Archive for April, 2015

Unpacking at Camp

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Unpacking and organizing at camp tends to be a very different experience from your room at home with a full sized closet, dresser, major floor space. To that end, we figured we’d consult with the leading experts and find out exactly what are some of the tips and tricks that make living at camp, with all your gear, as organized as possible. Depending on which type of dwelling you live in at camp, the process will also change a bit! So you will see this blog divided into High Trails and Big Spring, with Big Spring divided into each type of dwelling.


Locker at High Trails

Plastic Drawers give you more individualized storage.

Every High Trails lady will have her very own locker (approximately 21”w x 22”d x 34”H to the hanging bar and each shelf is 11”H), a cubby in the bathroom, and access to the shared space under the bathroom sinks. Keep in mind that by no means is the following advice mandatory to be followed, nor is it impossible to live an organized life at camp without doing these things. We just figured we’d hit on some of those, “Oh! That’s a great idea!” moments.
Each locker includes two shelves and a bar for hangers. One great idea is to bring the skinny size plastic drawers to create more containment spaces, for stationary and accessories, hats, gloves, or undergarments. If plan on driving to camp, this is an easy thing to even pack those items in while at home and then deposit straight in your locker upon arrival. Many campers ship luggage to camp and these can pack up easily in a box. (I wouldn’t recommend carrying one on an airplane. Yikes!)
Something easy to pack into airplane luggage would be a hanging shelf apparatus, usually intended for sweaters or shoes, but can hold many things. The one shown happens to be much longer than you can see, but all that excess just bunches up quite nicely on the locker floor and stays out of the way underneath. This way you have lots of compartments and they are easy to see. Shoe boxes can also be easily packed into suitcases and used to store
undergarments and things.

High Trails Lockers

Hanging shoe organizers are also great options for organizing your locker.

The top shelf of the locker is quite deep, with room to stack extra sheets
behind pants and sweatshirts where they stay out of the way and clean and folded until they are needed. Above the lockers is ample room for hiking packs, sleeping bags, and other overnight paraphernalia.
When it comes to life in the bathroom, think awesome learning experience for college dorm life! We have hanging cubbies provided in each bathroom with room in them for toothbrushes, toothpaste, hair accessories. Having a plastic caddy to hold all those other hygiene items under the sinks makes finding your stuff really easy.
So now that you’re unpacked and organized what about making it feel like home. Pictures from home and small posters and everyone’s colorful pillowcases quickly make the cabins look like they belong to each group of girls living there.


At Big Spring the type of living unit you live in depends on your age. The Junior Boys (ages 7-9 years) live in one of 2 cabins, Massive or Red Cloud. The youngest month long campers (ages 9-11 years) live in the Yurts. The rest of the guys (ages 12-16 years) live in the big green tents! This means that the best unpacking strategies are different for each type of summer home!

Junior Cabins at Big Spring

Lockers in the Junior's Cabins

CABINS (Junior Boys)
Each guy in the cabins will have his own locker that can hold all your things. The lockers are 21”W, 22”D, three shelves 11”H each and lots of floor space for shoes and backpacks. Shoe box sized Rubbermaid totes can be great to keep socks and other small items in. You can also store sleeping bags and daypacks on top of your locker. There are cubbies in the bathroom for all your toiletry items.

YURTS (month long campers ages 9-11)
In the Yurts using your luggage as a “closet” works best. There is room at the end of your bunkbed to sit your trunk or duffle. The yurts also have lattice work around the walls that jackets and other items can be hung from and tucked into, so if you have a couple of those hangers that fit over the door at home – these work really well.

Yurts at Big Spring

Yurts at Big Spring

Things can also be hung from the beams in the ceiling. Hanging shoe organizers can make good cubbies when hung from the bunkbed or the ceiling. In the washhouse, you’ll have a cubby for all your toiletries and other smelly items.

Tents at Big Spring

Tents at Big Spring

TENTS (month long campers ages 12-16)
In a tent using the space under your bed is ideal! Store your backpack, shoes, sports gear under there. Using your trunk or duffel for your other clothes keeps them all in your space.
The tops of trunks can also be used as table tops for games and your waterbottle. Each tent is held to the frame with straps and clips – you can hang your calendar and mail in the clips next to your bed. In the washhouse you’ll have your own cubby for all your toiletry items.

We are excited for opening day and everyone to move in, we hope this this helps give some quick ideas that will make it easier to keep track of every sock you bring to camp! If you have any other questions about unpacking at camp please send us an email or give us a call: Contact us

or call (719) 748-3341   We can’t wait to see you and all your stuff soon!

Resilience, Research and MORE at Sanborn

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

BMWs: Beautiful Mountain Women

Last year, High Trails campers participated in research on the development of resiliency in girls through the camp experience. COEC Director of Research, Heather Huffman, Ed.M. Harvard, Ph.D. UCLA, worked in concert with researcher Anja Whittington, Ph.D. of Radford University to test her newly designed measurement tool, the “Adolescent Girls’ Resilience Scale.” Surveys were administered to a specific population at camp at both the beginning and end of each term and we wanted to share our results with you.

Overall, High Trails campers showed a positive and significant change in their resiliency scores by the end of camp.  Specifically, the girls’ scores increased in the areas of Positive Approach to Challenge, Self-Efficacy, Relationship-Building, and Confidence. Their scores did not change significantly in the area of Positive Peer Relationships. Scores did not decrease in any area. What does this mean, you ask? Read on to learn more about the AGRS scale and how resilience can be defined in the camp environment.

