Posts Tagged ‘High Trails Ranch for Girls’

Work on the New High Trails Health Center Begins

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

The Next Teller County Planning Commissioners, Mike and Jane. Veni. Vidi. Vici.

We are very happy to announce that we have begun work on a brand new Health Center at High Trails. This building was one of the projects designated in our 2008-11 Sanborn 60 Capital Campaign. Thanks to the generosity of our alums and many camp friends, the funds for the building project are available and we are now putting them to use.

The new Health Center will stand on the site of the old infirmary/Pooh Corner so the first step in the process is to demolish the old building. We are doing that now and have some photos and video up on Facebook to show the progress. Designed by Big Spring alum Dan Miller, the new building will have raised ceilings and light and airy rooms. There will be private rooms for two nurses, a room with several beds, two isolation rooms and multiple ADA accessible bathrooms. The central area is open and spacious and will be an attractive space for meeting campers, dispensing medication, removing splinters, and all the other things our nurses do on a daily basis.

Everything about the new Health Center will be upgraded—floors, bathrooms, light fixtures, etc.—and everything will meet new standards for providing best practice health care during camp. We will be documenting the progress on Facebook throughout the Spring—and will be very excited to share this new facility with 2013 High Trails campers when camp begins!

Former Nurse Quarters=Al Fresco Living

Summer 2012: The 50th Summer of High Trails

Monday, April 9th, 2012

2012 is the 50th Anniversary of High Trails so it seems like a little trip down memory lane is appropriate. High Trails opened in 1962 with the lodge and four cabins: The Infirmary, Jumping Juniper, Gold Hut, and Kinnikinnik. Big Spring had been around for 14 years and a lot of the boys who attended Big Spring had sisters who were also interested in camp, so they were ready and willing to come to High Trails. In 1962, there were about 35 girls in each term.

This was before backpacking, so for cabinside overnights the girls would hike to a spring tank on the property, and Nasty Ned or another guy would deliver their Baker tents (three sided green canvas contraptions which had ten foot wooden poles and weighed about 50 pounds—five people could sleep in one but they were not at all watertight), food, large heavy grills and number #10 cans for cooking (no cook kits then).

The whole camp went together by hired bus on off-camp trips and the regular bus drivers became part of the community. These included three or four day trips to Ashcroft near Aspen which included a visit to the sled dogs at Toklat. These included Yukon King, Sergeant Preston’s famous companion (for those of you under 70, “Sergeant Preston of the Yukon” was a popular radio/TV show. Just so you know, I had to look it up on Google). Another “long” trip was to the Sand Dunes—the tents here were huge bus tents which weighed hundreds of pounds and had to be set up by the bus drivers. They slept about 25 and were stifling— everyone slept outside unless it was pouring rain.

The whole camp went to the River together (none of the rafts had bottoms and no one had a life jacket so Jaws could be pretty exciting) and to Cripple Creek to watch the melodrama. For in-camp program, everyone chose “Big Deals” and “Little Deals”–programs that met several times each term. There was a horseback riding Big Deal, a hiking Big Deal, a crafts Big Deal and even a dance Big Deal. And on Sunday, everyone wore tan and white, Laura’s favorite colors, had coffee cake for breakfast, and went to Sunday Rocks in the evening (we still have coffee cake and go to Sunday Rocks but the tan and white “uniform” is no longer.)

There were coed events with Big Spring and the advent of High Trails changed Big Spring in some profound ways. Probably the most significant change was that the boys started showering at least one a week. Status was also added to the roles of trash man, who got to pick up garbage at High Trails, and Assistant Counselors, who got to do dishes at High Trails on a rotating basis. Now, of course, the HT Assistant Counselors are girls and the girls do their own trash—but most of the boys still shower on Saturday before the coed event. This was also the beginning of the Camp Marriage Count (now at #66).

Ah, those were the good old days……

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Camper Stories

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

We are already gearing up for another amazing summer! As we think about the adventures we’ll be having, it is fun to reflect on some trips from last summer.

