News from Camp: May 1, 2016

May 2nd, 2016

Olin Gulch has been covered with groups of Pasque Flowers since the middle of April.

May is a busy, exciting month here at camp. In a week or so, the tents will go up along the Big Spring ridges. All the Big Spring buildings will be opened up, cleaned, and prepared for summer. There are some new tent frames and a new yurt on ABC Ridge this year, the ABC washhouses have new plumbing and updated fixtures and floors, and the staff cabins on the hill have been completely renovated.

At High Trails, the cabins and Lodge are already open, but everything will be cleaned and given a fresh coat of paint. In addition we will put up tennis nets, order crafts supplies, and put the final touches on all of our facilities and programs. The Lodge has new paneling, windows, cabinets and countertops-we think the girls will love the new look!

The Mallard Ducks and White Faced Ibis have been fun to see at High Trails Lake this spring!

Maren, Rachel, and Oliver will bring in the horses from the pastures at Fish Creek and get them fixed up with new shoes for all the great rides this summer. There are plenty of things to keep us busy, and everyone is excited about these projects because they mean that a new season of camp is almost here!

The Aspen are showing catkins now and we’ll begin to see the first leaves later in the month; the bluebirds and robins are back, there have been geese and ducks at High Trails Lake, and a herd of deer has been hanging around Big Spring and High Trails. We have had a wonderful amount of moisture during the past two months—the High Trails Lake is filling and the grass is green. We anticipate spectacular wildflowers as we move into summer. The Pasque Flowers have already bloomed; it won’t be long before we begin to see Indian Paintbrush and the spectacular wild Iris in the field in front of the Witcher house. The first hummingbird has been sighted and a couple of porcupines have been seen lumbering along the road at night.

Late this month, we will begin staff training for our ridge leaders and trip leaders. During the Memorial Day weekend (not a holiday here) we will do a leadership training session with our senior leadership team. On Monday and Tuesday, any members of our trip-leading staff who do not have current certification in Wilderness First Aid will take that class taught by instructors from the Wilderness Medicine Institute. On Wednesday, we’ll be providing more first aid instruction and a full day of driver training. On Thursday, June 2, our entire staff will arrive for a 10-day training period before the first campers arrive. And on June 12, first term campers arrive and we’ll be off…

The Canada Geese have been passing through as they migrate North for the summer.

We are still accepting enrollments in some age groups in the Second Term so let us know if you are interested in receiving our brochure and DVD.  Summer—2016 promises to be a fantastic experience for everyone!

This Sanborn Life: Hello, It’s Earth Day!

April 22nd, 2016

Goshawk in a Ponderosa

We felt like we needed to celebrate Earth Day in a new and different way this year. While people all over the country are picking up trash, volunteering at their local parks, and raising awareness about the importance of conservation, preservation and stewardship, we wanted to simply share some day-to-day moments of wonder that can happen for everyone all over the world if one can slow down, be present and become a keen observer of the world around you. We would love to hear about YOUR Earth Day events, experiences and lessons, too!
Note: All of these events describe (mostly) real events that have happened to camp staff, on camp property or in and around Teller County within the last 24-72 hours. (We also really like Ira Glass and This American Life)
Act I–Of Mice and Spring

Squeak. Squeak. Squeak…Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.
(Mouse Translation: Happy Spring! It has been sunny and warm, then it got cold and snowy.)
Squeakie, squeak-squeak-squeak.
(Mouse Translation: So we all decided to go into our friends’ houses at Sanborn. They are warm and dry.)
Squeak, squeak. Squeak squeak squeak.

Abert (ninja) squirrels are a year round friend

(Mouse Translation: Besides, it’s Earth Day, and we think it is important that they don’t forget about us…so we are going to head indoors to remind them to get outside.)

Act II–Goshawk Haiku

Slate grey black-brown-dark
Sits low in Ponderosas
Wants to eat the squirrel.

