Posts Tagged ‘Children in Nature’

Adventures of Artie the Abert Squirrel: A Spring Mystery

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Hi everyone, Artie here!

I want to share something with you, but I’m a little worried you won’t believe me, because no one else does! So before I tell you about my latest mystery adventure, I need ya to promise you’ll believe me!

Off to investigate A-Bluff

In the last couple weeks, as I’ve been investigating A-Bluff, TOTW, and Little Blue, to make sure everything’s okay with the rocks, plants and animals there, I noticed some green splotches on the ground. When I told Mike Mac about the splotches, he said they must be some early grasses popping up after all the spring snows we’ve had, but I wasn’t so sure he was right. Elizabeth told me to double check and told me to bring some of it back for her to see. I thought that sounded good, so the next morning I headed back to A-Bluff, to the spot I knew I’d seen the green splotches.

Never sure about what might be around, I circled about a couple times and then snuck up close, real quiet like. As I got closer to one of the splotches, I noticed one that was sorta shaped like an oval, but was skinnier in the middle and fatter at the ends. I looked around more, and saw that all the splotches had that exact shape. After I inspected about 14 of them, I looked back and noticed they were lined up like a path or a row. Huh, I thought, this is weird! I didn’t forget what Elizabeth suggested though, so I got out my shovel and  bucket I’d brought to collect it. Before I started digging, I tried to touch it, but when I did, my hand just touched dirt. There was nothing on top of the dirt and Pikes Peak Granite, like I’d first thought. When I looked at my fingers, there was nothing green on them. Then, when I looked back at the splotch, it had disappeared! I rubbed my eyes, I blinked, I spun in a circle, and looked again, but it was still gone! I was astonished and confused. I’d never seen anything like it, so I went to the next splotch and touched it. This time though, I made sure I never looked away, and sure enough, as soon as I touched it, it vanished. Well, you bet I ran back to the office fast! When I finally caught my breath enough to tell Jackson and Ian what had happened, they offered to go back and look with me. So I sat on top of Jackson’s helmet as they rode their bikes to the spot with the splotches. When we got to where I’d hastily left my bucket and shovel, we looked all over, but none of us could find any splotches – they were all gone! Well by this time, I was just mad! I knew these green splotches had been there, but I couldn’t show them to anybody else! I was sure everyone thought I was crazy! Jackson and Ian were really nice about it, telling me they were sure the splotches had been there, and suggested that maybe I was just tired from the long winter and should go take a nap. They offered me a ride back to the office, but I just wanted to be alone, so I headed back down the trail towards High Trails. Pretty soon, I started to hear whistling coming from further down the trail. I started going a little more cautiously, but was excited when I turned the corner and saw Sarah! She always makes me feel better, she’s so fun to talk to and always knows what to say! She seemed excited to see me too, but noticed pretty quick I was a little glum and not my usual chipper self. So we sat down on a Ponderosa log on the side of the trail and I told her the whole story, even the part about me starting to think I was crazy. When I was done, Sarah sat for a minute and thought. She was so nice to remind me that I have always been such a logical squirrel and because of that, she was sure there was an explanation, we just had to figure it out! Sarah suggested we head back to High Trails, get a snack and put our thinking caps on- so that’s just what we did!

When we got back to the lodge we were really excited to find the cookie jar full of fresh baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies! They are my favorite and just what I needed to get my brain thinking. Between munches on her cookie, Sarah asked me to explain again to her exactly what the green splotches had looked like and had done when I touched them. I carefully told her everything I could remember about what they looked like and if I could feel anything when I’d touched them – my hand felt warm, that’s all, but maybe that’s just because the sun was shining.

Sarah started munching again and looked like she was thinking really hard, then all the sudden she exclaimed, “aahaha!!!” I dropped my cookie and nearly fell off my chair I was so surprised! But I was excited, because it sure sounded like Sarah had figured it out!

“Artie”, she asked, “what month is it?”

“March”, I said incredulously

“Exactly!”, she said like she was certain she’d solved this mystery, “we need to build a trap!”

Before I could even blink, Sarah was rummaging around the lodge, mumbling to herself about boxes, and bait, and how we could hide and not be seen, and what time of day we should go.

“Sarah”, Sarah”, I yelled, “What do you mean, what do you think it is, what are you doing!?! I don’t understand, what are you doing?”

