Posts Tagged ‘summer camp’

News from Camp: November 1, 2016

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Looking down the hill onto Raspberry Gulch and some amazingly colorful aspens.

We have had a long and beautiful Indian Summer, with golden and red aspen trees lasting into late October. The temperatures are dropping a bit now and the mornings are chilly, but the sun is creating a lot of warmth during the day. We have not had a snowstorm yet, but know that it cannot be long now….

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 will meet this 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 will also plan 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.

There is a neat cabin ruin to investigate at Raspberry Gulch.

Next summer, we will also have an exciting new addition to our trip options. We have purchased 173 acres at the base of Mt. Antero in the Collegiate Range. This beautiful property will provide a wonderful base camp for mountaineering trips, fishing trips, and explorations of all kinds. Raspberry Creek runs through the property (which we are calling “Raspberry Gulch”) and we can’t wait to show it to our 2017 campers and staff.

This year, we have an exceptionally strong group of staff staying on through the winter to help us prepare for camp next summer. High Trails Directors Elizabeth Rundle-Marable and Ariella Rogge will lead a strong team consisting of Program Director Anne Shingler, Program Resource Specialist Val Peterson, and Ridge Leader Megan Blackburn. Big Spring Director Mike MacDonald has also assembled a great team including 2017 Assistant Directors Mike Adler and Mark Rutberg and Program Directors Martie Adams and Jalen Bazile. HT Wrangler Annie McDevitt will join Riding Director Maren MacDonald and Rachel Plambeck at the stables to help develop the riding program and keep the horses in shape. Of course, Jerry, Jane, Carlotta, and Jessie will be around to help with whatever is needed.

We will again be hosting the American Camp Association—Rocky Mountain Region 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. High Trails Director Elizabeth Rundle-Marable is a member of the ACA Local Council of Leaders, and has been very involved in planning the conference.

Our maintenance crew has made excellent use of the good weather and have been doing a lot of painting as well as putting on some new roofs, including a brand new roof on the High Trails Lodge. During the winter, they will continue to work on all kinds of facility upgrades at Big Spring and High Trails.

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 2017 and are excited to watch the High Trails and Big Spring communities take shape.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

News from Camp: September 1, 2016

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Hammocks are some of the best places for quiet moments!

It is much too quiet around camp The fields, hills, and lodges are filled with great memories from the summer of 2016, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to spend this time with so many outstanding campers and staff.

One of our tasks during the weeks following camp is to collect and distribute all the lost and found items. We have now mailed every major article which has a name to the owner. We still have some jackets, boots, and other items of clothing which do not have names. Please let us know if your camper is missing something and we will do everything we can to track it down and send it to you.

Our outdoor education program staff has arrived and we will begin welcoming sixth graders to High Trails Outdoor Education Center on September 6. Among the summer staff who have returned to teach during this program are Mike Adler, Val Peterson, Anne Shingler, Mark Rutberg, Martie Adams, Nick Jordan, Blake Carr and Jalen Bazile. Sarah Robinson has returned as a nurse and Patrick Perry, Carlotta Avery, Sarah Ulizio, and Sarah Krumholz will provide leadership for the program.

An outstanding hay crew consisting of Jim Larsen, Joe Lopez, Matthew Huffman, Kevin Fernandez, Jordan Unger, Ben Cox, Evan Zitt and Joe Sisk has been working hard to bring in our hay crop this year. The cattle and horses are very grateful for their work because the hay will provide their nourishment through the winter months.

Our maintenance staff has been busy since camp ended. They have put a new roof on the HT Lodge, winterized all the buildings at Big Spring, and stained the tent platforms at Big Spring.

We are already looking forward to the new friends and new adventures that Summer 2017 has in store for us!

High Trails Directors, Ariella Rogge and Elizabeth Rundle, Big Spring Director, Mike MacDonald, Office Manager, Jessie Spehar, and our new Office Assistant, Megan Blackburn, are hard at work making plans for the summer of 2017.

We have several exciting events this Fall in addition to our traditional schedule. On September 2 we will be providing leadership training for students from School District 20 high schools. We have developed this outstanding program over the past few years and are always excited to work with these motivated teens. On September 24, we will again join with the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument to celebrate “No Child Left Inside Day” by hosting an open house. We will be offering a program of nature-based activities and hikes for families who would like to get their children outdoors for the day. There is no cost for the event.

