recent “The Care Package Wars” in The New York Times last Sunday—we wanted to help parents navigate the world of Sanborn care packages.  We allow parents to send packages, and we allow them to send food (read: candy)—but we have a few tips to help your campers keep their focus on their friends, fun and adventure in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and not on the mountain of crumbling cookies occupying the living room.

1.  Like the ancient Greeks, we are seeking to create an idyllic environment where we can discover meaning and order in both the natural world, in ourselves and in our larger community.  To live together in the outdoors building a sense of self, a sense of community, a sense of the earth and a sense of wonder through fun and adventure is a mission Socrates could get behind. If parents can also practice the mantra of “nothing in excess”, we very well could avoid large scale Greek tragedies involving Swedish fish.

2.  Your child has his/her own personal pastry chef (she likes to be called a baker…but it is all semantics when you live in the woods).  Remember the cookies and delicious breads you ate on Opening Day?  Vickie makes them and they are celebrations in baking at elevation.  In our cookies, cakes, breads and other delicious delights are ingredients that are not only identifiable, but are not terrible for you in small quantities (like a single cookie after lunch and dinner).  See number #1

3.  No matter what the letter says, your child will not die without Cocoa Crispies at breakfast.  We promise.

4.  Exponential growth is real.  Consider the following math problem, as care packages increase (roughly by 105% per day), the sample mouse/rodent population ALSO increases roughly 105%.  At Big Spring, where the care packages are stored in the only bear-proof buildings on the ridges—the washhouses—this problem becomes much larger when the washhouse door is inadvertently left ajar.

Save the Squirrels!

5.  Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics.  When aforementioned mice and bears become addicted to Twizzlers, Twix bars, and Pringles, they cease to eat what they are actually supposed to—thus leading to wide-scale environment imbalance and upheaval to the local Montane lifezone.  We do not want to be responsible for mice that are permanently altered, or 9 feet tall, because of their ingestion of GMO’s…we prefer that the Ninja squirrels just steal cookies off of the trays during the Million Dollar buffet.

6.  Another math problem: Elizabeth writes a letter to the following people:  Mom and Dad, Granma Allen, Aunt Sissie, Uncle Mark and her best friend, Alice.  In each letter, Elizabeth says, “Camp is great, but I would LOVE to get a package containing Pringles, Oreo’s and some gum.”  Each of said letter recipients mails requested package.  If every other child in Elizabeth’s cabin (total: 19) writes the exact same number of letters and has the exact same recipient response, how many care packages will arrive at the cabin by the end of the month? That’s right, it’s a little crazy.

6.  No matter what the letter says, your child is not starving to death.  We promise.

7.  Great care package ideas that encourage authentic connection, fun and sharing:

For girls:

  • Embroidery floss and beads for friendship bracelet making
  • Henna kits for hand decoration
  • A ready-made “party in a box”
  • Books/magazines to share and read aloud
  • Mad Libs
  • Board games/playing cards
  • Other fun (small) collectable items like puzzle erasers, inexpensive bracelets,  temporary tattoos, or silly headbands/hair decorations
  • Hair Chalk, nail polish and other fancy group dress-up fun
  • Glo-sticks (bracelets/necklaces)
  • Stickers and the Sunday Comics
  • Cool shirt or Sanborn accessory from the online Camp Cloz store

For Boys:

  • Small Legos (Chima racers are cool…)
  • Cards/Board Games (Brain Teaser games like Rush Hour, or Block by Block, Magic are awesome)
  • Water blasters (foam tube kind)
  • Hammock
  • Bubbles/Putty/or Goop stuff that makes gross noises
  • Pocket knife or cool multi-tool (if age appropriate)
  • Zany sunglasses or other costume accessories
  • Kazoos and whistles (Big Spring staff might not be pleased…)
  • Frisbees/kites/unique outdoor games
  • Books/magazines to read aloud
  • Animal/Wacky T-shirts

8.  If you do send food or cookies, please make sure your camper knows that the food is to share.   At the end of camp, all of the campers donate their leftover care package items to the “Buddha Bowl” (the Buddha has a zen-like, round presence who makes an excellent role model when we are trying to pack over 300 children in a three hour period).

In many ways we are  “dinosaur” camp as well, because we know how fun it is for a child to see his/her name on the “package list” in the lodge…yet we also know that a newsy, fun, handwritten letter—or a few photos printed from the camp website–will beat the heck out of Oreo’s any day of the  week.

From the Camper’s Mouths

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013


Closed Shoes on Hikes!