Pretty soon Sarah had a whole pile of supplies and was packing them up in her backpack. She said, “Alright Artie, let’s go!”

Still confused I hopped on her shoulder, figuring maybe that she would answer my questions as we hiked back out to where the splotches had been.

Pretty soon I could see my bucket in the distance.

When we got close Sarah said we need to go very quietly, and that we should crouch in the trees before we actually got to the spot. Pretty soon I could see my bucket in the distance, but the shovel was missing. We crouched low behind a juniper, and Sarah started to take things out of her backpack. I climbed up the Ponderosa next to us, to get a better look around. When I got up high, I was so excited almost fell off the branch! I scurried back down, and whispered, “Sarah, the splotches are back, they are all over!”

Sarah started working faster. “Okay Artie, we need to move fast then if we are going to catch one of these guys!”

Sarah snuck around the Juniper bush, but stayed in the shadows. She put the box upside down, and used a stick to prop it up, so there was a

Then we covered the box up with some pine needles and pine cones.

small opening near the ground. Then she tied a piece of fishing line around the bottom of the stick and tied a marshmallow to the other end. Then she tucked it in at the back of the box. Then we covered the box up with some pine needles and pine cones and snuck back around behind the Juniper bush. By this time, the sun was starting to set and it was getting cold, so we hiked back to Sarah’s house for dinner.

The next morning, Sarah and I got up early and hiked up the hill just as the sun was rising over Pikes Peak. As we got closer to the spot where the splotches were, I started to hear something strange. I asked Sarah to stop walking because her big feet make a huge stomping noise, even when she’s trying to be quiet. I listened carefully, and pretty soon heard it again, a little, high-pitched voice yelling, “let me out, get me outta here!”

“Artie, what do you hear,” asked Sarah? As soon as I told her, she started running! Good thing I was holding tight onto her shoulder!

She didn’t stop and go quietly like yesterday. She ran right up to the box and put her hand on it, so I got off her shoulder and sat on top of it too!

She ran right up to it, and put her hand on it!

Sure enough, the voice was coming from inside the box, and it was angry!

Sarah said to the box, “hello sir, how are you this morning?”

The angry voice from the box growled back, “why you, you trapped me, eh, how dya think I am?”

His accent was so strong I could barely understand what the voice said!

Sarah replied, “I’m sorry sir that we had to trap you, but we can let you out if you promise not to run away.”

“Ha, after this treatment, you bet I’m not sticking around!”, yelled the voice in the box.

Sarah answered, “well then, I guess you stay in the box for awhile.”

I was shocked, Sarah is the nicest person I know, but she sure was being tough on whatever was in the box. Sarah started to ask it some questions about where it was from and why it was here, but the box only ever replied, with a “Harumph!” noise.

Sarah asked the voice from the box if it was hungry

“I have a granola bar, if you’d like it.”, she said.

The voice from the box was softer and less angry when it said, “yes, please.”

Sarah told the creature inside, she was going to slowly lift the box up, but it had to promise it wouldn’t run away. We just wanted to talk to it.

I jumped off the box right away, but stayed close to Sarah! I sure was excited to see what was inside, but still didn’t know what to expect!

The voice in the box agreed that he would not run away.

Sarah lifted the box slowly up, and I started to see the tiniest little green shoes I’d ever seen! The box got higher and I saw that the shoes were connected to the tiniest little man, dressed very finely in a very green suit. He had tiny glasses and the brightest red beard I’d ever seen!

“Top ‘o the mornin’ to ya, I’m Patrick O’Sullivan.”

Sarah told Patrick our names and gave him the granola bar. The granola bar was almost as tall as Patrick. As Patrick started to eat his breakfast, Sarah asked her questions again and Patrick had some questions for us too.

We learned that Patrick had come to Colorado from Ireland for a new adventure. He said there were not any mountains in Ireland or forests like we have here. He had seen pictures in books back home and wanted to see it in real life. He had been having a great time climbing trees and was very excited when he found a home that was very sturdy and just his size.

Sarah and I looked at each other. She was obviously just as confused about this home that Patrick had found. We asked if he would show us later, and Patrick agreed.

I was dying to know what the splotches were, but when I asked Patrick, he looked unsure.

Sarah noticed to so she asked, “What wrong Patrick?”

