News from Camp: April 1, 2017

April 1st, 2017

The Pasque Flowers seem to be extra fuzzy this year with all the temperature changes.

Significant rain and 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 2017! At Big Spring, returning staff include Elliott Abbott, Ian Anderson, Ayden Bolin, Ben Cole, Henry Ewing, Kevin Fernandez, Oliver Fisher, Drew Foster, Kyle Gilbert, Will Gundlach, Slayter Marwitz, David Maxwell, Dylan Morris, Evan Niebur, Jack Polk, Michael Rainey, Adam Resseguie, Joe Roberts, Leo Scheller, Alex Stoffel, Emerson Underwood, Jordan Unger, Stephen VanAsdale, