Archive for February, 2014

(Nearly) Spring Cleaning!

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Jerry came out of his office the other day and didn’t see his shadow, so we decided to do a little Spring cleaning! Over the past two days we shoveled the snow from around High Trails lodge in preparation for school weeks and organized and cleaned in the Big Spring office.

We learned a lot of valuable lessons this morning while cleaning the office. There are at least five different locations (four being various shelving units throughout the upstairs office) where collections of Jane Sanborn’s “Bag of Tricks II,” a wonderful book of games and activities for children of all ages, can be found.

There are at least four different locations where one can find empty 3-ring binders of varying color, size, and  sticker residue. Some hard decisions were made in going through the notebooks, and we have decided that perhaps we won’t order more 3-ring binders for a while. At least for this coming summer.

But don’t worry, our very own Jerry McLain brought donuts this morning, so moral stayed high in the face of dust, Johnny Domenico’s old program director binders, and unidentifiable electronic cords that we really hope we won’t need anytime in the near future. As much as we love shoveling and cleaning, though, we can’t wait to get some kids up here!

Big Spring Journeys to the Center of the Earth

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

The day began at the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum, where, although it was their off season, they had graciously offered to give us a tour of the surface mine in Victor. We waited in the museum around a portable propane heater (they will have year-round heat and a bathroom by next year) until our van/tour bus arrived.

For whatever reason we weren't given orange vests.

Our knowledgeable driver, Dick, apologized the first few minutes the few times he drew a blank—he hasn’t driven a tour since fall. We began by driving through the historic downtown of Victor, and then moved on to the surface mine overlooking the town. We drove 1,000 feet down to the base of a dig, were shown where the raw materials are brought, and finally allowed to climb on one of their retired trucks, which, years ago when full of its rock load, weighed over 1 million pounds.

We ate a pleasant lunch at one of the many trailheads winding and looping around the old Victor mines, where in the summer we hope to bring the campers.

Our afternoon began at the Pikes Peak Heritage Museum in Cripple Creek, built in 2007. It is a beautiful facility, and we were given the scavenger hunt that school groups are given when in the center. Mike Piel was the only one who seemed to care enough about completing the scavenger hunt, and completed all but 2 questions, due to time. We also watched a very informative 30-minute film on the origins of the mines in Cripple Creek and Victor.

Last was the jail museum, where we were allowed to wander in and out of the old cells, graffiti from inmates still covering the walls. Some of us were even locked inside the cells—temporarily, of course.

With all this great new information we can’t wait to rework our summer Cripple Creek trip, and to create our new all-day trip to Victor!

Field Trip Day

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

The Big Spring Boys are out today adventuring around Victor and Cripple Creek with the goal of adding some new excitement to the summer all-day trips! Check back tomorrow for full details of their adventures!

#Manwasthe2014ACANational ConferenceinOrlandoFloridareallyfun

Monday, February 17th, 2014

We returned from the ACA National Conference in Orlando, Florida, a little over a week ago, but are still fondly remembering the muggy, rainy, dark, sometimes cold, but then sometimes muggy again, overcast days.

We were in Orlando from Tuesday February 4th, until Saturday February 8th, and gosh did we learn a lot. First off, our very own Jane Sanborn was the Program Chair of the conference, not to mention the proud recipient of a National Honor Award. We supplied whooping, hollering, whistles, and applause dragged out as long as would be socially acceptable.

Peg Smith, the CEO of the ACA, was the first keynote Wednesday, who began what would become the ongoing conversation at the conference of what she coined the trifecta between “brain-based learning experiences, connections with nature, and the benefits of play.” We always just thought camp was fun, but who knew there’s some scientific evidence saying it’s good for you, too? Following Peg was Dr. Tina Payne Bryson, a brilliant and charismatic psychotherapist, school counselor, and recent author, who continued showing the tangible evidence of how summer camp and communicating effectively with our children can help them become happier, healthier, and “more fully themselves.”

Thursday’s keynotes included Adam Grant, an author and wonderful speaker, pinpointing the three major personalities we encounter throughout our life, and particularly in the workplace. Constantly humorous and poignant, Adam helped to liven up the grey Thursday. Friday’s keynote was Rue Mapp, the founder of the website Outdoor Afro. She spoke to the importance of creating and cultivating relationships in the outdoors, with peers and campers, but with our families as well.

(Right around here some of us found time to go to the Magic Kingdom in Disney World.)

The conference ended with a lunch on Saturday, where our very own Jane Sanborn challenged those who hadn’t left the conference early and abandoned the delicious lunch provided, to build as tall a tower as they could using a strip of tape and dry spaghetti. To win, the tower had to support the weight of a marshmallow. In spite of a rowdy table of Sanborn people and assorted other young camp professionals, along with our liberal interpretation of the rules presented us and the ingenuity and innovation of fun-loving camp professionals, we lost by about an inch.

Our beautiful, 2nd place spaghetti tower!

But at camp, we’re all winners! Expect, of course, when building towers out of spaghetti or while playing in late-night corn hole competitions… All in all, we gained a wonderful amount of insight and knowledge while at the 2014 ACA National Conference, saw many old friends, and made many new ones. We are happy to be back in beautiful, wet Florissant, but thoroughly enjoyed our time in Florida!

News from Camp: February 2014

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Sending hearts and fond summer memories straight to you!

We have had several good snowstorms since January 1 and the Ranch is beautiful under its white blanket.  We are always grateful for the moisture and know that this snow will transform itself into green grass and abundant wildflowers next summer.  We see a lot of animals on the Ranch—elk, deer, and a group of more than 20 wild turkeys which has been hanging out near the Big Spring Office.

Mike and Jessie enjoyed seeing many of you as they traveled through the Midwest with our digital slide show program.  They appreciated the warm receptions and enthusiasm for the coming summer.
February is a busy month as we prepare for the summer of 2014.  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 Orlando next week, 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. Elizabeth and Ariella will be leading educational sessions at the conference. Mike, as immediate past Chairperson of the Rocky Mountain Region of the American Camp Association, will be participating in the leadership events held at the conference.
Carlotta, Jessie, Ian, Kelly, Jackson, Mike Piel, BC, and Sarah 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.
Our maintenance team continues to work on various projects to improve our facilities.  They have begun to renovate the ABC washhouses at Big Spring and have begun building the new central campfire circle at High Trails.
Maren and Jamie 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 2014 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.  If camp is in your plans, please let us know soon, as we have several grades in both terms at High Trails and the first term at Big Spring which are filled or near filling.  Several terms of Sanborn Junior are also building waiting lists.