Posts Tagged ‘Looking Forward to Summer’

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!

News from Camp: March 2015

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Everyday we watch to see how covered in snow Pike's is and dream of the day when the snow is gone and the Aspens begin to pop!

Although we cannot compete with the East Coast in amount of snow that fell in February, we have had some great snows during the past two weeks and are very happy to look ahead to the green grass and wildflowers which this moisture will make possible during the summer. The longer days and increased activities of our wild animal friends remind us that Spring is just around the corner, and this makes us even more excited about the coming camp season.

We have many projects underway in preparation for camp next summer.  Mike, Matthew, Ariella, and Elizabeth have been hiring outstanding staff members for next summer.  We have some great returning staff as well as some wonderful new staff signed up for the summer of 2015.
We are working on many areas of the program, too, which will provide some exciting new activities and trips this summer.  Everyone has been busy putting together plans and resources for each activity so by the time June arrives, we will have everything ready!
Maren and Jaime have been making plans for our super horseback riding program, designing activities and trips that will be lots of fun and also allow everyone from beginner to advanced riders to improve their riding skills.
Our maintenance crew is working on a variety of projects to improve and update our facilities in both camps.  These include renovations of the Real Estate Office at Big Spring and the bathroom in Crystal Palace at High Trails.  We also plan to have a new floor in the High Trails Lodge before summer begins.
Jessie, Ariella and others are keeping our Facebook site fresh and active with new posts.   You can also check out our blog which has fun stories about what is going on at camp during the winter.
We are mailing our Getting Ready information to enrolled camp families this week.  All of the needed forms are on line this year, and we hope this will make the preparation for camp much easier for our families.
Camp is only three months away and we can’t wait.  Already we have campers and staff from 40 states and 9 countries—and we’re adding more every day.  The fun and friendship which occur when all of these great people get together is what makes camp so special!  We are happy to send our brochure and DVD to anyone interested in learning more about the exciting programs at Big Spring, High Trails, and Sanborn Junior.

Thoughts From the ACA National Conference: Artie the Abert Squirrel Chats with Sanborn Staffers

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

It’s sure nice to have everyone return to the office after attending the American Camp Association National Conference in New Orleans this year.  When 11 of my most favorite people are all absent from the office at once, it sure makes for a lonely week, but then they all return full of excitement about new plans for the summer and ideas for enhancing what we do here at camp. As a seasoned camp squirrel, I know what a driving force these camp leaders are and have seen great innovations come out of their conference learnings.

Jane always organizes a conference debrief meeting shortly after the conference, allowing staff to share in each other’s take-aways and become invigorated all over again. Staff then team up to organize our new insights  into action: new staff week training sessions, new program ideas, and more for the rapidly approaching summer. I had the great opportunity to sit in on this meeting and then to interview people afterwards!

Artie the Abert Squirrel (AAS): Why do you believe it is important for so many Sanborn staffers to attend?

Jane: The ACA National Conference helps keep us on the cutting edge. We learn the latest research and information in youth development, education, brain science, and fun program ideas. The conference really inspires us to provide the best experience possible for our campers and staff.

(AAS): Explain a little bit about the format of the conference and why it’s so important for camp professionals to attend?

Elizabeth: There are so many great reasons to attend the National Conference. It is gives us a chance to network with other camp professionals, and like Jane said, stay current on youth development and brain research, hear creative new program ideas; not to mention–at this last conference in New Orleans–the chance to have a beignet at Café Du Monde between breakout sessions. Each day of the conference there is a keynote speaker that everyone has the chance to hear, as well as breakout sessions that cover a variety of topics from staff training to brain science,  psychology  to program development, and crisis management to effective communication. And in beautiful Louisiana, each day was not complete without an outstanding New Orleans meal as well!

AAS: There were 4 keynote speakers; Jessica Lahey, Scott Cowen, Dr. Deborah Gilboa and Tom Holland. Tell me what you learned from their presentations.

Matthew: Jessica Lahey gave a fantastic keynote.  She discussed her forthcoming book “The Gift of Failure,” and how the principles of that book can apply to camp.  It was a captivating speech about how we can help children to succeed, but also we must give them room to fail.  Lahey outlined a practical approach to teaching campers to discover their own inner independence, resilience, and creativity.