We are also looking forward to celebrating the wedding of High Trails co-director, Elizabeth Rundle, to Levi Marable on September 17. The couple will be married at camp.

We are already thinking about next summer and have established our dates. The first term at Big Spring and High Trails will be Sunday, June 11 – Tuesday, July 11, 2016. The second term will be Friday, July 14 – Sunday, August 13. The four terms of Sanborn Junior will be June 11 – June 25, June 27 – July 11, July 14 – July 28, and July 30 – August 13. We have sent this information to current camp families and will send additional information in October to camp families, former camp families, and prospective camp families. If you would like to receive our catalog or know of someone who would, we will be happy to mail them at any time.

Each month we will post news from camp on the blog and keep an eye out on Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat for photos and moments from the summer of 2016! Right now, a few gold leaves are showing on the Aspen, and the sky is incredibly blue. A large herd of elk is hanging out at Potts Spring and the horses are wondering why no one comes each day to ride them. We wish all of our camp friends a great beginning to the school year and hope that everyone will keep in touch.

The Thrill of Horseback Riding

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

When riding a horse, I feel connected.

Trees blurring past, the thunder of hooves.  I held tight to the reins, remembering to keep my heels down.  Fourteen hundred pounds of power galloping through the forest.  Horseback riding is a mystical, powerful adventure.

When riding a horse, I feel connected.  It’s a mixture of love, fear, and respect.  Humans and horses have a long history together, a productive relationship that has lasted centuries.  Before machines, horses were the machine, they were a power that helped pull our civilization together.  Before cars, horses carried us across the land.  When we ride horses in this modern world, it’s a timeless event.  And Sanborn Western Camps is one of the best places to ride.

At Sanborn, one of our many goals is to foster a sense of wonder in every camper.  We work to inspire a connection with nature.  And one of the many ways to achieve that connection is to swing up into a saddle and ride a horse.

I gazed into the huge marble eyes.

There is something therapeutic about horseback riding.  Studies have shown that we truly connect with the animal.  Brain waves slow.  We even change our breathing to match up with the horse.  The slightest movement, a turn, the twitch of a muscle, it’s all communication.  The horse understands without words.  If a camper is stressed, the horse can sense that.  If a camper is relaxed, the horse relaxes as well.  It’s a feedback loop, animal to animal, a real time relationship.

Many years ago when I was a camper at Sanborn, I was afraid of horses.  I pretended I didn’t care, but the truth is I was scared.  The staff was ready for this.  The counselors and wranglers gently encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone and give horseback riding a try.  So I did.

I thought we would jump right on a horse and ride, but the process was much more intricate.  The wranglers first taught me how to care for the animal, to understand it, to lead the horse gently, to speak to it.  They showed me how to brush the horse, tracing the contours of its power.  I began to relax and forget my fear.  I began to feel a sense of wonder.

I gazed into the huge marble eyes.  I ran my hands along the sway of the horse’s back and wondered if a Ute boy or a young trapper did the same with his horse two hundred years ago, right where I was standing.

We learned to saddle and bridle, tightening buckles, bringing all tack to the perfect length.

We learned to saddle and bridle, tightening buckles, bringing all tack to the perfect length.  Then, with mud on my rented boots, I swung up into the saddle.  We rode slowly, ambling away from the Big Spring barn.  That sunny afternoon, I went on my first ride.  And I’ve never looked back.

When we ride, we develop all kinds of skills.  Horseback riding is a two-way process.  You can’t just sit back and do nothing, you must interact with the animal with physical and verbal cues.  As a result, riding develops subtle communication skills.  Riding also develops balance and coordination.  Your core gets a workout, and you must stay focused on where your body is in space.  After a long ride, the next day you can truly feel it, aches in muscles you didn’t know you had.

At camp we do all kinds of rides, from half-day trail rides to five day pack trips deep into the Rockies.  It’s a range of fun that fits perfectly with the range of campers.  My favorites are the long trips, adventures that are unmatched.  We ride deep into rugged country, places where only horses can take us.  We sleep under the stars and rise before dawn to care for the herd.  It’s a unique experience that you can only find at a place like Sanborn.

In our modern chaotic world, it’s important to find ways to relax.  Horseback riding can do that.  Horses are a direct bond with nature that we can all share.  When you ride a horse, you find both companionship and solitude at the same time.

Any chance I can get, I’ll take a horseback ride.  The rasp of an old saddle, the musk of the animal, the joy of a slow walk through an aspen grove.  The world looks better from the back of a horse.  The Ute Indians of the Rockies once said, “The way to heaven is on horseback.”  I think they might be right.