Act III–Vulture Queens

Voice on the Radio: We have just had a report of an accident off of Highway 24, just west of Florissant. The driver said she drove off of the road after seeing a large vulture perched on top of a fence post with full outspread wings, apparently drying itself after eating in/on/through one of the very large snowdrifts remaining from last weekend’s snowstorm. The driver said the vulture appeared to be “frozen in a commanding position–as though it was about to direct an orchestra or is channeling Isis (the goddess).”

Evening Grosbeak

Act IV–Bird Nerds Unite!

In everyday conversations around the globe, when questions arise people raise their phones horizontally to their lips and say, “Hey, Siri…”

Around here, we just call Jerry. Jerry is sort of like the old KU Info line you could call to find out the name of the author of that book about the rabbits that form a society, but there are bad rabbits, and it has water in the title or something…but Jerry is better than KU info because he knows what you are talking about when you burst into the office and excitedly say, “Jerry! There was this cool bird at the feeder yesterday and it was a big, medium-sized, yellowish orange with black and white and…” “Oh! You saw an evening grosbeak! They are spectacular!”

After a while, you just find yourself talking about the birds you’ve seen not only to Jerry, but to everyone else:
“Hey! Did you see the kingfishers down in Florissant this morning on the powerline–so cool!”
“I saw a Golden eagle outside of Divide yesterday–those things are so big!”
“The bluebirds are back! The bluebirds are back!”
“I saw a whole flock of red-winged blackbirds yesterday, and heard them calling by the pond this morning!”
“Look at the junco building its nest above our office window!”

And, of course, Jane yelling from her desk, “Hey you turkeys!” (the entire office goes immediately silent)
“What’s wrong, Jane?” says a timid voice.
“No! I’m talking to the REAL turkeys outside of my window, come look!”

Act V–Can We Go With You?

Of all the megafauna on the ranch, the most ubiquitous are the mule deer and elk. Elk are generally a little harder to spot, though there were eight hanging out by Strawberry Fields this morning. But the mule deer? They are kind of like our local street corner thugs…except they have huge doe eyes, enormous ears, and tend to spring off into the woods with the slightest provocation.

Mule Deer (and cats) are Unafraid

But this morning was different.

Jane Sanborn, mind fully churning at 5:30am, opened the door to her apartment and was both startled and amused to find twenty eyes looking back at her from a distance of about 10-15 feet.

The deer looked at her, Jane looked at the deer.

Jane spoke to the deer, “Good morning, deer. How are you, deer? Beautiful day, deer!” But still, the deer did not move. Finally, with 34 unwritten emails spinning in her mind, Jane walked out of the door, walked past the deer, to her car, got in, slammed the door, and drove away.

The deer looked on.

Act VI–Bob, Cat, Bobcat

The nicest thing about spring mornings at camp is the sun. In the dark months of December, when the sun had barely started to rise by 7, it is hard to remember that April soon arrives with its ever brighter 6:15-6:30am arrival. It is mostly hard to remember because the cat doesn’t yowl in December. The cat just sleeps.

But with the arrival of April, the energy and early morning prowly enthusiasm of our cat intensifies with ever-earlier cries, howls, and meows of “Out! Out! Out” (these caterwaulings are only interrupted by the sudden arrival of spring mice in the kitchen which causes a different sort of sleep disturbing mayhem). So, at promptly 6:07am this morning, I fed my cat to a bobcat.

It was not a deliberate act, and one–fortunately–I was able to remedy by sprinting outside and speaking firmly to the shockingly large bobcat walking through our (his) front yard. I think I said something really terrifying like, “Okay, big bobcat, keep on walking…that’s right, get a move on, buddy” all while trying to see where my also largish (for different reasons) cat had gone. The Australian shepherd sized bobcat was fairly nonplussed by my approach and simply kept sauntering. Our largish, often loudish, cat had chosen two, tried and true animal defense mechanisms: 1. Fluff himself out to racoon-like proportions; 2. freeze and practice invisibility.

It was only after the raccoon cat was safely stored underneath a bed did the whole family look around and say, “That was AWESOME!”