Patrick replied, “We Leprechauns, are very special, and must keep some secrets about who we are. It is very rare that one of us gets caught. In all my 528 years, I’ve only heard of it happening one other time.”

I was pretty proud of Sarah’s plan and hard work when I heard that!

Patrick continued, “But you two, have turned out to be very considerate and since you could see my footprints and see me now, I feel that I can trust you.”

“His footprints?”, I thought, “OH, that must be what the green splotches were! This is turning out to be one of the most exciting days of my whole entire life!”

Patrick told us many things about Leprechauns, but only after he made us promise that we would not tell anyone else. I was disappointed, but it made me feel better that at least I could talk about this with Sarah, since I was certain that no one else would ever believe I had met a Leprechaun. Patrick did tell me, I could recount the tale of his capture, so there you have it. I can’t wait for you all to get here this summer, so I can show you where I found the splotches and Patrick’s home he found.

The home that Patrick found!

He said he’d come back sometime, after he’d explored more around the United States and maybe he’d bring friends! We should definitely build more homes for gnomes, fairies and leprechauns!  I can’t wait to see you all this summer!

love, Artie the Abert Squirrel

Artie is the leading authority around Sanborn on at least 2 subjects. He enjoys long walks on a branch, dropping pinecones on people the ground, and watching the sunrise. He is an aspiring mystery novelist and waits impatiently all year for camp to begin again!

Winter Is Here…What Do We Do?

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Fly-tying during Stalking Education in the Wild 2012

There are two questions a camp director dreads: 1. Why does toilet in Kinnikinnik look like a Yellowstone geyser? 2. What do you DO in the winter?

Both questions require thoughtful responses (but the first question might also require a plunger and a biohazard suit).  Beyond hiring the 120 broadly talented seasonal staff members, recruiting 600 unique and fantastic campers, connecting with our alums, designing new programs like the Sanborn Semester, organizing mission-centric educational opportunities like Stalking Education in the Wild or our annual No Child Left Inside Family Fun Day, hosting the ACA Rocky Mountain Section regional conference, sending birthday cards (over 10,000 annually), and operating The Nature Place and High Trails Outdoor Education Center, we are committed leaders and educators in the field of youth development and in the camp profession.

As the culture shifts, camp is taking its rightful role as an important component in the year round education of every child.  COEC Board Member Rod Lucero said in a recent article in Camping Magazine, “One concept that emerges from most every camp activity schedule is the idea of “fun.” While “fun for fun’s sake” is a worthy goal, I would contend that fun with an articulated focus on education transcends the camp experience and extends to the pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade classrooms.”  Sandy and Laura Sanborn believed in “fun and adventure with a purpose.” And we, like Rod, believe that “the purpose is education, and as the camp has evolved and grown, this mantra has remained fundamental to every aspect of the good work being done there.”

One of the 101 Nature Activities: Find a Tree Hike

Everything begins at home and we are committed to professional development of our year round and seasonal staff.  Through conferences, training sessions, and skill development workshops, our staff not only represents a seasoned group of camp professionals, we actually lead, teach, and design many training sessions for others in the camp community.

The National Convention of the American Camp Association was held in Atlanta in mid-February, and we participated in full force.  Executive Director, Jane Sanborn, was the program chairperson for this year’s conference (as well as for the upcoming 2013 National Conference in Dallas, TX) and worked on an outstanding educational program for many months.  Chris, Elizabeth, and Ariella led educational sessions at the conference. Mike, as President of the Rocky Mountain Region of the American Camp Association, participated in all of the leadership events held at the conference. COEC Board member Rod Lucero presented one of the keynote addresses, and Julie, David, and Carlotta attended the conference.

Additionally, Jane, Elizabeth, and Ariella have written curricula and participated as webinar panel experts for the ACA’s e-Institute.  The ACA just released a 15 hour online Certificate of Added Qualification for Middle Managers, and Ariella was one of the four writers of the curriculum.  Jane is the chair of the ACA’s Children, Nature and Camps Committee and co-authored the best-selling, “101 Nature Activities for Kids” with Elizabeth.