- M. Huffman -

From the Summer Staff Perspective

Friday, December 18th, 2015

Camp has an incredible impact on campers, but it also impacts our staff members in equally powerful ways. It allows us to reflect on the impact of our experiences and the strength of connections made during our childhood and adolescence. It gives us a perspective on the challenges of growing up that we don’t experience again until we have children of our own. And, possibly most important, it allows us to see ourselves through the eyes, actions and needs of another. We have incredible staff at Sanborn Western Camps because, as an organization, we ask them to put the needs of the campers before their own. The staff members who remain present and focused on the campers’ development end up being the ones who take away camps’ biggest lesson: how to empathize and care deeply for others–and to hold yourself accountable. As one of our long-time staff members and former campers, Iska Nardie-Warner, shared in her following response on self-reflection, “They will ask similar questions of you, and you might want [to have] your answers ready.”

Camp changes the way girls perceive themselves.

I was writing [this] and ended up getting super nostalgic for camp, the staff, and the campers. Anyway, I just thought I’d share some of what camp has given me these past 3 years mostly because I think that sharing in the moment is cool and not done enough, but also because tis the season you know?


Though I have had many reasons for returning to Sanborn, the opportunity to communicate to young girls the power that comes from living outdoors in a solely female community surely covers the main of it.


Fortunately for me, the past two summers have been spent living and working with the same girls. And I can honestly say that watching each and everyone of those unique, talented, and beautiful young ladies challenge themselves physically, emotionally and grow in themselves has been a blessing. We all remember the challenges of being a fifteen-year old girl and to help these special ladies recognize their connections to (and love for) each other and the strength they build when they rely not only upon themselves but each other as well is making a difference.


Camp changes the way girls perceive themselves. Less and less, you will observe, the girls worry about the need to look or act a specific way: instead, they focus on climbing 14,000 foot mountains, riding horses with control, and most importantly asking questions of the world, themselves. And don’t be fooled, they will ask similar questions of you, and you might want your answers ready.


The power of fifteen-year old girls is undoubtedly underestimated. There is something striking about waking each morning and having to explain yourself and your thoughts and actions, almost immediately, to your girls. Their insatiable curiosity prompts repeated recognition of the importance of self-reflection for a counselor.


Honestly, I cherish explaining why my opinions on the importance of female empowerment provide the drive behind my work as a counselor: Sanborn becomes the intersection of theory and practice, for me, and I only fully-understand that because of self-reflection, sometimes prompted by the intelligent young ladies that populate that camp. In other words, these girls challenge me just as much as I plan on challenging them each summer. And I know they will give me just as much as I am willing to give them.

"And I know they will give me just as much as I am willing to give them." Avery (left), a current camper, with Iska (right) during their long trip in Summer 2015.


I could never take my role in their life lightly, and plan to never take for granted the role they have played in mine either because they really are the most special, funny, witty, charming, intelligent, kind, poised, and lovable young women. I miss them to pieces and know that they will be some of the best JCs and people this world has ever seen. And Sanborn—as a place that changes lives forever (for the better)—would be lucky to have any of them that can return.

Cheers,

Iska

Thank you Iska for sharing your thoughts with us and our greater Camp community. We are so excited to continue impacting each other with our campers and staff members as the New Year approaches and brings Summer 2016 with it.

The Joy of Campfires

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

"The brilliance, the warmth, the crackle of the logs…it brought new life to our cold campsite."

There are so many magnificent things about summer camp, and for me one of the greatest of them is the opportunity to sit around a campfire.  Not a gas flame flickering, not a warming lamp on a restaurant patio… but a campfire.

The first campfire I experienced was at Sanborn, and it was love at first sight.  I was a camper on my first unit overnight, far from home.  I was tired from a long hike in wet weather, my feet and shoulders were aching, and a cold front was rolling in behind the rain. But then the counselors built a campfire.  And all of those tiresome things melted away. I couldn’t believe how incredible it was to just stare at the rolling flames.

The mood lifted as campers and staff gathered around.  We gazed at the fire, transfixed by the vines of light tangling in the air.  The brilliance, the warmth, the crackle of the logs…it brought new life to our cold campsite.  There was something mystic about those flames.  It felt like a message from the earth, from nature itself, an encouraging note of warmth and energy.

