Banana Suits and Big Things to Come: Thoughts from Big Spring Program Director, David Cumming

David Cumming, Big Spring Program Director

Well hello there. This is David Cumming, your new Big Spring Program Director at Sanborn Western Camps. I’m extremely excited to be back in action after a summer as a counselor in 2010 and subsequently putting on the overalls and rabbit fur hat as an instructor at High Trails Outdoor Education Center that very fall.

Some of my personal accomplishments include: three-time male champion at Florissant’s annual Thunderbird Figure Skating Competition (I nailed the Half Lutz, but my Open axel was sub-par), Big Spring Nighttime Banana Split Eating Championship (actually I’ve been the only competitor each night … I mean year … I mean, it may or may not take place in my kitchen) and the original Settler of Catan (it was a rough winter for us Catanans, but we pulled through).

But on a somewhat serious note, I hail from the great nation of Florida, and graduated with a degree in journalism and education from the University of Florida, working for newspapers and desperately trying to be Tim Tebow’s friend.  Then I heard about this Colorado place, and it was all over. So for the past year, I was a city slicker up in Denver, working for a non-profit conservation corps along the Front Range doing trail restoration and fire mitigation. During this brief spell, I was able to begin my own after-school outdoor education program, where we brought underprivileged youth on trips to state parks for them to learn about the wild and help build some trails as well. After twelve months of hearing a chain saw buzz in my ears at all hours of the night, I can honestly say that there’s nothing quite like being a citizen of Florissant again.

On International Talk Like a Pirate Day I Climb 14ers...Arrgh!

In my spare time, I have a few writing projects I am working on, and trying to publish my first book (shameless plug)! I also dapple a bit in photography and video, enjoy cooking with family and friends, and am currently trying to nail down vegan bread and dessert baking in such a high altitude (any tips?). I used to be such a jock in my teens (lacrosse, swimming, baseball, surfing, and the occasional beach volleyball (don’t judge me, I was young, and a Floridian)).  Now give me any sport with the words “book” and “club” involved, and I’m there.

Oh, and I have a beard (please don’t make me go solo mustache, as I’ve confirmed with my peers that I just can’t pull it off).

But even more seriously, I am certain that teaching in the outdoors is one of the most significant ways we’re going to keep this world from going lop-sided. I have seen the change first-hand in our campers, our students, and even our counselors (me included) after spending time in the woods. Just a walk among the pines can unlock a universe of possibilities in us. In a place where children are able to just be themselves, to laugh uncontrollably and play freely without worry, and to be still under the stars for the night, they begin to understand just how similar and connected we all really are.

And that right there might change the entire game.

Honestly and truly, it’s an honor to be part of this great leadership team, and I can’t wait until summer gets here.

I’m dry-cleaning the banana suit and sumping a bowl of gravy as I type this.

In the pool,

David

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” ― John Muir

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