Out for an afternoon hike!

Currently, the No. 1 problem I know on hikes are… wait for it… CLOSED TOED SHOES! On a recent hike I went on, a counselor – not mine – got her toe split open because she wasn’t wearing the right shoes.

Apparently, it was around twilight, and even though she was looking at the ground, she didn’t see the offending tree stump. (On that note, campers should always bring and use a headlamp or flashlight!) Due to the fact she was wearing flip flops, she ended up losing a good inch-long chunk of skin.

She was in excurciating pain as our wonderful nurse cleaned the cut. Let me tell you, as the poor counselor was being taken care of, she was practically squeezing my hand to death as she held it. So fellow campers, counselors, parents and whoever else may read this, WEAR THE RIGHT SHOES!

By Rian C. from Cedar Lodge West


I’m Chloe M., from Crystal Palace East. This week we had our cabinside overnight! The incredible trip ranged from having pooping in the woods talks, exhilerating backpacking, visiting a ranch, and even eating chocolate crèpes! Even though the backpacking was only about 5 miles round-trip, the sights we saw were incredible! We saw gorgeous birds and heard their sweet melody, watched tall and slender aspen groves sway in the wind and smelled a mix of sappy oaks, fresh rain and harmony in our amazing campground. Oh! I almost forgot! Last night was a picturesque full moon! It lit up the whole sky and even cast eerie but beautiful shadows across the fields. Tonight my cabinside will perform our cabinside overnight skit, and we’ll be sure to get a laugh out of High Trails :) This week was completely made of memory making! The first day or two I was really homesick, but High Trails can sure brighten up any spirit!

By Chloe M. from Crystal Palace East


By Stephanie B.

Crystal, the Bride

On our cabinside overnight we got to out campsite really early and hung out for a while. It was really fun because everyone got to know each other really well. After lunch we played a few card games and then planned Fred and Crystal’s wedding. Fred is our flashlight and Crystal is his rock wife. At the last minute we realized Crystal didn’t have a wedding dress, so we made her one! At sunset we went to the top of the hilland made an aisle with pinecones and assigned parts to each person. I was the flower girl, but there was also a mother, father, photographer, priest, best man, second best man, tailor, and audience. Before the wedding the “father” had a pep talk with Crystal the rock. The “Priest” accidentally said, “you may say your vowels”instead of saying vows! The “parents”started crying during the wedding. As the “dad”was walking with Crystal down the aisle we started beat-boxing “Here Comes the Bride”and everyone started dancing including the “father”who was dancing down the aisle with Crystal. After about 2 minutes they somehow decided to have a baby…A toothbrush.

The whole wedding was hilarious! The whole experience of my cabinside overnight was so fun! We were all laughing so hard and I got really close to my cabinside. I’m so excited for the rest of 2nd session!

The SSW Cabinside Overnight

By Abby G.  from Silver Spruce West

The Silver Spruce West overnight was a blast! We went from Monday the 22nd to Tuesday the 23rd. We left Monday morning with our backpacks on and ready to hike out to our beautiful campsite, Aspen Spring, just beyond Top of the World. Setting up tents was first on our list of to-do’s, then we had a “scrumdidlyumpcious” lunch of pita sandwiches. We played some games after, such as “Eagle”, “Hunger Games”, and “Bob”. We rock scambled on a tiny bluff by us, and then had a rest period. We played more games. We had a nice dinner of chicken fajitas, then followed by a dessert of cookie cake because one of the girls in our cabin, Casey S., had her birthday on Monday. We watched the sunset from the bluffs by our campsite while our AC read aloud to us from “Molly Moon”. We heard some coyotes, which later turned out to be Kinnikinnik West and Columbine East and West communicating with us. We slept under the stars that night and had a few shooting star sightings and four airplane sightings. That morning we had breakfast crepes for breakfast, and the packed up. The rest of the morning was pretty uneventful except for seeing a doe. We left at 10:30am and were greeted at camp by a lunch of burgers, fries, and soda, the special Sanborn “McDonalds day” lunch. We all showered shortly after, and can’t wait to have more fun times this summer!

News from Camp: Opening Day 2nd Session

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Opening Day is always exciting, and we were extremely happy to greet our Second Term Campers today.  Although we had clouds for much of the day we only had two brief rain showers and they did not dampen our activities at all.  Luggage was barely unpacked before camp activities began.

When the buses arrive you can hear the elated cheers from reunited friends from one end of camp to the other!