Throughout that evening, campers and counselors stayed near the fire, working together to prepare dinner.  We chopped and grilled, cooking right over the blaze.  There wasn’t a stove in sight, we literally cooked over the fire.  It felt timeless, as if we were engaged in an ancient task.  I still remember that meal, it’s one of the best dinners of my life.  And not because it was well made, which it was, but because the entire meal was cooked on an open fire.  It lit up my mood and filled up my belly.

"We chopped and grilled, cooking right over the blaze."

That campfire was a first for me, and summer camp is all about firsts.  Spending a night or two out in the wilderness can be scary, but a campfire can chase away those fears.  It’s a process that humans have been doing for eons.

The human race has a special relationship with campfires.  It’s a ritual of light, a safe zone of warmth and community.  Gazing into a the flames, we connect to our past.  For thousands of years our ancestors sat around fires, not for fun, but for necessity.  Human history began by the firelight.  When we build campfires, it brings a taste of the timeless into our cluttered modern world.

It’s essential to be safe when building a fire.  At Sanborn, we don’t have fires all the time, we only build when conditions permit.  Sometimes there are fire bans, other times we’re in National Forest or high country and we simply don’t want to impact the surroundings.  But when we do build campfires, it’s truly wonderful.  A campfire can warm a day and bond a group.  Gazing into the flames inspires you in ways that are hard to describe.  The flames roll and your thoughts roll with them.

Years ago, that night around the fire, the meal finished but we kept the flames going.  We roasted marshmallows and sang along with an untuned guitar.  The flames twisted up into the night with our laughter in tow.  I looked across the fire, into the eyes of my new friends.  The campfire underscored the mood, it was a shared love of the moment.  With each pop from the fire, sparks floated up into the sky, mixing with the stars.  I felt so… connected.

As the night ended, the flames fell into coals and the embers pulsed like a heartbeat.   One by one, everyone headed off to bed, zipping into their tents and bags.  I sat alone with a few others, poking at the embers. Finally, the counselors put the fire out with a crash of cold water.  Steam hissed up into the night, the light fading away.  It was time for bed.

I always sleep like a rock after sitting around a campfire.  It’s almost like the flames were a lullaby for my busy mind.  And then there’s the fun of the next day… because one of the great things about a campfire is that it stays with you.  The next morning you can smell the campfire in your clothes, an aroma of smoke, an echo of nighttime fun.  More than once, I’ve been caught standing stock-still, sniffing my clothes and smiling, remembering the flawless joy of a campfire.

News from Camp: October 1, 2015

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

We are enjoying spectacular Indian Summer days here at camp. The golden Aspen are at their peak and are stunning against the bright blue sky. We’ve been spying on the herd of elk at Potts Spring and have also seen deer, porcupines, wild turkeys, bobcats, and, of course, the fat black Abert squirrels. Many of our summer birds have headed south and the year-round bird residents are beginning to show up at our feeders more regularly.

Everyone at camp had a great time watching the lunar eclipse on September 27. It was a spectacular show from our location, and bugling elk in the background made it a night to remember!

Our outdoor education program with sixth graders from District 20 in Colorado Springs has been underway since mid-September. We also hosted a “No Child Left Inside” open house September 19 and were very happy to have many local families join us for a morning of hikes and nature-based activities led by our staff. We are very committed to doing everything we can to help young people connect with the natural world. The benefits are enormous—as Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder” says: “Children who have a personal connection with nature are happier, healthier, and smarter.”

At The Nature Place, Rob Jolly and his staff are busy working with the University of Denver on a team-building and leadership development program for DU’s MBA students. We have collaborated with DU on this program, where every MBA student spends a long weekend at The Nature Place, for over 15 years. The students rock climb, participate in an orienteering course, and work through many team-building scenarios, all of which teach values-based leadership.

The horses are grazing happily in Fishcreek where they are exceptionally appreciative of the lush green grass. They miss taking rides every day with their many friends but are already looking forward to next summer.

We are most excited about opening enrollment for another season of camp. The summer of 2016 will be our 68th and we are looking forward to sharing adventures, friendships and lots of fun. We have already begun enrollment, and additional enrollment information will be going out throughout the month of October. If you know of interested families, we’ll be happy to send our brochure and DVD. They can also request information from our website.

We hope you are having a fantastic Autumn!

News from Camp: July 12, 2015

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

A post Gymkhana Line Dance (the Cha Cha Slide) has become a tradition for 1st Session campers.