Then there is the hard skill training: BC is a AMGA (American Mountain Guide Association) Certified Top and Bottom Managers and supervise our rock-climbing staff; we train using the most current ACCT Ropes Course certification model; all of our summer trip leaders have WMI/NOLS Wilderness First Aid certification; we have an on-site Red Cross Lifeguard course; we require our peer supervisors (ridge leaders, wranglers, kitchen coordinators) to attend a specialized Supervisor Workshop; and all of our trip leaders go through a comprehensive Trip Leader and 15 Passenger Van Driver Training…plus all staff are certified in CPR and Standard First Aid and participate in our 10 day Staff Week training. This training includes everything from the latest in youth development research to experiential teaching techniques.  Whew!

Winter=Time to Turn Our BIG Dreams into Reality!

We are invested in the experience and our own continued growth and development.  We are actively involved in building a more professional camp and educational experience for ALL children through our staff development and the variety of outreach and educational sessions we lead.

This is a big part of our “purpose” and it is one we take pride in.   And with Jane repeating as program chair for the 2013 American Camp Association National Conference, we will continue to take a professional lead in the camping and youth development industry.

So we actually do work in the wintertime…maybe that is why summer is so darn incredible!

School Weeks Is Here!

Monday, March 26th, 2012

We are very excited that our school program staff week started this morning! We are looking forward to a fun and busy season. Our first school comes next Wednesday – Summit County 4th graders. Be sure to check out the HTOEC website and blog for more information on the program and spring season. After a quiet winter, it is nice to have new and returning staff on site. It is a great reminder that kids will soon be back on the property!

Students on a hike

We have a great staff from around the country – some new to COEC and some returning. It is fun to see familiar faces. Returning staff include Jessie Spehar, Will Ostendorf, Mike Piel, Jenny Hartmann, and Bea Raemdonck. Mike, Bea, and Will have been a part of the Sanborn staff in the past and are excited to be a part of School Weeks for the first time.

It is just as fun to see how quickly new staff is incorporated into the COEC family. Marie DiBennedetto is from Allenstown, PA and has been a part of various outdoor education programs in the northeast. Adam Delp is joining us from Michigan – but has spent much of his adult life in Colorado; he is currently enrolled in a Wilderness Therapy program. Brendan Brady is from New York state where he has recently been an environmental educator. Michelle Davis is also from New York state; she graduated from SUNY Potsdam where she studied Environmental Studies and Wilderness Education.

ACA Conference

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Last week 10 of us ventured to Atlanta for the ACA National Conference. The overall theme of the conference

Jane Sanborn and her entourage!

was Convergence: Vision, Learning, Innovation. This was an exciting opportunity for our staff to continue our professional development as youth and outdoor educators and camp professionals. And it was a great week! Our very own Jane Sanborn was the conference program chair. She and the conference team lined up wonderful session and keynote speakers, fun night programs, and a variety of exhibitors for the exhibit hall.  We were all able to go to a variety of educational sessions presented by child development and camp professionals – sessions that emphasized the importance of what we do best: provide exceptional outdoor experiences for children. We were able to network with other camp professionals. We left energized and motivated for the summer! It is fun for us to come back and share all that we have learned with each other and start incorporating new ideas into our summer and school weeks programs.

We had great keynote speakers including, Dr. Christine Carter (author of Raising Happiness), Richard Louv, Sanborn alum, Rod Lucero, and Niambi Jaha-Echols. Each speech was relevant to and encouraging of what we do at camp.

Dr. Carter started the week sharing the importance of teaching and cultivating life skills such as gratitude, kindness, and growth campers – all things that we know about and do at camp! Dr. Carter is a strong believer of Growth Mindset – the belief that someone is successful due to hard work and effort, as well as innate ability. At camp, it is important to us that campers are challenged to try new things and encouraged through the process. We believe that campers and staff can grow and learn from our trips and activities. Being able to try new things is one of the great things about camp and campers having the ability to choose their own trips and activities.

Richard Louv emphasized the role camps play in continuing to get children outside. In his speech he told us how he was jealous of his friend who left Kansas every summer to go to camp…specifically, his friend left Kansas and spent his summers at Sanborn. He spoke of the growing importance of camp and getting outside, as our world becomes more technology-driven.

Rod Lucero helped us better understand the importance of camps continuing the education from schools. Relevance, Rigor, and Relationships are the foundation of education, and according to Lucero, without them, reading, writing, and arithmetic don’t matter. At camp, we help make education relevant. The foundation of Sanborn is education. We continue to learn and pass our knowledge on to all Colorado Outdoor Education Center participants.