Happy Earth Day from ALL of your friends
(furred, feathered, slimy, scaly or human)
at Sanborn Western Camps

The Thrill of Horseback Riding

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 -

News from Camp: April 1, 2016

April 1st, 2016

The fuzzy Pasque Flowers are so fun to see in the springtime!

Significant snowfall during the last couple of weeks has provided wonderful moisture and a promise of spectacular wildflowers and full ponds in the coming months. Despite the snow, a few of our summer birds, including bluebirds and robins, have returned to the Ranch so we know spring is on the way. Our first wildflowers, the hardy Mountain Candytuft and the Pasque flower have also been spotted on south-facing slopes. We know that summer will be here before we know it and are inspired to work harder than ever on our many pre-summer projects. The summer staff will begin arriving in less than two months.

Speaking of staff, we have some great people returning for 2016! At Big Spring, returning staff include Jared Allen, Walker Crowley, Tijler deJong, Kevin Fernandez, Oliver Fisher, Kevin Gassaway, Kyle Gilbert, Will Gundlach, Matt Larimer, Slayter Marwitz, Dylan Morris, Evan Niebur, Connor Overman, Emerson Underwood, Jordan Unger, Stephen VanAsdale, Rilyn VandeMerwe, Ben Vockley, Ethan Wallgren, Bret Wolter and nurse Margot Cromack. Jeremy Mabe will be the Program Director assisted by Logistics Coordinator Martie Adams while Jalen Bazile will be a Ridge Leader. Mike Mac will lead the staff, with the help of Assistant Director Matthew Huffman.

The Mountain Candy Tufts tend to grow in the loose gravel alongside the roads.

At High Trails, returning staff include Val Peterson, Allie Almanzar, Cade Beck, Megan Blackburn, Ellen Cromack, Claire Foster, Hailey Gelzer, Carly Holthaus, Carlie Howard, Abby Johnson, Avery Katz, Sophie Leiter, Cara Mackesey, Annie McDevitt, Rachel McNamara, Maddie Ohaus, Gwen Schmidt-Arenales, Kendra Shehy, Truman Sherwood, Anne Shingler, Erica Wilkins and nurse Katie Metz. Janie Cole will again be Program Director, Carlotta Avery will take care of the camp kitchens and trip organization, Maren MacDonald will direct the riding program, Sarah Ulizio will head up rock climbing, Jessie Spehar will take plenty of canoe and river trips and Ariella and Elizabeth will keep everyone organized. We also have a great group of former campers returning as staff members, and some wonderful new staff who will join us for the first time.

We have begun our Spring outdoor education program and are excited to provide experiential, nature-based classes for 4th– 6th graders from 15 schools over the next six weeks.

The Mountain Ball Cacti are very prevalent on the South facing slopes right now.

Our April will be filled with putting the finishing touches on improved programs and trips for this summer, renovation projects to improve our facilities, hiring the last few summer staff and counting the days until camp begins. We’ll be painting, cleaning, flying tents, and planting flowers in no time.

Seeing the Dwarf Cinquefoil now, reminds us that soon Olin Gulch will be covered with its larger counterpart!

Our 2016 community is really coming together. We only have a few openings left in select grades at High Trails, Big Spring, and Sanborn Junior. Families interested for the summer of 2016 should call to check availability. As always, we are happy to send our brochure, DVD and references to any interested families.

We can’t wait to begin creating the fun, adventure, and friendship of the Summer of 2016!

A Sense of Wonder

March 17th, 2016

Enjoying the sunset at Top of the World

Many of us can remember “a moment of wonder” at camp when time stopped as we watched a Red Tail fly through the sky, or when we witnessed a sunset so beautiful it took our breath away. Perhaps we were amazed by the stars glittering in the night sky, or by the colors of the wild iris in the field below Witcher Rocks. “To inspire a sense of wonder” has always been part of the mission of the camps, and we hope that everyone who comes to camp experiences many such moments at Big Spring and High Trails.