Another great week has come to a close.  The boys returned Thursday and Friday from their long trips excited about their adventures. Many of them backpacked through alpine wilderness and climbed some of Colorado’s highest peaks—Mt. Elbert, Mt. Massive, Pikes Peak, Mt. Silverheels, Mt. Democrat and Mt. Sherman.  Committed horseback riders spent the week exploring much of the beautiful National Forest to our West, including 39-Mile Mountain and Puma Hills.

The girls had a full week of all-day trips and overnight trips including two-day horseback rides, and mountain climbs (La Plata and Shavano). They also enjoyed fishing trips and challenged themselves at our High Ropes Course.  One exceptional group of hikers climbed Pikes Peak in one day!  After four weeks of hardy outdoor living, many of the girls were excited to spend Thursday shopping in the resort town of Breckenridge.

The Junior campers enjoyed a super campout, some great hikes and horseback rides, swimming, and crafts, as well as an all-day hike to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument followed by the opportunity to dig for their own fossils.

Some major special events took place this week including the JC Dinner on Monday night, the High Trails Talent Show on Wednesday, and the Miss Sanborn Competition at High Trails on Thursday night.  The theme of the JC Dinner was “Once Upon a Time” and each cabinside came in costume and presented a song or skit.   The Miss Sanborn Pageant is a spoof in which campers choose a character for their counselor, dress them, and help them prepare a “talent”.  Contestants this year included a Beetle, No-Bake Ninja, and The Sock Stealing Unicorn.

Our final weekend has been packed! On Friday evening, Big Spring enjoyed their Super Counselor Hunt, while High Trails had a fun all-camp game.  Our annual Gymkhana took place on Saturday morning. This series of games on horseback is fun for both the participants and their cheering squads.  On Saturday evening everyone enjoyed the all-camp Drama Presentation.  On Sunday both camps celebrated their final vespers service.

Enjoy seeing photos from the week in the Camp In Touch Portal!

Tomorrow will bring packing, last-chance activities, closing dinner and closing campfires at each camp.  On Tuesday, we will be sad to see this wonderful group of campers leave.  Thank-you for sharing your children with us!

Best Regards,

Jane

The Importance of Climbing

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Life is a gift, but some days it feels like a chore.  On those days, we can feel overloaded with the weight of responsibility, disappointment, and anxiety.  It’s important to push through those feelings because in the end, life is an adventure.  That’s one of the reasons it’s important to get outdoors.  More specifically, it’s important to climb mountains.

Climbing a mountain somehow resets your brain.  Ascending any peak, no matter its size, is an exhausting journey, a crazy trek.  It changes you as it challenges you.  Maybe it’s the lack of oxygen, but every time I climb a mountain I see the world in a new light.

I climbed my first mountain at camp many years ago.  School had ended, summer rolled around, I assumed I had three months of dullness to look forward to.  But then, my parents sent me to Sanborn.  Boredom went out the door.  I loved it.

It was that summer that I climbed my first 14er.   I’ll never forget that trip.  I remember getting dropped at the trailhead, our packs full.

At the trailhead, ready to climb

Counselors checked the maps, and we set out into the wilderness.  After many hours of hiking, we reached our basecamp.  Rising to the north was the cloud-covered mountain that we were driven to climb.  That night, we ate well, sang songs around the fire, and drifted to sleep in our little village of tents.

We woke long before dawn to find the counselors up and ready.  We crunched down some cold cereal and set out to climb the mountain.  The adrenaline was flowing, the spirit of adventure pushing us.  Hours passed, our line of headlamps bobbing up the steep trail, gaining altitude. I was exhausted and I wanted to give up.  But with encouragement from my counselors, I pushed on.

As early daylight broke on the mountain, we were able to see our progress.  I was encouraged by how high we had climbed.  In the valley below, our tents were so small they were hard to see.  And then we saw an eagle fly.  Not above us, but below us.  Looking down on that powerful bird as it soared across the sky was a shift for my brain.

We pressed on.  After a while, we could see the summit — it was only a few hundred yards away.  I was so excited I joined other campers and we ran… only to discover… it was a false peak.  We learned an important life lesson: don’t burn out racing up false peaks.  I was exhausted, but because of my counselors, because of how much they believed in me, I never gave up.  We pressed on.  It seemed like we were hiking across a lunar landscape.

