Posts Tagged ‘Summer Camp for Kids’

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!

Need a Mantra? Think CAMP!

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Growing Stronger...above 14,000 feet

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

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

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

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

camps dot com

Winter Is Here…What Do We Do?

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Fly-tying during Stalking Education in the Wild 2012

There are two questions a camp director dreads: 1. Why does toilet in Kinnikinnik look like a Yellowstone geyser? 2. What do you DO in the winter?

Both questions require thoughtful responses (but the first question might also require a plunger and a biohazard suit).  Beyond hiring the 120 broadly talented seasonal staff members, recruiting 600 unique and fantastic campers, connecting with our alums, designing new programs like the Sanborn Semester, organizing mission-centric educational opportunities like Stalking Education in the Wild or our annual No Child Left Inside Family Fun Day, hosting the ACA Rocky Mountain Section regional conference, sending birthday cards (over 10,000 annually), and operating The Nature Place and High Trails Outdoor Education Center, we are committed leaders and educators in the field of youth development and in the camp profession.

As the culture shifts, camp is taking its rightful role as an important component in the year round education of every child.  COEC Board Member Rod Lucero said in a recent article in Camping Magazine, “One concept that emerges from most every camp activity schedule is the idea of “fun.” While “fun for fun’s sake” is a worthy goal, I would contend that fun with an articulated focus on education transcends the camp experience and extends to the pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade classrooms.”  Sandy and Laura Sanborn believed in “fun and adventure with a purpose.” And we, like Rod, believe that “the purpose is education, and as the camp has evolved and grown, this mantra has remained fundamental to every aspect of the good work being done there.”

One of the 101 Nature Activities: Find a Tree Hike

Everything begins at home and we are committed to professional development of our year round and seasonal staff.  Through conferences, training sessions, and skill development workshops, our staff not only represents a seasoned group of camp professionals, we actually lead, teach, and design many training sessions for others in the camp community.

The National Convention of the American Camp Association was held in Atlanta in mid-February, and we participated in full force.  Executive Director, Jane Sanborn, was the program chairperson for this year’s conference (as well as for the upcoming 2013 National Conference in Dallas, TX) and worked on an outstanding educational program for many months.  Chris, Elizabeth, and Ariella led educational sessions at the conference. Mike, as President of the Rocky Mountain Region of the American Camp Association, participated in all of the leadership events held at the conference. COEC Board member Rod Lucero presented one of the keynote addresses, and Julie, David, and Carlotta attended the conference.

Additionally, Jane, Elizabeth, and Ariella have written curricula and participated as webinar panel experts for the ACA’s e-Institute.  The ACA just released a 15 hour online Certificate of Added Qualification for Middle Managers, and Ariella was one of the four writers of the curriculum.  Jane is the chair of the ACA’s Children, Nature and Camps Committee and co-authored the best-selling, “101 Nature Activities for Kids” with Elizabeth.

Then there is the hard skill training: BC is a AMGA (American Mountain Guide Association) Certified Top and Bottom Managers and supervise our rock-climbing staff; we train using the most current ACCT Ropes Course certification model; all of our summer trip leaders have WMI/NOLS Wilderness First Aid certification; we have an on-site Red Cross Lifeguard course; we require our peer supervisors (ridge leaders, wranglers, kitchen coordinators) to attend a specialized Supervisor Workshop; and all of our trip leaders go through a comprehensive Trip Leader and 15 Passenger Van Driver Training…plus all staff are certified in CPR and Standard First Aid and participate in our 10 day Staff Week training. This training includes everything from the latest in youth development research to experiential teaching techniques.  Whew!

Winter=Time to Turn Our BIG Dreams into Reality!

We are invested in the experience and our own continued growth and development.  We are actively involved in building a more professional camp and educational experience for ALL children through our staff development and the variety of outreach and educational sessions we lead.

This is a big part of our “purpose” and it is one we take pride in.   And with Jane repeating as program chair for the 2013 American Camp Association National Conference, we will continue to take a professional lead in the camping and youth development industry.

So we actually do work in the wintertime…maybe that is why summer is so darn incredible!

Opening Day 2012!

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Welcome hugs

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.

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……..

Sanborn Western Camps News Update: August 7, 2011

Monday, August 8th, 2011

We have had another great week at camp. Rainy evenings have not dampened our spirits and the sunny days have been perfect for our many activities and trips. This morning’s gymkhana was a real highlight—riders from Big Spring and High Trails competed in horseback games in the arena and everyone from both camps cheered them on. Saturday night’s dance with a Western Hoedown theme was also a lot of fun.