The importance of a sense of wonder for all of us, and especially for young people, cannot be over emphasized. Scott Barry Kaufman, author of “Wired to Create” recently spoke at an American Camp Association conference we all attended.  He provided research to show that a “sense of awe” as he termed it, greatly enhances curiosity and creativity, skills that are sadly diminishing among today’s youth. Other speakers at the conference demonstrated how the simple act of “noticing” in the natural world can lead to awareness, joy, and a deep connection with nature.

Use your imagination to build a fort like the Trappers would have done over a hundred years ago!

The term “sense of wonder” was coined by Rachel Carson in a 1956 essay. Though she planned to write a book on the subject, she died in 1963 before completing the project. However, her notes were used to create a book called “Sense of Wonder”, that was published posthumously in 1965.  When Carson wrote her essay, she was already seeing signs that many children no longer had access to the wild places that were abundant for our agricultural forbears.

Carson could not have predicted, however, the changes in society which have occurred in the past 60 years. In 2006, Richard Louv picked up Carson’s theme with his bestseller, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder”. The research is now significant and it all shows that children need time spent in the natural world in the same way they need food and sleep.  And, while we now understand the power of this need, studies also show that the amount of time children are spending in the natural world is decreasing each year.

Where will these seeds go?

Two significant, and simple, realizations have become clear through the research. One: it is through a personal connection to the natural world that a child experiences the most powerful benefits of a nature experience. This is the same emotional feeling described in the phrase “Sense of Wonder”. Two: young people are 90% more likely to experience this personal connection with nature if they explore the natural world with an adult mentor who also has a personal connection.

Rachel Carson was prescient in this; in her 1956 article she said “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”

“To inspire a sense of wonder” is still an important part of our mission and we are becoming ever more intentional about ensuring that each person who comes to camp leaves with a personal connection to the natural world. A sense of wonder can also be enhanced in a garden, a park, an alley, or just by looking at the stars. So go outside today, notice what is around you—and take a child with you.

News from Camp: March 1, 2016

March 1st, 2016

It's calving season at Witcher Ranch.

We had another good snow last week 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 2016.

We’re also creating a new staff manual which includes up-to-date youth development information and will provide a framework for our 10-day staff training.

Witcher Rocks has been a great place to spot a Red-Tailed Hawk this spring.

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, Rachel, and Oliver 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 ABC washhouses at Big Spring and in the Lodge at High Trails.  We also plan to have a new yurt at Big Spring before summer begins.

Jessie and Ariella are working our new website, which we hope to roll out before the end of the month. Also, check out our weekly posts on Facebook to stay current on what is going on around camp during the winter.

Matthew and Elizabeth will be heading to the Bay Area with our road show on March 13 and 14. Current camp families have received an evite for the programs and the details are also on our Facebook site.

So far we have 11 calves running around the Witcher Fish Pond pasture.


Camp is only three months away and we can’t wait.  Already we have campers and staff from 39 states and 8 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.

News from Camp: February 1, 2016

February 1st, 2016

High Trails Lake has presented us with a whole new level of wintertime fun at camp!

Although we haven’t had a lot of snow this month, our December storms left enough on the ground to keep Big Spring and High Trails very wintery looking. The High Trails Lake is frozen solid and some of the staff have enjoyed ice-skating on our natural “rink”. We may even get a Broomball game together one of these days!

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 2016. 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 Atlanta in mid-February, 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, Elizabeth, and Patrick will be leading educational sessions at the conference, and Jessie is an official photographer for the event. Mike, Matthew, Jeremy, Jalen, Carlotta, Janie, Martie, 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 staff cabins and of the ABC washhouses.  They are also working on interior renovations in the High Trails Lodge.

Maren, Rachel, and Oliver Fisher 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 2016 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.

News from Camp: January 1, 2016

January 1st, 2016

The icicles are quite the works or art on Old Sunday Rocks.