Niambi Jaha-Echols provided us with an inspiring and humorous closing session. According to Jaha-Echols, camp provides us the opportunities to transform into new beings – from caterpillars to butterflies. It is important to us that we provide campers with the space and support to understand and grow into the people they are supposed to be. We are lucky to have 6,000 acres, amazing counselors, and a great variety of trips and activities to help all campers grow as individuals into butterflies.

We look forward to continuing to share our learnings with you and incorporate them into our 2012 summer.







HTOEC Week 1

Friday, September 16th, 2011

We just finished a great week with the 6th graders from Challenger Middle School. The students arrived Tuesday morning and jumped right into their outdoor ed experience with their first discovery group that afternoon – Setting the Mood. Led by trained facilitators, the students learned about using their 5 senses more, as well as about the High Trails sixth sense – Wonder. The students were split in half Tuesday evening – one group going to the hoedown (a fun and silly set of dances led by the High Trails staff) and the other went to the Interbarn our hands-on science center.

Students Arrival

Students Arrival at High Trails

Wednesday morning was adventure-filled with the first themed discovery groups. Students learned about Homesteaders, Prospectors, Mountaineers, Innovators, and Woodsmen to name a few. After a delicious lunch, students headed back out for their second themed discovery group. Unfortunately, a little rain cancelled the cookouts, but everyone enjoyed burgers in the lodge followed by an entertaining skit night.

The groups made it out for all-days yesterday and lots of fun was had by all. The HTOEC staff expanded on the activities done during the shorter discovery groups – Cowboys see our working ranch, Innovators tried some solar cooking, Woodsmen go to the working sawmill, Explorers go to the Bat Caves, and Mountaineers rock scramble on several of the bluffs around the main property. To finish off the day, the students that went to the hoedown on Tuesday headed to the Interbarn, and the students from the Interbarn went to the hoedown.

After a great rock session this morning, students went for their last discovery group – Putting It All Together. The students seemed to enjoy their week and learn a lot of interesting facts about nature, themselves, and Colorado history. We had a lot of fun this week and hope the students enjoy the rest of the school year. We look forward to Mountain Ridge Middle School coming next week!

Remembering Camper Stories

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Camp has sadly come to an end for the summer of 2011. Things are very quiet at Big Spring and High Trails! While we are already looking forward to next summer, we want to share a few more stories from this summer…

Today we went horseback riding. We all put on our jeans and boots and walked to the barn. First we talked to our wrangler about how to saddle our horses before our ride. The sun was blazing hot, but luckily we all finished saddling quickly. My horse was named Popcorn. She is dark brown and pretty tall. We walked through all the pretty trees and mountains. At about noon we stopped for lunch. YUM! We tied our horses to trees and enjoyed a delicious meal. Turkey sandwiches and fruit. After we ate, we got back on our horses and started to head back to camp. On the way back we took a different trail and saw colorful flowers and lots of trees. After an all-day ride, we got back to the barn and untacked our horses. This was probably the best horseback riding trip ever all because of SANBORN!!
Abby G.

One day early in the morning we got up and dressed to go on our all-day horse ride. It was really fun! When we got to the barn I looked on the sheet and I got Rafter. Rafter was a tall horse. He was really sweet and listened to everything I told him to do, and he loved to trot fast. I loved him so much. When we got back, we put the horses in the pen. Rafter dropped on the ground and started to roll in the dirt. I said “Rafter I just brushed you” and he just looked up at me, stood up, and came up to the fence and licked my hands.
Alexandra D.

There are lots of fun things to do at Sanborn. The fun thing I just did was the Artsy Overnight. It is a hike to Tie Cabin and we make art. It took us about twenty minutes to get ready with our backpacks full of food and tents. And then we were ready to go. It took about two hours to get there and set up our tents. Then we started to draw, make key chains, rock necklaces, and so much more. The day went by so fast. It was time to go to bed. I was sad to leave the fun things that we were doing, but I knew that a bunch more fun things await me and my campmates!
Addie T.