Long trips at High Trails returned Thursday and Friday enthusiastic about their adventures and accomplishments. The four-day Elbert-Massive Backpack climbed Colorado’s two tallest mountains, 14,433’ Mt Elbert and 14,421’ Mt Massive. The five-day Colorado Trail Backpack hiked along the spectacular Continental Divide and summited 14,073’ Mt. Columbia on the fourth day. The five-day Harvard-Yale Backpack hiked in the beautiful Collegiate Peaks and climbed Mt. Harvard (14,420’) in the same day. The Kite Lake three-day climbed 14, 148’ Mt. Democrat on Wednesday and the Alpine Valley 3-day trip reached the top of 14,036’ Mt. Sherman. Backpack trips into the Tarryall Mountains, and Mt. Silverheels enjoyed spectacular scenery during their four days in the wilderness. The four- and five-day horse trips had great experiences exploring wilderness areas south and west of camp. All of the girls were excited about the beauty of their campsites and the fun they had together.

Big Spring campers enjoyed many exciting overnights and all-days last week including climbs of Mt. Huron, Mt. Princeton, La Plata Peak, and Mts. Oxford and Belford. The boys also had fun on horseback overnights, rock climbing overnights, river overnights, fishing trips, a canoe overnight, and several trips which camped out on the ranch.

The Sanborn Juniors have been enthusiastic and energetic about their activities this week. They have enjoyed horseback riding, swimming, crafts, hikes and nature programs at the Interbarn. Their group photos have been posted on the website with the tent and cabinside photos.

Next week, Big Spring will head out on three-, four-, and five-day backpacking trips, mountain climbs and horse-pack trips. High Trails has a variety of overnights and all-days planned including a trip to the resort town of Breckenridge on Thursday. Sanborn Junior campers are looking forward to another campout, more horseback riding, a hike to the Florissant Fossil Beds, and an all-day tubing trip on the South Platte River. The term is flying by and we plan to make the most of our last week together.

Sanborn Western Camps News Update: July 10, 2011

Monday, July 11th, 2011
Big Spring on Mt. Columbia

Big Spring on Mt. Columbia

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 and Mt. Massive, La Plata Peak, Mt. Columbia, Pikes Peak, and Mt. Silverheels. One group backpacked and fished in the spectacular Buffalo Peaks Wilderness Area for four days while another backpacked along the Colorado Trail for five days.  Committed horseback riders spent the week exploring the rugged terrain on the Black Mountain in South Park or the Puma Hills.

The girls had a full week of all-day trips, and overnight trips including two-day horseback rides, mountain climbs, and technical rock climbing.  They also enjoyed tubing/rafting trips on the South Platte River 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, the girls were excited to spend Thursday shopping in the resort town of Breckenridge.

The Junior campers enjoyed another super campout, some great hikes, swimming, crafts, archery and tennis as well as an all-day hike to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument followed by the opportunity to dig for their own fossils. They were especially enthusiastic about their all-day rafting trip on the South Platte River.

Some major special events took place this week including the JC Dinner on Monday nigh, 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 “Princesses” 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 The Super Rugby Player, Oscar the Grouch, and Miss Dessert.

Our final weekend has been packed! On Friday evening, Big Spring, High Trails and Sanborn Junior met together for an energetic Hoedown.  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, “Harry Potter at Camp ”. On Sunday both camps celebrated their final vespers service.

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.  However, we are looking forward to the arrival of our Second Term campers on Friday.

Until next week…

A Parent’s Guide to a Sanborn Camper’s Letter

Friday, June 24th, 2011

SANBORNISMS: Over the years many words have crept into the camp language that are not found in Webster’s. If you are receiving letters from a camper this summer, here are a few definitions to help you with translation.

ABLE WAITERS. Campers at Big Spring who choose to come to each meal 30 minutes early, eat early, and then serve food to other campers when the main meal starts. Benefits include an excellent salary (chits which may be used at the camp store); special treatment from the cooks; and a high degree of prestige. MABLES are the servers at High Trails and everyone takes a turn. Benefits are the same.

ASSISTANT COUNSELORS. Commonly called ACs, these staff members wash the dishes after each meal and keep camp buildings clean. They also work in many areas of the camp program and add a great deal of energy and enthusiasm to every aspect of the camp community.

BOMBER. A long, day hike which can be chosen from the trip sign up sheet and sometimes from the in-camp program. These hikes range in length from 5-25 miles and cover a lot of beautiful territory. Near the end of the term there is even a Bomber Hike to climb Pikes Peak offered to older campers.

CHIT. The currency at Sanborn Camps, chits are accepted at the camp stores. They may be earned by excellence in tent or cabin clean-up, able or mabel waiting, and a variety of other good deeds.

CHIPPY DIPPY BARS. A delicious chocolately homemade dessert.

