Posts Tagged ‘GROW STRONG’

Need a Mantra? Think CAMP!

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Growing Stronger...above 14,000 feet

The following note is from former 2012 High Trails staff member Alex Tilsey. Congratulations, Alex, on your second marathon!

Hope you are doing well! A quick story I wanted to share with you: I ran my second marathon a little while ago, and as I was lining up at the start, I realized I had forgotten to pick a mantra — a short phrase I could repeat to myself when the running got tough and even thinking became difficult. Having a mantra basically saved me in my first marathon, so I knew it was important to have something to fall back on. I tried to come up with a phrase quickly, but couldn’t think of anything short, memorable, but powerful enough to

keep me going — until, finally, I remembered Grow Strong. I repeated those words to myself through the last four miles of the race, trying to focus on the meaning and not on how hard the race was, and I ended up placing third in my age division. I was so grateful to have had such a meaningful phrase to push me through the run — and all the camp memories it brought back certainly didn’t hurt, either.

Have YOU ever had a moment from camp that has helped you overcome a challenge? Let us know! Post on our Facebook page, comment on our blog, or send us an email at explorer at sanbornwestern

camps dot com

Nominate YOUR Favorite High Trails Woman Today!

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Growing Stronger from then....

2012 marks the 50th anniversary of High Trails Ranch for Girls.  To celebrate we are creating the 50 Years of High Trails Blog Project. This project hopes to acknowledge the depth and breadth of outstanding women who have created a lasting impact on both our camp culture and in the world at large.  These mothers, sisters, best friends, counselors, ridge leaders, trip leaders, kitchen staff and others should all have two things in common: they are amazing women and they all have been, or continue to be, part of the High Trails community.

If you have a photo of you and your nominee together, or of your nominee in action, please attach the image so we may share it–along with a unique story about your nominee–on the Sanborn Western Camps Blog beginning in January 2012.  Our goal is to share the accomplishments of these fantastic women every week on the blog.  Nominations should be submitted via our online form before January 1st, 2012.

Be a part of this historic celebration of women who have learned to GROW STRONG because of their experiences at High Trails.  Nominate YOUR favorite High Trails woman today!

...til now!

Growing Stronger

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

We CAN Do It Together!

Over the past few weeks, the GROW STRONG initiative at High Trails has given shape and purpose to some of the life skills our young women and girls learn at camp.

Though GROW STRONG is a lengthy acronym (Growing Responsibility in Our World; a Sisterhood Transforming and Renewing Our Never-ending Growth) that speaks volumes about what we accomplish each and every summer at High Trails, this summer we also had specific weekly traits and characteristics the staff have been teaching, emphasizing, and celebrating with each girl at camp.

Our “Words of the Week” or WOW words represent some of the myriad attributes a child gains while at camp.  These skills are essential for community living, appreciation of others, and the development of a secure, healthy sense of self.

Random Acts of Kindness: Helping Carry the Saddle into the Barn

The first week of camp focused on Courage, Flexibility, and Kindness.  We recognized returning campers who were inclusive and kind to new members of their cabin communities.  We helped others see flexibility as a trait that allows groups to reach consensus when establishing guidelines for community living or just being open to trying new foods in a new place.  We celebrated (and continue to celebrate) those moments when our campers make courageous choices: whether taking an unpopular, but necessary, stand when sticking to the expectations or by just pushing themselves by signing up for trips and activities which push them beyond their comfort zones.  We witnessed small acts of kindness everyday: girls coming to the lodge to get board games to help distract a slightly homesick friend, a cabinside setting the tables for the AC’s, older campers carrying weary younger campers on their backs during the Adventure Race, and a thousand others.

Our second week of camp had us developing Empathy, Friendship, and Initiative.  As the girls took the outdoor skills they had learned on their cabinside overnights and applied them to horse pack trips, 14,000 foot mountain climbs, SOLE/CORE experiences,  and more, they also built and practiced the social skills necessary for making and keeping friends from different age groups, cabinsides, and countries.  Developing quality friendships requires a high degree of empathy, or putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, and nowhere else is empathy modeled and practiced more than at camp.  While you are trying to climb a mountain, lug a heavy pack, or work with a stubborn horse, the support and caring that emanates from the High Trails staff and campers makes you feel celebrated, appreciated and understood in a way that only seems to happen at camp.  With this kind of empathetic support and understanding, it is no wonder that our campers are motivated and full of initiative: from doing their part during cabin clean-up to helping lead a group on a hike to being the creative force behind the evening skit, we witness our camper’s initiative in countless ways every day.

Working Our Way Up Ouray, Summer 2011

During our long trip week, we sought Resilience, Generosity, and Integrity.  Resilience is the ability to bounce back from hardship, and many a trip last week experienced challenges.  The snowpack was deep and not only created necessary route changes, it actually forced full itinerary changes for some of the trips.  The girls not only embraced the changes, but made the most of the new adventures: they were some of the most successful long trips in recent memory.  The campers and staff were generous with themselves and their skills in large and small ways.  Our Junior Counselors took on significant leadership roles on many trips: they helped navigate, motivate, and create outstanding experiences…and were incredibly generous with their outdoor skills, spirit, and hilarious stories.  Campers were able to see, first hand, what integrity looks like as they watched their trip leaders share leadership roles throughout the week.  Staff were honest and open with campers when hard decisions—like not summiting due to weather– had to be made;  campers learned that personal integrity, from knowing what food I have in my pack for which meal to staying attentive and focused while “hawking” the horses, is integral to earning respect and leads to more opportunities for leadership and autonomy.

THE Pirate Overnight, Summer 2011

And, finally , during our last week, we hope to acknowledge many small (and large) instances of good Communication, Imagination, and a more developed Self-Confidence in each and every one of our High Trails campers and staff members.  Lela Payne (Ridge Leader for Ponderosa and Silver Spruce) led a wildly successful Pirate Overnight during the second week of camp.  This overnight exemplified everything that IS creativity and imagination.  The campers built a pirate ship in High Tor, successfully survived attacks from evil marauders, and spent most of the overnight in some sort of “free play.”  The sequel, like all good pirate tales, is coming this week—and promises to be even MORE imaginative and fun than the last.  Good communication means we speak to each other with respect and caring because we know that our time together is short, so we need to listen and understand as much as we need to speak and think.  And, finally, the self-confidence our campers will leave with next Tuesday will help them navigate the challenges of tweendom, adolescence, college, and beyond.

Summit Success!

Through our Silent Trails, cabin conversations, moments stargazing and more, there have been many opportunities to share and hear how camp has positively influenced these girls and young women.  With our GROW STRONG necklaces, leaves, and charms we hope each one of the girls will be able to speak to you about how SHE grew stronger this summer…and how those experiences will make her stronger in the future, too.