Climbing a 14er

We were above tree line, no vegetation, the squeak of pikas all around us.  Hours moved like minutes.  We fought the wind and cheered each other on.  Finally, we scrambled over rocks that were billions of years old and reached the summit.  We did it.  There was a mystic silence as we stood on the peak and watched the sun rise over the Rockies.  I laughed with delight, bonding with my Big Spring brothers.  I couldn’t wait to climb again.

Standing on top is amazing, but the summit is not the goal.   The reason we climb a mountain is just that:  to climb.   One of my favorite climbs was years ago, when I was a counselor myself and our camp trip didn’t even reach the top.  A storm rolled in over Mount Harvard and pushed us down long before the summit.  We returned to base camp and took shelter from the cloudburst.  We still had a great climb.  It was an epic trip, long remembered, even though we didn’t make it to the top.  The goal is not only the summit, the goal is the journey, the strength you gain from the climb, and the memories.

Standing on top of the world

When we climb mountains, it clarifies our thinking.  The disorder of our lives — the argument with a friend, the bad grade in algebra — all of it is forgotten.  The mountain is all that matters.  It gives us perspective.  When we climb, the mountain speaks to us in geologic time, a slow-motion language, and it reminds us that that problems are fleeting and life is truly a gift.

~M.Huffman~

Nothing is Simple and Alone

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

New Perspectives

When I think back on the best times of my life, I always end up thinking about summer camp.  My experience at camp truly shaped who I am today.  It helped me see the world in a new way.   As a camper, I learned that my view of the world was an internal, subjective interpretation.  The counselors and trip leaders didn’t just guide me into the wilderness, they guided me into a new way of seeing.

At Sanborn camps, there is a two day trip called the Lone Vigil, a little adventure that I signed up for when I was a kid at camp.  The trip is simple: a camper spends time alone in the wilderness, two days and one night…alone.  On other trips, the campers and counselors stay together, hike together, set up tents in a cluster, cook, eat, and sleep in a small group.  But not the Lone Vigil.  On that trip, the goal was solitude.  Campers are lead by their counselors into the woods, then after a mile or so, the group splits up and heads in different directions.  Everyone strikes out alone.

I can remember walking alone, feeling the weight of my pack filled with food, shelter, and provisions.  I was self-sufficient, hiking alone in the woods, nervous but confident.  I was armed with new skills learned in camp — the ability to read map and compass, the knowledge of fire safety, the tenants of leave-no-trace camping, and a good book.  I soon found my campsite, close to water but not too close.  I set up my tent and gathered wood.  The solitude was amazing.  I felt the wind in a new way, heard the birds more clearly.  I spent the entire afternoon alone, building camp alone, cooking and watching the sunset alone.

Solitude and Silence

So many emotions rolled through my mind and body.  I was excited, afraid, lonely, uplifted, and curious.  The hours ticked by in solitude, and my eyes began to open up and really see the woods.   Dappled sunlight. The idleness of a huge boulder. The paper-wind-chime music of an aspen grove.  Movement caught my eye, and I turned to see a group of deer staring back at me.  I felt like I was…part of it.

As darkness settled in, a bit of fear filled my young mind.  Alone in the woods all night?  Could I pull this off?  A welcomed visit from my counselor calmed my nerves.  He approached through the twilight with a bag of candy and a few fun stories.  He assured me that he was keeping an eye on me from a distance, not far away, not to worry.  The counselor walked off into the dusk, heading out to check on the other Lone Vigils.

The light faded, and I was alone with the night.  There were so many stars, countless tiny jewels.  The fear inside me melted away.  The limitless stars seemed to echo what my counselor said: I was safe.  As I faded off to sleep bundled in my bag, the cosmos kept me company.

I woke at first light, alone in the sunrise.  I watched the trees, was the trees.  A golden eagle circled above me, then dove down the wind into a field.  I had never seen a eagle before, I swear it was bigger than my dog back home. The eagle blurred in the grass, then took back to the air with a rodent locked in its talons.  Breakfast.  Good idea.  I got up and cooked myself some oatmeal, thinking.  I’d never seen anything like that, the circle of life, the hunt of a golden eagle, the pulse of the planet.  It was a natural, personal, adventurous experienced that was only possible at summer camp.

First light

Years later, when I became a counselor at Sanborn, I learned how the trip worked.  I learned that the counselor was indeed always near by.  Even though I felt completely alone, an adult was just over the ridge, just behind the aspen grove, always watching and making sure I was safe.  But when I was a kid, I didn’t know that for sure.  All I knew was the change I went through.