FLUBBER. A magical substance which is a solid one minute, a liquid the next. Named after the amazing goo which starred in several Walt Disney movies, this stuff is lots of fun to experiment with.

GORP. A high energy trail snack which is used on camp trips.  It usually consists of M&M’s, raisins, and peanuts although creative trip leaders may also add granola and other special treats.

INTERBARN, THE. A large science center located between Big Spring and High Trails, the Interbarn houses fun, creative displays like the giant walk-in replica of a living cell and the Talking Rock. A lot of fun activities take place here during the summer—including flubber-making bubble-blowing, “Mad Scientists”, hot air balloon making and much more.

JUNIOR COUNSELORS. Commonly called “JCs”, these are the oldest campers at High Trails. In addition to participating in an advanced activity program, their program includes leadership training and opportunities.  OUTBACKERS are the same campers at Big Spring.

RIDGE LEADER. A senior staff member who supervises several tents/cabins. They are here to support staff and campers, lead trips, organize program areas, and many other behind the scenes jobs.

SCHMERLTZ “THE WORLD’S GREATEST GAME”. Invented at Big Spring, in the 1950s, this game which began with socks packed with dirt has achieved fame as the “Foxtail” game which is now commercially sold. Although we’ve replaced the dirt with a ball, we still use a sock. Two teams face each other on the playing field and throw the schmertlz toward a goal — there are a wide variety of ever-changing rules — but it is always “the world’s greatest game”!

SIERRA CUP. A metal cup with a handle which is used on camping trips for eating and drinking. Easy to clean and carry, it is the only dish you’ll ever need!

VESPERS or SUNDAY ROCKS. On Sundays Big Spring and High Trails each hike to a high point to watch the sunset, reflect on the week, sing songs, and share inspirational quotes. This is a non-sectarian service that celebrates camp values and the beauty of the natural world.

WRANGLER. A staff member who specializes in teaching horseback riding. They lead great horse trips and are exceptionally good at helping everyone from beginning to advanced riders improve their horsemanship skills. They are renowned culinary artists of the back-country.

Pocket Nature Activity #1: Meet a Tree

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Meet a Tree

In celebration of The Children and Nature Network’s campaign Let’s G.O.  (Get Outside), we will be posting a weekly “Pocket Nature Activity.”  These activities require minimal, if any, materials–and will be just as “wonder-full” in your backyard, the local playground, a nearby nature center, or just on an after dinner walk around the neighborhood.

The goal of Let’s G.O. is to harness the power of The Children & Nature movement, a movement “that celebrates every day the sun rises and sets, every day a child digs into dirt or builds his first mud pie. Let this not be the last generation that celebrates time outdoors.”  So after school today, or after dinner some night this week, grab a few blindfolds/bandannas and help your kids (or maybe all the kids in the neighborhood) “Meet a Tree.”

Be sure to share your favorite “Pocket Nature Activity” in the comments section, we will link to your ideas, website or blog posts on our Facebook page all month long.

I found my tree!

Meet a Tree (from 101 Nature Activities for Kids)

Lead a small group of blindfolded participants on a short walk, allowing them to concentrate on their less-used senses by taking away their most highly used sense: sight.

Guide the blindfolded players through a variety of sensory experiences–sunlight, shade, open areas, trees, grass, rocks–always going slowly and building their confidence in you as their leader.

Now, leave each blindfolded participant at a different tree.  Tell each one to learn as much as possible about his/her tree by feeling, smelling, listening, and even tasting.  After a few minutes, bring the participants away from their trees, remove the blindfolds, and ask each one to find his/her tree.

If they have trouble finding their tree, discuss how successful players identified their trees and then repeat the exercise.

During the debriefing time for this activity, participants can share how they felt about “their” trees.  This activity can also lead to a great discussion about the needs of individuals compared with the needs of a community.







Sanborn Love

Monday, February 14th, 2011

In our annual Valentine that we send to campers and staff, we encouraged campers to write limericks about their camp experience to share with their camp friends as part of a “Valentine’s Day Limerick Contest”.  This limerick arrived last week, but it demonstrates the Welsh family’s Love for Sanborn.  Thank you for sharing the poem, Teresa!

There was a 10 year old camper named Mel,
And once while on horseback she fell.
She got back in the saddle,
Though her teeth still did rattle,
Smiling eyes just as clear as a bell!

There was a 9 year old camper named Drew,
Who’s nickname is truly “Drew Blue.”
He dreamed of horses.
And archery courses,
So off to Sanborn he Flew!

There was an 8 year old camper named Chase,
Who was the last to join in the race.
The littlest one,
To join the fun,
And camp in the wide open space!

Well this Valentine’s day we are home,
Wishing to hear from our friends on the phone.
Reading letters from camp,
Sealed with a stamp,
With Sanborn we are never alone!







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.