The stables were busy with Ride-Out and Basic Preparation, shouts came from the volleyball courts and the new Gaga Pits, and the sounds of old friends reconnecting and new friendships forming were everywhere.  Tent and cabin groups played “Getting Acquainted” and “Team Building” games to facilitate the formation of these important living unit communities.  The energy and enthusiasm is contagious.

Tomorrow and Sunday, our program will begin in earnest and we will have half-day hikes heading out to A-Bluff, Top of the World, the Crystal Beds and other favorite destinations.  Basic Preparation will continue at both stables, and we will have introductory sessions in rock climbing and camping skills.  We’ll also begin craft projects, activities at the Interbarn science center, tennis, fishing, and sports.  Junior campers will be hiking, riding, swimming, playing tennis, and learning camping skills at the Mountain Odyssey program during their first two days.

Over the weekend, we will be signing up for trips that go out throughout the term.  High Trails and Big Spring campers will choose from many exciting possibilities including mountain climbs, horseback trips, tubing on the South Platte River and wilderness backpacking trips.  Counselors and senior staff members will be on hand to help campers select those trips which best fit individual interests.  Sanborn Junior campers do not sign up for trips; their program includes several exciting all-day trips in addition to their overnight camping trips.

Tomorrow night, Opening Campfires will be held at both Big Spring and High Trails.  These are always lots of fun and include great singing and Broadway quality skits.  On Sunday evening we will celebrate our first Sunday Rocks services at both camps.

We’ll begin trips on Monday and Tuesday with our living unit overnights on the ranch, and will provide more detailed information on those and all of next week’s activities in our regular e-mail and website update on Sunday.  Each Sunday evening, we will also send an e-mail to camp families about our activities and we will post photos of activities taken during the previous week on our website.  Although we can’t promise to show every camper or every activity, we hope these photos will provide a glimpse into life at camp for families and friends.  Our photographers will also post some photos from today which will be available for viewing tomorrow morning.  Until Sunday……..

News from Camp: July 14, 2013

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Big Spring Summit Pride

Another great week has come to a close.  The boys returned Thursday and Friday from their long trips excited about their adventures. Many of them backpacked through alpine wilderness and climbed some of Colorado’s highest peaks—Mt. Massive, La Plata Peak, Mt. Columbia, Pikes Peak, and Mt. Democrat and Mt. Sherman. One group backpacked and fished in the spectacular Buffalo Peaks Wilderness Area for four days while another backpacked along the Colorado Trail for five days.  Committed horseback riders spent the week exploring much of the beautiful National Forest to our West, including 39-Mile Mountain and Puma Hills.

The girls had a full week of all-day trips, and overnight trips including two-day horseback rides, mountain climbs, and technical rock climbing.  They also enjoyed tubing/rafting trips on the South Platte River and challenged themselves at our High Ropes Course.  One exceptional group of hikers climbed Pikes Peak in one day!  After four weeks of hardy outdoor living, many of the girls were excited to spend Thursday shopping in the resort town of Breckenridge.

The Junior campers enjoyed another super campout, some great hikes and horseback rides, swimming, and crafts, as well as an all-day hike to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument followed by the opportunity to dig for their own fossils. They were especially enthusiastic about their all-day tubing trip on the South Platte River.

Gertrude and her cleaning crew

Some major special events took place this week including the JC Dinner on Monday night, the High Trails Talent Show on Wednesday, and  the Miss Sanborn Competition at High Trails on Thursday night.  The theme of the JC Dinner was “Harry Potter” and each cabinside came in costume and presented a song or skit.   The Miss Sanborn Pageant is a spoof in which campers choose a character for their counselor, dress them, and help them prepare a “talent”.  Contestants this year included Gertrude, the Sanborn Cleaner, a coffee mug and Uncle Sanborn.

Our final weekend has been packed! On Friday evening, Big Spring enjoyed the Counselor Hunt, while High Trails had an energetic girls only dance party.  Our annual Gymkhana took place on Saturday morning. This series of games on horseback is fun for both the participants and their cheering squads.  On Saturday evening, everyone enjoyed the all-camp Drama Presentation.  On Sunday, both camps celebrated their final vespers service.