Hi everybody. My name is Emma and this is my second year coming to Sanborn. I climbed my first mountain EVER last Monday and Tuesday. It was Mount Ouray. It was very difficult, but a great experience. We summitted after 9 hours of hiking and rock scrambling. The view from the top was unbelievably beautiful. There is no way that anyone who has not climbed a mountain understands what it’s like – it’s amazing! Long trips start today for some people, but mine starts tomorrow. I am climbing my second mountain, Pikes Peak, as a 4-day trip. Camp is going by so quickly and it is so much fun! Sanborn is the best summer camp ever!         – Emma Williams

Last week was SOLE for us freshmen. I was in the Colorado Trail / Belford group. We spent three days hiking the Colorado Trail, which was gorgeous. One Wednesday we were driven to the base of Oxford-Belford where we hiked up a trail for 1.5 miles with pickaxes and shovels. The next day we hiked another 2 miles to our trail work site where we moved rocks to cover up a false trail. The work was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. However, it was completely worth it when we looked down at our work and saw what a difference we made.        – Carly

The food here is very delicious and there is a lot of variety. It doesn’t matter if you are vegetarian, vegan, or whatever, the Sanborn kitchen will have something for you! The kitchen staff put out peanut butter and a salad bar, and oatmeal for breakfast, besides what is served on the tables. YUM! Sanborn gives us healthy and good meals! We have water, tea, juice, and milk to drink – no sodas (unless sometimes bought at the store). At the end of lunch and dinner there are desserts, like cookies or brownies or other yummy stuff! There is no better place to get food than the Sanborn Kitchen!       – Raquel

Lyrics and Video for This Summer’s Hit Song: High Trails Queen

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

You’ll be my Julie Richardson, I’ll be your Mike MacDonald

You’ll be my pair of Chacos, I’ll be your pair of Keens

You’ll be my Big Spring Warrior, I’ll be your High Trails Queen

Hey, we just said it all

We’ll miss camp in the fall

We’ll miss the Big Spring mail and Pony Express

We’ll miss the Hipster Hoedowns

And all those Viking Showdowns

We’ve got a love for camp we must confess

You’ll be my pita pizza, I’ll be your breakfast crepe

We’ll be like Ryan and Ashley,

They’re havin’ a Sanborn babe

You’ll be my aspen grove, I’ll be your Grow Strong Tree

You’ll be my Big Spring Warrior, I’ll be your High Trails Queen

You’ll be my Crazy Creek, I’ll be your Nalgene bottle

You’ll be my Julie Richardson, I’ll be your Mike MacDonald

You’ll be my pair of Chacos, I’ll be your pair of Keens

You’ll be my Big Spring Warrior, I’ll be your High Trails Queen

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.

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.

Opening Day News: June 12th, 2011

Monday, June 13th, 2011

High Trails Director Julie Richardson Greeting Campers

The Opening Day of camp is the most exciting day of our year and we enjoyed sunny, warm temperatures and a brilliant blue sky today. After almost two weeks of staff training, we are excited to have campers running down the paths and filling the lodges with laughter.  They seem as happy to be here as we are to have them.

Luggage was barely unpacked before camp activities began.  The stables were busy with Ride-Out and Basic Preparation, shouts came from the volleyball courts, and the sounds of old friends reconnecting and new friendships forming were everywhere.  Tent and cabin groups played “Getting Acquainted” and “Team Building” games to facilitate the formation of these important living unit communities.  The energy and enthusiasm is contagious.

Tomorrow, our program will begin in earnest and we will have half-day hikes heading out to A-Bluff, Top of the World, the Crystal Beds and other favorite destinations.  Basic Preparation will continue at both stables, and we will have introductory sessions in rock climbing and camping skills.  We’ll also begin crafts projects, activities at the Interbarn science center, tennis, fishing, and sports.  Junior campers will be hiking, riding, swimming, playing tennis, and learning camping skills at the Mountain Odyssey program during their first two days.

Welcome to Camp!

On Wednesday morning the girls will backpack out for their Cabinside Overnights at campsites on our property.  The boys will camp-out on Thursday night.  These first overnights with the living unit accomplish some important goals.  They introduce everyone to the fun of camping out; outdoor skills are learned or reviewed; and close bonds are created among the members of each living community.   Sanborn Junior campers will also experience their first overnight on Wednesday or Thursday.