Mike: ‘Dr. G’ spoke to us about the challenges parents face in raising respectful, resilient and responsible children and gave us real-life examples, insightful models and solid tips on how we can continue to strengthen our youth development efforts.  Camp is one of the best places to practice and develop these foundational life skills, and with all of us at Dr. G’s keynote, many thoughts and conversations about the summer have begun!

Patrick: After listening to Scott Cowen I really had to stop and think about where High Trails is. He spoke a lot about being aware of where your organization has come from, where it is, and where you want it to go. I really enjoyed this because our organization has a rich history; I love where we are right now, and I feel has a valuable mission and is relevant in the future.

Ariella: Tom Holland was our Closing Keynote speaker and he followed an incredible performance from Dancing Grounds, a New Orleans dance school that “builds community through dance.” The youngsters who performed ranged from about seven to 17 years old and were led by passionate instructors, Randall Rosenberg and Laura Stein. One of the dances they performed was to Michael Jackson’s song, “Scream.” The highly energized and emotive dance revealed the growth during adolescence and a broader cultural narrative of the pressure kids are experiencing across all aspects of society. I know this is true because 15 year old Empress, totally impromptu (and wildly poised under said pressure), stood in front of 1500 conference attendees and described the story of the dance after they finished. Rosenberg and Stein, in their enthusiasm, pride and even in their shout out to the kids’ parents in attendance (who took the time to pull the kids out of school and drive them downtown for the performance) demonstrated exactly what Tom Holland talked about in his keynote: our opportunity to be part of a transformative experience that positively shapes the lives of children. Throughout the conference, threads and themes came together giving us tools and language to promote quality youth development at camp–and that development starts with supportive adult relationships–which is exactly what Dancing Grounds and ACA camps across the country create and nurture every single day.

AAS: There were 4 days of sessions that ranged from youth development strategies, camp protocols, marketing solutions, and so much more – what were some of your favorite sessions?

Sarah: I enjoyed Kristen Race’s session about Mindful Campers and Leaders.  She gave me some new ideas and tools for debriefing activities and reflective listening strategies for not only myself but for summer staff as well!

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Janie: One of my favorite sessions was led by Michael Brandwein and Dr. Debi Gilboa. The session was about ways to set up a positive camp culture starting on the very first day. Both of these presenters had so much helpful information to share. If you want to learn more about them visit their websites: Michael Brandwein and Dr. Debi Gilboa.

Jackson: I enjoyed learning about autonomy supported programs.  These range from natural play areas, of which we have plenty to a “dream space” area on our trip sign-up sheets for campers to formulate their dream trip or activity, and we can do our best to make it happen! I also enjoyed continuing to learn how the developing brain works and tools to calm the alarm system in our brains.  I look forward to showing this information and these skills to campers in a non-stressful setting so when campers to become stressed, at camp or at home, they have used practice and tools they’ve learned from camp to deal with certain stressors.

Carlotta: I went to a session called Kickin’ Kitchens which asked you to think about the kitchen like a systems engineer by thinking about how easy and obvious can you make the routines of the kitchen for everyone working there from the cooks to the assistant counselors. I am so excited for our kitchens to run even more smoothly this summer!

Jessie: There were quite a few sessions that focused on autonomy and the idea that competence in an area leads to confidence. I am excited to use this idea on trips this summer and to bring the campers more into the planning of trips, especially menus, and to teach them even more throughout the trip, which would give them the competence needed for the responsibility of preparing meals, leading the way, and finding the perfect campsites.

There you have it folks – the ACA National Conference keeps my staffer friends on their toes and ready to enhance the lives of children every summer. Stay tuned for upcoming posts from them that go into more detail about all the research on brain development, and teaching kids autonomy and independence. For now, I learned that interviewing 11 different people is hard work and I’m ready for a snack and a nap! – see you this summer!

Artie the Abert Squirrel

Artie is a well- loved member of the Sanborn wildlife family and official spokes-squirrel to the greater Sanborn community. He has been a long time contributor to the High Country Explorer sharing his knowledge of camp life with campers new and old. Artie is currently practicing his balloon animal creating skills with Jane and knows Jerry’s actual birthdate. Artie is honored to have the opportunity to write for this blog.

News from Camp: February 1, 2015

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

The white snow sure makes a nice contrast against the rustic red Big Spring Barn.

