Posts Tagged ‘Sanborn Western Camps’

A Tale of Two Peaks

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Harvard/Yale BS 2012

As we sit here in the Rocky Mountains it makes my mind wander. Where do trees come from? Why are milkshakes so delicious? What makes White Mike’s hair grow in such cute yet funny looking curls?

The answer to these questions and more, is you!

After driving the treacherous hour and forty minutes to pick you up from your pick up point it makes me recognize that this world is comprised of all creatures both man made and natural. If you squint at a sunset it looks similar to shining a flashlight in your eyes, if you attempt to eat a pinecone in less than six bites it’s going to make your insides hurt (I know this from personal experience), this is the world. It is your world. And today you are stepping into it not only as men, not only as boys, not only as Big Spring Warriors, but mythical creatures much like a combination of a pegasus, with an ogre’s arms, Jerry McLain’s hair, tarantula fangs, and the heart of a zephyr.

At Big Spring we do many things that literally make the world go round. Sumpings, chants, growing facial hair, and being bold brave warriors. These attributes have culminated here, in this very park, eating this very pizza! We have conquered fears, hunger, thirst, the desire to flirt with that girl at the swings over there, but, alas, we are still here. We are legendary, we are the ones that return with glory!

These mountains were once flat, this grass was once dirt, that sky was once a fish, and we are much like all of those things. We grow, evolve, develop, regress, develop again, scratch our arm pit, and then recognize that we must shape shift. Not in a creepy way like how Will-O turns into a horse, but like Mystique from x-men. This is who we are and it’s to be carried as a true testament of our character, courage, fashion statements, and hygienic values!

I came to this spot to greet you and bring you home, but now I stand here and understand that this is more than just a pick-up, it is a ceremony of life, and I think Ghandi put it best when he said “if I eat anymore rice I’m gonna throw-up on myself” and that is the thought I want to leave you with…I’m proud…humbled…and ready to eat more pizza!

ACA Explore 30 — enter Big Spring Read-a-Thon

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Challenge: During the summer children experience “summer learning loss” when they are not involved in high quality programs with opportunities for skill building.  As a result, young people can forget up to 2 months of academic instruction, particularly in the areas of reading and math when they are not in school. Camps and other youth development programs provide the opportunity to reduce summer learning loss in an expanded learning environment where children are engaged experientially and have an opportunity for additional academic enrichment.

- taken from ACA Explore 30 web site

Our new Big Spring Library is fully equipped with books about astronomy, Colorado flora & fauna, as well as two full shelves each of fiction and non, children book series and picture books for those bed-time read-a-louds!  Plus board games, maps and other fun resources for campers and counselors to make camp an enriching environment!

We began a Read-a-Thon at the beginning of the session and about 23 counselors and 26 campers took part in the four-week-long challenge. The record was around 5,300 pages read thus far by a counselor, and not far behind was another counselor with about 5,100 pages read, and Liam Kelly, a camper, with 3,120 pages!

Stay tuned for next session’s Read-a-Thon!

The Good Earth

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

Our First Session Big Spring Outbackers refitted this old horse coral right above the BS Barn (used to be called the Elephant Pit, according to Mr. Jerry) into our very own garden plot!

The combination of horse poop, hay and shade made for great soil conditions. The Outbackers were stoked to be able to create something that will be turned into a Sanborn summer gardening program as well as curriculum on high altitude farming for our new Sanborn Semester. We created a low-flow irrigation system for such hot days, as well as rows to separate such vegetables as beets, carrots, radishes (mainly rooty items, due to our altitude). It’s a fun project for the kids to see progress in just a few weeks (with help from our friendly skies of late) and they can go home knowing there is something growing here that they planted.

Fresh cilantro, arugula and beets (with help from worms churning soil and creating better organic material underneath) growing in an ol’ water tank.

Our compost bin (full of 2 lbs. of red wiggler worms) is filled with vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and other brown, carbon-rich material (eaten by the worms–crazy) to make this lovely, four-week-old compost! This will be spread as a top layer over our garden plot to add sufficient nutrients to our crops.

Camp Bookie: Jonah Lehrer, “Imagine: How Creativity Works”

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

In a recent NPR interview, Jonah Lehrer tells us the in’s and out’s of how humans are creative.

In his new book, “Imagine: How Creativity Works,” he explores how some companies are creating environments to foster creativity in the work place, based on those Ah-Ha moments we so rarely (but so awesomely) have.

It’s worth the full listen, for sure. But here are a few insights from Lehrer about the science of creativity and our favorite rebel folkster at High Trails, Bobby Dylan:

DAVIES: You open the book with a story about Bob Dylan at a point early in his career, when he was frustrated, creatively exhausted, ready to bail from the music business. And from this, came lesson about creativity. What was going on in his career?