Tomorrow night, Opening Campfires will be held at both Big Spring and High Trails.  These are always lots of fun and include great singing and Broadway quality skits.  Other special events planned this week include the All Camp Adventure Race, the Counselor Hunt and Cabinside Skit Night at High Trails.  At Big Spring the boys will enjoy the Bomber Relay and Unit Skits.  Later in the week, we will all get together for a coed ice cream social on Saturday night.

Early in the week, we will be signing up for trips throughout the term.  High Trails and Big Spring campers will choose from many exciting possibilities including mountain climbs, horseback trips, tubing on the South Platte River and wilderness backpacking trips.  Counselors and senior staff members will be on hand to help campers select those trips which best fit individual interests.  Sanborn Junior campers do not sign up for trips; their program includes several exciting all-day trips in addition to their overnight camping trips.

We will be taking group photos early in the week and will post them on our website—so check us out again late in the week!  We’ll also be mailing you a copy of your camper’s group photo with the counselor letter next Sunday.  Each Sunday evening, we will post a report about our activities as well as photos of activities taken during the previous week.  Although we can’t promise to show every camper or every activity, we hope these photos will provide a glimpse into life at camp for families and friends.

Until next week……..

The Next Generation of Cowgirls (or Legendary Women) in Training

Monday, January 24th, 2011

High Trails Cowgirls

Yesterday in The New York Times Magazine, Rebecca Traister wrote an article titled “Cowgirl Country.”  In it, she examines some of our current female politicians through the romanticized, and somewhat marginalized, American myth of “female strength and individualism”: the cowgirl.

Up here at Sanborn Western Camps, we have our own brand of cowgirl—and though she is not typically an outlaw—she often embodies the frontier and pioneer spirit of the very women who helped settle the West (and who started SWC as well—thank you, Laura Sanborn).

Even Cowgirls Get the (power of a) Bluebird, Colorado Day

Since “frontier womanhood has emerged as one of the only historically American models of aspirational femininity available to girls,” it is not surprising how many of our campers and staff—like Traiser’s frontier women “who pushed West, shot sharp, talked tough and sometimes drew blood”—love the West, are very intelligent and sharp, can be tough on themselves, and sometimes draw (their own) blood during our high mountain adventures.

Yet our cowgirls transcend the “only tradition in which America has historically been able to celebrate its mighty women” by embodying all of the strengths of a cowgirl, with all of the insights of a wise woman…or, more accurately, the wisdom of a group of strong women.

Our Cowgirls=American Spirit...and so much more!

Last summer, we kicked off the “Grow Strong Project” at High Trails Ranch for Girls.  “Grow Strong” is an acronym for Growing Responsibility in Our World; a Sisterhood Transforming and Renewing Our Never-Ending Growth.  Throughout the summer, campers and staff alike were celebrated for traits they had and choices they made which demonstrated specific characteristics of a girl or young woman who was “growing stronger” at camp.

From the Grow Strong Journal:

Our challenge as a staff is to inspire our campers and help them implement what they learn during their time at High Trails into their everyday life.  It is our goal to inspire action that goes beyond our 6,000 acres into their daily routines, into their communities, and into our world.

We must challenge them to go beyond conversation, to actually show us (and themselves) what they are doing, the action they have taken, and the impact it has had (or will have).  We must also look at ourselves and how our internal character and value development is evolving over the summer through our actions as role models and leaders.

Some of the character traits we are hoping to model for, instill in, and celebrate with our campers are:

* Loyalty * Respect * Responsibility * Honesty * Perseverance * Initiative * Resilience * Flexibility * Trust * Communication * Service * Generosity * Modesty * Grace * Kindness * Problem Solving * Leadership * Patience * Knowledge * Courage * Discipline * Dedication * Awareness * Stewardship * Friendship *

Strong Women Make Strong Role Models

By recognizing our strengths as individuals and as a community, we are able to see the power, wisdom, leadership and beauty of women—and “to expand our vision of how women might, and do, embody America’s spirit.”

Our High Trails campers and staff DO embody America’s spirit in every adventure, every smile, every hug, every whoop, every triumph, every challenge, every laugh, every story, every lesson, every moment they grow stronger by being in the outdoors and being with each other.

It is with awe and wonder I reflect on each summer I have spent at High Trails because I know that these “camp cowgirls” do not only “hint” at “other kinds of mythic female strength”—they live the “collaboration, friendship, and support” day in and day out.