From the Adolescent Girls’ Resilience Scale (AGRS) website:

Simply stated, Resilience is the ability to negotiate and successfully cope with risks, challenges, and/or disadvantages. This includes having feelings of confidence and self-efficacy, being able to approach challenges in a positive manner and developing positive relationships with others.

The AGRS measures several components of girls’ resilience.  This includes:

  • Approach to Challenge: the degree to which girls view challenge positively; respond positively to stressful situations; feel brave and courageous; show persistence, and are flexible when problem solving.
  • Self-Efficacy: the degree to which girls believe that they are capable and believe they have the ability and motivation to complete tasks and reach goals.
  • Relationship Building: the degree to which  girl’s form positive relationships with others, successfully negotiating conflicts in relationships, and feel comfortable with and supported by other girls.
  • Confidence: represents an adaptive approach to challenge and sense of self-efficacy.
  • Positive Peer Relationships: includes interactions with peers and how one interacts with or feels about their peers.

Teamwork and Adventure

The goal of the AGRS is to measure change in the potential for resilience among adolescent girls (ages 10-18) as a result of participating in a broad range of programs designed to promote resilience among girls, such as adventure programming or camp experiences.  The AGRS was tested over three years with a total of approximately 1500 girls from various organizations.

Both Dr. Whittington and Dr. Huffman’s research is instrumental to determining OUR ability to achieve our mission and demonstrate quantitatively that we actually DO what we say we do at camp. The best part? Dr Whittington and her research team are making the AGRS available to the public for free–with the recognition that it is a measurement to be used in outdoor, adventure programming or camp experiences for girls. Just visit to learn more.
In addition, over the last four summers, our campers have participated in the ACA’s Youth Outcomes Battery–a measurement tool that can help us show the specific “take-aways” our campers gain at Sanborn Western Camps. We have aligned the ACA’s measurements with our own mission: 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. Each summer we focused on one set of outcomes aligned with one of the four pillars of our mission: self, community, earth and wonder. We are in the process of examining all of the results from the last four summers and translating that data into meaningful information we can share with parents, alums, campers, and others who are interested in the benefits of the camp experience.

Courage and Competence: The Sanborn High Ropes Course

We know that our camp experience helps develop resilience in girls and we also know that camp has a positive impact on the development of a child’s independence, perceived competence, responsibility, problem solving-confidence, friendship skills, teamwork, camp connectedness, family citizenship, interest in exploration, and affinity for nature…and we can’t wait to share even more of the hard data that says, “Camp is an important part of a child’s healthy development,” because we have known that for over 65 years.

News from Camp: April 1, 2015

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

The Pasque Flowers are blooming beautifully this year!

A few of our summer birds, including bluebirds and robins, have returned to the Ranch so we know Spring is on the way. We still have quite a few snow drifts scattered around, mostly on north-facing slopes, but the first Pasque flower of the season has been spotted. Temperatures have warmed up and the nice weather really inspires us to work hard on our many pre-summer projects. The summer staff will begin arriving in less than two months.

Speaking of staff, we have some great people returning for 2015!  At Big Spring, returning staff include Mike Adler, Hazel Coogler, Kevin Fernandez, Kevin Gassaway, Matthew Goodrid, Jake Gulliver, Peter Hoeller, Robert Hune-Kalter, Nick Jordan, Aaron Kilian, Jeremy Mabe, Evan Niebur, John Nowlan, Logan Parr, John Stewart, Alex Stoffel, Stephen VanAsdale, Ethan Wallgren and nurses Margot Cromack and Kristen Givens. Ian Stafford and Jackson Blackburn will once again be part of the Big Spring Leadership Team and Mike Mac will lead the staff, with the help of Assistant Director Matthew Huffman.
At High Trails, returning staff include Val Peterson, Gracie Barrett, Cade Beck, Megan Blackburn, Zena Daole, Shannon Gardner, Jenny Hartman, Jenna Howard, Maddie Jenkins, Avery Katz, Sarah LeBrun, Cara Mackesey, Annie McDevitt, Iska Nardie-Warner, Melody Reeves, Meghan Rixey, Kendra Shehy, Cheyenne Smith, Tully Sandbom, and nurse Molly Radis. Janie Cole will be Program Director, Carlotta Avery will take care of the camp kitchens and trip organization, Maren MacDonald will direct the riding program, Jessie Spehar will take photographs and Ariella and Elizabeth will keep everyone organized. We also have a great group of former campers returning as staff members, and some wonderful new staff who will join us for the first time.
We have begun our Spring outdoor education program and are excited to provide experiential, nature-based classes for 4th– 6th graders

The staff of High Trails Outdoor Education Center enjoyed learning and playing camp games out in the snow during the last couple days of March.

from 15 schools over the next six weeks.

Our April will be filled with putting the finishing touches on improved programs and trips for this summer, renovation projects to improve our facilities, hiring the last few summer staff and counting the days until camp begins.  We’ll be painting, cleaning, flying tents, and planting flowers in no time.
Our 2015 community is really coming together.  The First Term at High Trails is filled and there only a few openings left in the Second Term of High Trails.  Many grades in the First Term of Big Spring are filled, and Big Spring still has openings in most grades in the Second Term.  Some Sanborn Junior terms in both camps are filled.  Families interested for the summer of 2015 should call to check availability.  As always, we are happy to send our brochure, DVD and references to any interested families.
We can’t wait to begin creating the fun, adventure, and friendship of the Summer of 2015!