LEHRER: So it’s May 1965, and he’s just returned from a grueling tour, six months tour. He’s just finished touring the U.K., and he is burnt out. He doesn’t know what kind of songs he wants to sing anymore. All he knows is that his old songs, these folks songs like “Times They Are A’Changing,” “Blowing in the Wind,” he’s done with them. He’s tired of being the poet of rock ‘n’ roll.

And so he tells the manager that he’s quitting the music business, he’s done with the singing, done with songwriting, he’s going to move to a cabin in Woodstock, New York, doesn’t even bring his guitar. He’s going to be a novelist and a painter.

Here’s there for a couple days when he is visited by this thing he calls the ghost. He gets a sudden urge to write, gets out his pen, gets out his paper and just begins to scribble. He later describes it as like this uncontrollable rush of vomit. And really what he’s trying to capture there is just this feeling that you can’t hold this back, it’s just this rush of words that needs to be written down.

And so he begins writing and writing and writing, writes dozens of pages, and within these dozens of pages is this chorus, and it’s the chorus of “Like A Rolling Stone.” Four weeks later, he’s in Studio A, Columbia Records, and after just four takes, they cut it on acetate, and that becomes his defining single, this six-minute single which really changes the sound of rock ‘n’ roll.

DAVIES: And as you’ve researched the subject, do you find that there are other people that have this experience of being, of being exhausted, of hitting a wall, of being empty and then, in this moment of insight, are suddenly given these new bursts of creativity? What’s going on?

LEHRER: Yeah, moments of insight are a very-well studied psychological phenomenon. There really are two defining features. The first defining feature is the answer comes out of the blue. So it comes when we least expect it. It comes when we’ve quit the music business, and we’re trying to paint a canvas in Woodstock, New York. It comes when we’ve given up, when we feel like we have nothing left to say.

It comes in the shower. It comes in the bathtub. It comes under the apple tree. So it comes in the least expected moments. That’s the first defining feature.

The second defining feature is that as soon as the answer arrives, we know this is the answer we’ve been looking for. We don’t have to double-check the math or carefully edit the lyrics: We know this is it. So, you know, the answer comes attached with this feeling of certainty – it feels like a revelation. So these are the two defining features of these moments of insight, and they do seem to play a big role in creativity, especially when people are looking for really radical solutions to very, very hard problems.

DAVIES: And this happens not just with artists like Dylan, it happens with people that are working on, you know, molecular biology, all kinds of fields, right?

LEHRER: Yeah, I mean, it’s described by Richard Feynman. He had some moments of insight in his favorite strip club. It’s, you know, it’s Archimedes in the bathtub. It’s Isaac Newton under the apple tree. This is a universal feature of human experience. We all have moments of insight. Even if they’re not quite as grandiose as writing the lyrics to “Like a Rolling Stone,” we all have these epiphanies, and they come in the shower, they come when we least expect them.

Jonah Lehrer is a contributing editor at Wired magazine and the author of How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist.

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.

Cindy Lou- Blue Eyed Girl

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Cindy Lou with her thick winter coat

Cindy Lou

Color: Bay

Gender: Mare

Breed: Quarter Horse Cross

Cindy Lou is a very popular horse around these parts. She is ridden by just about everyone at camp- from Silver Spruce campers up to JCs, riding counselors, wranglers, and those of us that work with the horses all year. We love her!

Besides being able to get around camp’s extensive acreage with ease, Cindy Lou has gone on just about every Horse Long Trip that Sanborn has to offer. She’s been to the Puma Hills, around 39 Mile Mountain, Sledgehammer, Black Mountain, the Corduroys, and to Split Tank.

Cindy Lou with a camper friend on the 39 Mile Mountain Long Trip

Cindy also has amazing skills at being a “ranch horse.” From knowing how to work cows, to being an expert at moving horses from one of our big pastures to another, she loves to have a job. She also enjoys running around High Tor and Quicks’ pastures on the search for some of our sneaky herd who like to play hide and seek on warm summer mornings.

Cindy Lou has a unique blue eye that she likes to assess situations with.  She always wants to know what she’s getting herself into before making the next move!

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A few camper stories

Friday, February 17th, 2012

A few stories to send you into what is hopefully a good weekend for you…

Hi, I’m Daniela and I want to tell you about a great horseback riding experience! Here at Sanborn, they teach you everything about the horses and give you time to love them. There is time to appreciate and learn about them. The wranglers help you understand the horses and how horses understand your feelings. Horses teach you how that everything is possible! They give you a feeling of comfort, even though the horses are bigger than you. The horseback riding experience at Sanborn is unforgettable and you shouldn’t miss it!

I love horses! I ride English at home and compete in lots of horse shows. I really love to come to camp and ride Western. It is fun and relaxed and I still learn a lot. The wranglers are all really nice! I am able to sign up for lessons on Saturdays, go on a horse overnight, and different rides in the morning and afternoon. Even though it is a different type of riding, the wranglers help me improve my riding skills so I will be a better rider when I go home. I like going on trail rides because we get to play games on horseback and talk to our friends. I definitely recommend riding while at Sanborn!