Happy New Year to all of our friends across the world.  As we reflect on the happy
moments and blessings of 2015, we are so grateful for the wonderful campers, staff
members, friends and alums who are such an important part of our lives.  And, as we look
ahead to 2016, we are especially excited about the friendships and adventures that will
occur at Big Spring, High Trails, and Sanborn Junior next summer.
Mike, Elizabeth, and Matthew will be heading out in mid-January with the new digital
slide show about a summer at Sanborn Western Camps and look forward to seeing many
of you as they tour the Midwest. On January 12, they will visit Denver; beginning
January 23, they will be in Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and
Santa Fe.  Those of you who are on our mailing list, you will receive information in the mail
and all the details are posted on the website.  It is a great program and takes less than an
hour so plan to join us!
We have a lot of projects underway to make 2016 great!  We are looking at every aspect
of our program and pursuing ways to make it better.  We’re ordering the equipment we
will need and hiring the staff who will become our outstanding counselors, wranglers,
assistant counselors, and ridge leaders next summer.  We have already had an excellent
response from our 2015 staff and are looking forward to working with many of them
again next summer.
Our maintenance crew has already completed a new tent frame and a new yurt deck on
ABC Ridge at Big Spring and many upgrades in the High Trails Lodge. They are
currently working on renovations of the staff cabins and the ABC washhouses at Big
Spring. During the winter, they will continue to work on facility improvement projects at
both camps.
We have a nice layer of snow on the ground right now and are looking forward to more
moisture throughout the winter. The horses are still finding plenty to eat as they
enjoy their winter vacation at Fishcreek. There are still lots of elk and deer around the
ranch as well, and wild turkeys have been spotted from time to time.
Enrollment is well underway for 2016 and several age groups are nearly full. We are
always happy to send our brochure, DVD and references to interested families.
We hope that your holidays have been wonderful and that each of you will have the
happiest New Year ever!

From the Summer Staff Perspective

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.

News from Camp: December 1, 2015

December 1st, 2015
Colorado Turkeys

A few of our Sanborn turkey friends!

Winter cold has crept into the Ranch even though we still have lots of sunny days. Our snow-covered fields are beautiful and it definitely looks like December around here. The animals which have not gone into hibernation have been pretty active in the center of camp. There are always rabbit tracks in the snow, and last week we saw a bobcat right in front of the Big Spring Office. We often see deer in the middle of Big Spring and High Trails. The elk have been hanging out at Potts Spring and there are still a few porcupines waddling around in the dusk. We have spotted our wild Turkey flock almost every day—they must know that this is a safe place to hang out over the holidays.

The office is a fun place to be these days as the elves are all busy getting ready for Christmas, preparing gifts, cards and other holiday mailings. We are keeping UPS and the local post office busy!

Plans are well underway for Mike’s, Matthew’s and Elizabeth’s trip through the Midwest in January. They look forward to meeting camp families, alums, and those who would like to explore the opportunities at camp. We will be sending a mailing in early January with dates and times for the Midwest trip. This information will also be posted on our website. These fun gatherings are a great way to reconnect with camp friends and also provide an opportunity for

Cottontail Rabbit

The Cottontail Rabbits are blending in really well to their surroundings with the snow.

families interested in camp to learn more about our programs.

We have big plans for the winter! This is always a time when we can focus on projects designed to improve our programs and facilities. We’ve already planned and submitted our proposed high mountain and horse trips to the Forest Service for the summer of 2015 and can’t wait to share these amazing adventures with our campers next summer. We will be working on all aspects of our program from crafts to horseback riding to rock climbing to improve and refresh all of our activities.

Our maintenance crew is busy working on projects to improve our facility.  They have built a new tent frame and a deck for a new yurt on ABC Ridge at Big Spring. They are now remodeling the staff cabins at Big Spring and working on interior renovations at the High Trails Lodge.

We are also expanding and improving our staff training, using research that is current in youth development. And, of course, hiring the best counselors and program leaders is one of our major winter projects. Some great staff members have already promised to return!

Boys Old Sunday Rocks

The snow sure creates a different scene than what we see in the summer!

Enrollment for next summer has been flowing in and we are very excited about the communities that are shaping up at Big Spring, High Trails and Sanborn Junior for 2016. Everyone at camp wishes all of our friends the happiest of holiday seasons!