And whether they become “businesswomen, brainiacs, or feminists,” they will always be visionary, female pioneers (and cowgirls) who know they grew stronger (and taller) from walking with the trees, and each other, at High Trails.

Camper Stories

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

We can’t believe it is already the end of January! It feels like campers were just here sharing their stories from their trips and activities. While we reminisce about the summer, we are very excited for summer 2011, and all the stories to come!

Campers at the start of a 4-day long trip.

Camp has been a huge part of my life for the past four years. Since day one, everyone here has been kind, understanding, and fun. The girls in my cabin are my sisters and we are all part of a strong, loving community. Sanborn has pushed me to achieve goals I hadn’t even set for myself 4 years ago. I have been pushed to do what I thought was impossible, which has helped make me a stronger person. My self-esteem has grown enormously from my experiences here. I cannot believe this is my last year as a camper. I will never forget the times I’ve had here and the lifelong friends I’ve made. Camp’s been an experience of a lifetime that has changed me for the better and I will forever be grateful for the time I’ve had at Sanborn.  - Jaclyn T.

I have made a lot of friends at camp. On my first overnight we went to Beyond A-Bluff and played Capture the Flag. I have done a lot of activities including rock scrambling, hat making, horseback riding, and a lot more. The food is GREAT! Camp is so much FUN! I am really excited for my long trip and Gymkhana. I am definitely going to come back next year!  - Simms E.

On July 1, 2010 I climbed a 14,037ft mountain (Mt. Sherman). We lost the trail once, but didn’t back down and found it right in front of us again. When we reached the top we celebrated with apple cider and gummy bears. It was REALLY fun! And challenging. It was a wonderful experience and I’m so glad I went and climbed the mountain.  - Hannah B.

News From Camp: November Update

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

We still have not had a “real” snowfall, although we saw a few flakes in the air and the temperatures turned cold for a few days last week.  This is most unusual for us since we usually get at least one significant snow before the end of October.  There are even a few golden aspen leaves hanging on trees around the ranch.

Our maintenance crew has made excellent use of the good weather and has built new tent frames on HKL Ridge at Big Spring.  They will be covered by the familiar green tents but each now includes a deck which goes around the tent.  These decks will be a great place for the boys to relax and talk with friends and counselors.  Our plan is to rebuild all the tent frames at Big Spring over the next two years.

Sam and Maren report that the horses are very happy grazing in the High Tor Meadow and Witcher pastures.  They have appreciated taking it easy and munching sweet mountain grass to their heart’s content after their busy summer in the Big Spring and High Trails Riding programs.

We will be again be hosting the American Camp Association—Rocky Mountain Section Annual workshop in mid-November.  Attended by camp leaders from several states, this is a wonderful educational and networking opportunity and many of our year round staff will be attending and, in some cases, presenting programs.  Big Spring Director Mike MacDonald is the current President of the Rocky Mountain Section, and Big Spring Assistant Director Ryan McGowan sits on the Board.

We are all looking forward to the relative calm of the winter season and the opportunity it provides to improve our programs and our facilities. We met last week to select dates for some of our exceptional trips next summer.  These include four- and five-day backpacking trips on Mts. Elbert and Massive, Mts. Harvard and Yale, Pikes Peak, the Colorado Trail, Buffalo Peaks, the Tarryall Mountains and several more spectacular wilderness areas.  We also planned mountain climbing trips to Mt. Huron, Mt Ouray, Mt. Oxford and Belford, La Plata Peak, Mt. Quandary, Mt. Democrat, Mt. Princeton and ten more Colorado “Fourteeners”.  We are already anticipating the fun and challenge of these amazing adventures.

Mike and Julie are excited to visit the Washington, DC area and the Austin, San Antonio, and the Houston communities with the camp digital slide show beginning November 30.  They are also making plans for their January trip to the Midwest to meet camp friends and families who are interested in camp.  A schedule of their travels is posted on the website, and we will be sending information about the shows to camp families, alums, and those who are interested in exploring the opportunities at Big Spring, High Trails and Sanborn Junior.

Many of you have received enrollment information in the past month, and we are always happy to send our brochure and DVD to new families.  We offer an early bird tuition discount for enrollments we receive before December 1. We have already received a significant number of enrollments for 2011 and are excited to watch the High Trails and Big Spring communities take shape.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!