We are getting ready for our last overnight this week. I am really excited to go on the Pirate overnight. I heard we get to build a pirate ship, go on a scavenger hunt, and play fun games! I loved all of my trips and activities this summer. I can’t decide which is my favorite! I am going to be really sad to go home soon. I have made such great friends this session – I’ve made some new friends and spent time with some people who were here last year. This has been such a fun summer and I can’t wait to come back next year!

Camp Memories – All Year Long

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

I was doing a little procrastinating today, hence a late blog post, and was amazed by some of the things that I

We can't get enough!

read of Facebook. Camp isn’t just something that happens for a couple of months during the summer. It is a year-round experience.

We know that a camp experience is important to children. We know about the friendships that are made. We know how essential it is for children to spend time outdoors and to have the opportunity to reconnect with nature. We see campers and staff grow and change during their time at camp during the summer. We love mailing reminders of camp during the year – calendars, DVDs, postcards, newsletters. We live and breathe Sanborn all year. And we LOVE hearing how campers, staff, and alums live and breathe camp when they are away.

As I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed today, I noticed a number of Sanborn reconnects and memories being shared. Campers visiting each other, staff taking trips together, alums reminiscing about their Sanborn experiences. For us, it a great feeling to know how people stay connected to camp even when they are not here. Recognizing that my number of Facebook friends can never compare to the number of people who have come through Sanborn, I can only imagine the number of Sanborn memories and reunions that I am unaware of.

A fun camp memory

It is great for us to hear about the lasting impact camp and Sanborn has had on people’s lives. Send us news updates, follow us on Facebook, look through photos from the summer – share your camp reconnects and memories with us! We love Sanborn and we love that you do too!

Improvements in All Areas

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Living at camp during the winter is quite an experience. Sometimes it’s quiet, and sometimes it’s cold. I have come to appreciate these times, and I still get amazed at the way the community can come together and pull me back in after I’ve been on my own.

Building community is one of the four big goals for all programs at Sanborn, and today I better understood why we are so successful in this area: we have a rock-solid community of core year-round staff and support staff.

Creative Cuisine!

As a way to continue to improve all areas of our programs, we held the first ‘Creative Cuisine’ lunch today at The Nature Place. The idea was developed by Shavano, one of the head cooks at The Nature Place, and entailed a potluck meal involving all winter staff and support staff. We gathered for lunch, with everyone bringing a dish that could be used to expand and diversify the menu options of the kitchens.

As you can imagine, we enjoyed food of all varieties – salads, appetizers, casseroles, soups, and amazing desserts. I wish I could share the tastes I experienced – I’m still stuffed as I write this.

Creative Cuisine definitely brought out a new array of options for our cooks, but it’s the experience of the lunch that I’m still digesting. After a few months of working on my own projects in and around the office, I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed getting to reconnect with the great people that work together in so many different areas for this great organization. Cooks, laundresses, maintenance staff, office staff, summer camp folks – so many people that I haven’t seen as much this winter.

A potential new dessert - YUM!

I was reminded of why we all love to work at Sanborn – it is a home for everyone that comes through. Our community stretches across generations, across the world. Every person that is touched by being here can remember this community. You can take comfort in the knowledge that the next time you come to Sanborn, we will have some great new meals. More importantly, though, we will still be the community you were a part of, and we’ll pull you back in too.

Happy Weekend – Unplugged

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

As we are quickly nearing the weekend, I came across this Denver Post article that made me think about my plans for the next several days. David Brown writes about his family occasionally unplugging for the weekend. It is hard for many people to do – limiting their use of cell phones, not turning on the computer, avoid sitting in front of the television. Brown reveals the fun the family had playing games, laughing, telling stories – essentially spending time together.

We luck out living in Florissant; we have limited access to cell coverage and the outdoors are easily accessible. But even here, technology creeps in and takes hold. Just one more check of email, send a quick text, okay, maybe one more email. When looking at a screen, time disappears much too quickly.

Sledding is always fun, regardless of the amount of snow

Snow hit Colorado today. Some places more than others. I was just watching the news and saw a story about people enjoying sledding on their snow day. You could see the grass coming through the snow, but that didn’t stop these happy sledders from having some fun. This article has impeccable timing. The snow, or sun (depending on your location), or just a normal weekend is a perfect excuse to unplug for a day, or a couple of hours, and enjoy time with friends and family.

I recognize the irony of writing this blog post and suggesting you read an article about unplugging. It is easy want to stay plugged-in when the temperature drops and snow starts falling. On the other hand, isn’t it more rewarding to unplug and reconnect with people instead? For me, I need these small reminders to turn off the computer, phone, television and enjoy what we have around us, even for just a little while.