Tomorrow will bring packing, last-chance activities, closing dinner and closing campfires at each camp.  On Tuesday, we will be sad to see this wonderful group of campers leave.  However, we are looking forward to the arrival of our Second Term campers on Friday.
Until next week…

News from Camp: July 7, 2013

Monday, July 8th, 2013

summer snowfield fun

We have had another great week at camp!  Big Spring, High Trails and Sanborn Junior shared a special Fourth of July dinner on Friday night (since everyone was out-of-camp on trips on the actual Fourth.  On Saturday, many campers joined in our “Hike the Pike” in which campers and staff walk up to six miles to raise money for charity.  This was followed in the evening by a fun “Neon Dance”—everyone wore their brightest clothes!

Long trips at High Trails returned Thursday and Friday exuberant about their adventures and accomplishments. The four-day Elbert-Massive Backpack climbed 14,443’ Mt. Elbert and 14,421’ Mt. Massive (Colorado’s two highest peaks).  The Colorado Trail five-day trip backpacked 25 miles along the Continental Divide and climbed 14,077’ Mt. Columbia.  The four-day Pikes Peak backpack reached the top of that famous Fourteener on Wednesday.  Two groups of climbers reached the top of 14,036 Mt. Sherman and another group summited 14,036 Mt. Democrat.  The Buffalo Peaks four-day backpack reached the top 13,326’ West Buffalo Peaks, and the four-day Oxford/Belford backpack trip summited both 14,153’ Mt. Oxford and 14,197’ Mt. Belford.  The girls on the four-day backpack trip in the beautiful Tarryall Mountains were elated by their experience, and another group backpacked for four days on Mt. Silverheels, reaching the 13,829’ top on Wednesday. The four- and five-day horse trips had a great time exploring wilderness areas south and west of camp, and the paddlesports trip enjoyed the waters of 11-Mile Reservoir.

Big Spring campers enjoyed many exciting overnight and all-day trips last week including climbs of Quandary Peak (14,265’), La Plata Peak (14,361’), Mt. Shavano (14,231), and Tabeguache Peak (14,155’). The boys also had fun on horseback overnights, river trips, canoe all-days and overnights, technical rock climbing overnights, a mountain biking overnight, and fishing all-days and overnights.

The Second Term of Sanborn Junior campers arrived Tuesday; they have been enthusiastic and energetic about their activities this week.  They had outstanding overnight campouts on Thursday night and have also enjoyed horseback riding, swimming, crafts, hikes and nature programs at the Interbarn.

Next week, Big Spring will head out on three-, four-, and five-day backpacking trips, mountain climbs and horse-pack trips.  High Trails has a variety of overnights and all-days planned including an all-camp trip to the resort town of Breckenridge on Thursday.  Sanborn Junior campers are looking forward to another campout, more horseback riding, an all-day tubing trip on the South Platte River, and an all-day hike to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.

Until next week…

News from Camp: June 30, 2013

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Our week ended really well with three successful 14er climbs on Friday.  Quandary Peak and Mt. Huron were conquered by groups from High Trails, and a coed SOLE Mountain group summitted Mt. Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak.  Everyone returned to camp Friday night excited by their adventures and happy to be back with everyone at camp for the weekend.

SOLE on the Summit

We have had a busy weekend.  Yesterday’s Saturday Special Activities were fun in the morning; in the afternoon, our planned carnival was rained out, but we were so grateful for the rain, and everyone appreciated having a little relaxing tent and cabin time.  The rain ended before dinner and we were able to include some key features of the carnival (cotton candy snow cones, and popcorn!) before the dance began.  The dance had a Heros theme and many, many sheets became capes for the event.  Today, we prepared for next week’s trips, and both camps will end the day with our traditional vespers services.  The boys climb to the top of Little Blue for this special celebration and the girls go to “Sunday Rocks” on B-Bluff.

We were sad to see our First Term Juniors depart today—they have been a wonderful group, and we are grateful for our time together.  We look forward to greeting our Second Session Junior campers on Tuesday.

Next week, the girls will leave camp for three-, four- and five-day trips.  Some will head out on horse pack trips; others have chosen four- and five-day high mountain backpacks into some of Colorado’s most pristine wilderness.  Other trips will be based in spectacular alpine areas like Silver Heels and Kite Lake near Alma.  Many groups will have the opportunity to climb mountains, and we know that our summit count will grow.

Big Spring has planned an exciting program of overnights and all-day trips including mountain climbing trips to Quandary Peak, La Plata Peak, and Mts. Shavano and Tabeguache.  The boys will also be horseback riding, fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing, camping on the ranch and tubing on the river.  Their “long trips” are scheduled for the week of July 8.

We will post photos from the week on our website later tonight.  Keep watching our Facebook page too—we have posted some stunning photos lately.

Best Regards, Jane