We have had several good snowstorms since January 1 and the Ranch is beautiful under its white blanket.  We are always grateful for the moisture and know that this snow will transform itself into green grass and abundant wildflowers next summer.  We see a lot of animals on the Ranch—elk, deer, and a flock of more than 20 wild turkeys which has been hanging out near the Big Spring Office.

Mike, Elizabeth, and Matthew have enjoyed seeing many of you as they traveled through the Midwest with our digital slide show program.  They have appreciated their warm receptions and enthusiasm for the coming summer.
February is a busy month as we prepare for the summer of 2015.  A major project throughout the winter is to hire the summer staff—counselors and wranglers, nurses and A.C.s.  We are always so proud of the outstanding college men and women who spend their summers contributing enthusiasm, fun, and nurturing leadership for the young people who attend Big Spring, High Trails, and Sanborn Junior.  We already have a great group of returning staff lined up and are making careful selections among new applicants now.
The National Convention of the American Camp Association will be held in New Orleans next week, and we will be participating in full force. Jane is the Chairperson for this year’s conference and has been working on an outstanding educational program for many months. Ariella, Jackson, and Patrick will be leading educational sessions at the conference. Mike, as immediate past Chairperson of the Rocky Mountain Region of the American Camp Association, will be participating in the leadership events held at the conference.  Elizabeth, Carlotta, Jessie, Janie, Matthew, Ian, and Sarah will also be attending the conference. This type of training helps us to stay on top of evolving issues and inspires us to continue to improve our program each summer.
Our maintenance team continues to work on various projects to improve our facilities.  They are finishing up an interior remodel of the Big Spring Health Center and of the bathroom in Crystal Palace.  We’re also working on installing a brand-new floor in the High Trails Lodge.
Maren and Jamie are hard at work preparing the riding program for next summer and making sure the horses are all ready for their busy season.  It won’t be long before we start having new calves at the Witcher Ranch.
We are all excited about the community that is coming together for the summer of 2015 and can’t wait to begin the fun. We are happy to mail our brochure and DVD to anyone interested in camp and to provide references for new families.  If camp is in your plans, please let us know soon, as we have several grades in both terms at High Trails and the first term at Big Spring which are filled or near filling.  Several terms of Sanborn Junior are also building waiting lists.

We have had several good snowstorms since January 1 and the Ranch is beautiful under its white blanket.  We are always grateful for the moisture and know that this snow will transform itself into green grass and abundant wildflowers next summer.  We see a lot of animals on the Ranch—elk, deer, and a flock of more than 20 wild turkeys which has been hanging out near the Big Spring Office.
Mike, Elizabeth, and Matthew have enjoyed seeing many of you as they traveled through the Midwest with our digital slide show program.  They have appreciated their warm receptions and enthusiasm for the coming summer.
February is a busy month as we prepare for the summer of 2015.  A major project throughout the winter is to hire the summer staff—counselors and wranglers, nurses and A.C.s.  We are always so proud of the outstanding college men and women who spend their summers contributing enthusiasm, fun, and nurturing leadership for the young people who attend Big Spring, High Trails, and Sanborn Junior.  We already have a great group of returning staff lined up and are making careful selections among new applicants now.
The National Convention of the American Camp Association will be held in New Orleans next week, and we will be participating in full force. Jane is the Chairperson for this year’s conference and has been working on an outstanding educational program for many months. Ariella, Jackson, and Patrick will be leading educational sessions at the conference. Mike, as immediate past Chairperson of the Rocky Mountain Region of the American Camp Association, will be participating in the leadership events held at the conference.  Elizabeth, Carlotta, Jessie, Janie, Matthew, Ian, and Sarah will also be attending the conference. This type of training helps us to stay on top of evolving issues and inspires us to continue to improve our program each summer.
Our maintenance team continues to work on various projects to improve our facilities.  They are finishing up an interior remodel of the Big Spring Health Center and of the bathroom in Crystal Palace.  We’re also working on installing a brand-new floor in the High Trails Lodge.
Maren and Jamie are hard at work preparing the riding program for next summer and making sure the horses are all ready for their busy season.  It won’t be long before we start having new calves at the Witcher Ranch.
We are all excited about the community that is coming together for the summer of 2015 and can’t wait to begin the fun. We are happy to mail our brochure and DVD to anyone interested in camp and to provide references for new families.  If camp is in your plans, please let us know soon, as we have several grades in both terms at High Trails and the first term at Big Spring which are filled or near filling.  Several terms of Sanborn Junior are also building waiting lists.