We just got back from our very fun overnight, the Artsy Overnight. When we got back, we went to outcamp to wash dishes and put away the food. We had a delicious lunch of hamburgers, french fries, and root beer floats. We met at the lodge for our afternoon activities – I chose blogging. I know we are going to be very sad to leave our new friends we made at Sanborn. But most of us are coming back for another summer of fun!
Taylor L.

Campers’ Summer Stories

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

CORE (Community OutReach Experience) Horse was a very educational, growth encouraging, and fun-filled experience for me. A lot of people think riding a horse is very simple. But it takes a lot more work than just sitting in a saddle and pushing the horse forward. My group learned things from how to scoop manure to how to do Key Hole in gymkhana. You learn how to face your fears of riding bareback on a horse and how to communicate with your horse through your body, not just your actions. We learned how everyday wranglers, like Jessie, Will O., and Maren, wake up at 5am to feed and pull horses for us campers throughout the day. And then they don’t get to sleep until 10pm. CORE is a great experience and I will never forget it. Thank you Sanborn!
Mimi C.

Sanborn is the BEST camp ever! You meet lots of great people here and they are very nice to you. My favorite part of camp is the good. The chefs are amazing! And nice. :) The one thing that is great about this camp is that you get to choose almost everything you do here! I can’t wait to climb a 14er! The view is beautiful everywhere you go. There are trees everywhere! We follow a practice that is “Leave No Trace.” That basically means don’t litter, leave stuff behind, or carve your name into trees. I most certainly can’t wait for my 2nd year in 2012!
Lauryn G.

There are so many things to do at High Trails, and fishing is one of them! We went fishing and it was so much fun! We learned how to fish in 3 simple steps. Cast, reel, and viola! You probably have a fish. We used marshmallows as bait. There were a lot leftover, so we ate them. We heard that the boys caught a 19in fish in the pond, so we were hopeful! In the end, everybody had caught something – reed, sticks, themselves. Overall everybody enjoyed themselves and were full of marshmallows!
Mia M.

I am a junior at HIgh Trails, but I wish I were here for a month because it is so much fun here. One of my favorite things is the horseback riding, which I absolutely love, but everything at Sanborn is fantastic so I’m not picking favorites! Today we came back from our last overnight at Tie Cabin, which was awesome. It’s amazing that eleven days have done by because it feels like two days. I am definitely coming back to Sanborn!!!
Katherine S.

Camper Posts

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

I was new at camp the year. When I came I was scared and got homesick. Then everything got better, everyone was really nice!! My counselors were nice too! One of my favorite activities is horseback riding! You get to learn how to put the saddle on and learn how to brush your horse. Skit night was fun. It’s where you and your cabin make up a skit and perform it and everybody at High Trails watches. I like singing songs here like “Rocky Mountain High.”
Katie Neal

High Trails is like a second family to me. We all come here from different parts of the county and come from different backgrounds. But once we are surrounded by all of these beautiful mountains and trees and nature, none of that matters. Every new person is welcomed with hugs and smiling faces. And old friends are never forgotten. You are never bored because there are a variety of things to do. You can horseback ride, mountain bike, technical rock climb, rock scramble, swim, arts and crafts, and much more! High Trails gives me something to look forward to every summer and when it is over I know there are more girls enjoying the Rocky Mountain High.
Mimi Chapman

High Trails at Sanborn Camps is a summer worth of fun. There is something for everyone. Horseback riding, drama, hiking, climbing, pottery, and so much more. Sanborn is a safe environment where kids can learn and grow in the outdoors. We welcome new campers with open arms. Sanborn has become a second home to some and hopefully to you too. Sanborn is an experience you do not want to miss. Have you ever heard the wind dance in the aspen leaves? Have you ever slept out under the stars? Have you climbed to the top of a mountain peak? Have you ever gone tubing down a river? We guarantee you will have a blast! Throughout the term you will learn new things, meet new people, and do things you may not have. I tried Sanborn and I know I am a better person for it. Sanborn is the camp to go to. We hope to see you here next summer!
Kate Ratliff