On camp trips like that, I learned to respect the earth, because we are the earth.  The survival of the human race depends on nature.  We were born with nature, we are part of it all.  For me, it was my time at summer camp that helped me see that.  Nature is always with us.  Even on a Lone Vigil, we are never alone.

-M.Huffman-

Oh the Places WE Go!

Monday, October 13th, 2014

The mountains ARE waiting...to see YOU at camp!

Sanborn Road Show 2015

The Sanborn Road Show is an opportunity for prospective and current campers and their parents to meet and chat with Mike MacDonald, Matthew Huffman, Elizabeth Rundle and/or Ariella Rogge, the respective directors of Big Spring Ranch for Boys and High Trails Ranch for Girls; see a digital presentation about a summer at Sanborn Western Camps; and ask questions about the facilities, camp programs, staff, or anything else that may be on your mind!

We are currently coordinating our dates and times for our 2015 show. Please save the dates  below for shows in nearby cities, and visit our Facebook Events page for new city additions and location updates.

If you are interested in hosting a presentation, please contact Mike, Elizabeth or Ariella at 719.748.3341.

Seattle, Washington

Sunday, October 26th, 2014
4:30 p.m.
Montlake Community Center
1618 E Calhoun St
Seattle, WA  98112

Hosted by: The Rawlings Family
Kay Rawlings 206.501.5942 or rawsee1 at gmail dot com

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Ariella Rogge at Sanborn: 719.748.3341 or ariella at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

Falls Church, Virginia

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014
7:30 p.m.
Temple Rodef Shalom
2100 Westmoreland Street
Falls Church, VA 22043

Hosted by: Sam Klein and Family

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Rundle at Sanborn: 719.748.3341 or elizabeth at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014
Location and Time: TBD

Hosted by: The Stefani Pashman and Jeremy Feinstein Family

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Rundle at Sanborn: 719.748.3341 or elizabeth at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Thursday, November 13th, 2014
7:30 p.m.

Temple Sholom

55 Church Ln
Broomall, Pennsylvania 19008

Hosted by: Jeff Farhy and Family

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Rundle at Sanborn: 719.748.3341 or elizabeth at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

Houston, Texas

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Location and Time: TBD
Hosted by: Deborah Whalen

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Rundle at Sanborn: 719.748.3341 or elizabeth at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

Austin, Texas

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014
Location and Time: TBD
Hosted by: The Ehrlich and Gormin Families

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Rundle at Sanborn: 719.748.3341 or elizabeth at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

San Antonio, Texas

Wednesday, December 11th, 2014
Location and Time: TBD
Hosted by: The Smith Family

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Rundle at Sanborn: 719.748.3341 or elizabeth at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

Denver, CO

Wednesday January 21st, 2015
7:30 p.m.
1st Plymouth Congregational Church
The Odeon Room
3501 South Colorado Blvd.

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Rundle at Sanborn: 719.748.3341 or elizabeth at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

Chicago, IL

Saturday January 24th, 2015
Time: TBD
Winnetka Community House
620 Lincoln Ave.
Winnetka, IL
Local Host: Cathy Burnham 847-272-2160

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Rundle at Sanborn: 719.748.3341 or elizabeth at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

St. Louis, MO

Sunday January 25th, 2015
Location and Time: TBD
Local Host: Bill Polk

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Rundle at Sanborn: 719.748.3341 or elizabeth at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Monday January 26th, 2015
Time: TBD
Christ United Methodist Church-Room
3515 South Harvard
Local Host: Margie Brown 918-260-6808

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Rundle at Sanborn: 719.748.3341 or elizabeth at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Tuesday January 27th
Time: TBD
All Souls’ Episcopal Church
Christian Family Life Center
6400 N. Pennsylvania Ave.
Local Hosts: Lucy, John and Sarah Covington
john at covingtonoil dot com  or call 405-306-0518

For more information and to RSVP, please contact Elizabeth Rundle at Sanborn: 719.748.3341 or elizabeth at sanbornwesterncamps dot com.

Santa Fe, NM

Thursday January 28th
Time: TBD
Santa Fe Prep
1101 Camino de Cruz Blanca
Santa Fe, NM 87505

Local Hosts Mary and Kent Little
mbrlittle at mac dot com 505-989-8977

Additional 2015 Sanborn Road Show Dates will be added in the upcoming months. Please check back soon or call 719-748-3341 to find out when we are coming to your neighborhood!