It’s only the first week of Sanborn, and I can already tell you that walking uphill is A LOT easier. I’m sure by the end I will have gained so much muscle! Hiking a mountain will be a breeze. Then I will spend more time actually seeing the beauty of the Rockies. The hills gently roll, and the mountains…Oh the mountains! Last year when I was hiking up Quandry we got up at 3 in the morning. I can tell you it was well worth the early rise. In the light of the moon, the dew on the pines sparkles and glistened. It was probably one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen.
Not using technology was hard at first, but when you get to know how many things you can do without it, it gets easier. There is so much to do here, you really don’t have time for technology. If there’s anything to be said of Sanborn, it’s that you never get bored!
At Sanborn there are 2 sections. One is Big Spring, where the boys live. And I live at High Trails with the girls. It actually makes camp more enjoyable to be separate, you spend less time worrying about looks and boys and more time enjoying the outdoor experience. There are coed events where you get to see the boys. Best of both worlds!
Coming to Sanborn is a wonderful experience, and the people you meet always become your friends. It’s like a family away from family. Cliques don’t exist here. Everyone is there to help you out. If I could spend every summer here, I would say yes without even batting an eye.
Jen

National Get Outdoors Day

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Saturday, June 11, is National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day). The ACA is promoting the fourth annual GO Day in order to “encourage healthy, active outdoor fun” across the country. While there are a number of events taking place at different locations, we encourage you to create your own GO Day. The overall goal for the day is to reconnect youth with the outdoors.

A typical Sanborn GO Day

Our campers don’t arrive until Sunday, but we will spend the rest of the summer having GO Days. We have numerous traditional and non-traditional outdoor activities. We think that is part of what makes participating in GO Day so fun – you can do whatever you want, as long as it is outdoors!

The Big Spring staff returned from their overnights yesterday, and the High Trails staff returned today. They spent two days out of the trail learning different parts of the ranch, mastering how to cook excellent overnight food, and partaking in a variety of nature activities. Most importantly, all the staff are very excited to share their new knowledge with the campers in just a few days!

We would love to hear what activities you are doing for GO Day!

Lasting Impact

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Our school program ended last Wednesday after a very successful season. We had 4th-8th graders from about 20 schools came for 3-5 day programming over the last month and a half. At the beginning of every season we have the chance to reflect on why we want to be a part of HTOEC school weeks and share our thoughts with each other. I tell the staff, and remind myself, that the season will go by way too quickly, that we will have the opportunity to make a difference in the life of at least one child (hopefully more), we will be challenged, we will learn something new from the students we work with, and this place will become home.  Even though I have been part of a number of seasons, I’m always surprised that I forget these predictions that come true every year.

Students on a cabin porch

Several weeks ago I worked with a group of 5th graders from Palmer Lake Elementary School in Monument. I worked in a cabin with about 12 girls who varied in their interest and experience in the outdoors. We played games and hiked to several points around the ranch. I was at the cabin early in the morning and brought snacks after evening programming. This is typical for all the schools we work with. They were only here for three days before they headed back to school and a new school arrived at High Trails. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with them and as always, I wished them well as they left and reminded them they could come back as high school counselors.

About a week or so later I received a large stack of envelopes in my mailbox. I was mostly excited because it is rare that I have mail. I opened the first envelope and saw it came from one of the Lewis Palmer students that was recently in my cabin. I read about one of the girl’s experiences at High Trails as she talked about how much fun she had and how she was sad to go. Each letter in the stack was from one of the girls in that cabin. And each letter talked about how she challenged herself, enjoyed the hiking (when she didn’t think she would), loved the food, had fun doing different discovery groups, and several remembered my suggestion to come back in several years.

It was definitely surprising to receive this stack of mail. It was also very nice to read about the impact High Trails had on this group of girls. As staff, we see a number of students from different schools with various expectations about High Trails and experiences in the outdoors. We are never sure what students will walk away with as lasting memories. We will see a few high school counselors return after being at High Trails as younger students, we will hear teachers say the experience is great for their students, but it is rare to hear from students after they leave High Trails.

Checking out an Aspen tree

As the season ended and I reflected back on my comments at the beginning of the season, it was fun to remember my comments and recognize that they once again came true. These girls challenged me to go new places and I challenged them to push themselves a little farther out of their normal comfort zone. I learned more about High Trails as they asked me questions about birds and flowers I didn’t know and they learned more about nature. While they did not explicitly say High Trails had changed their lives, reading their excitement about being here showed the lasting impact High Trails will have on them.

We are now gearing up for the summer season. As I move forward and work with new and returning campers, I will again remind myself that everyday is a learning opportunity and the chance to making a lasting impact on another child.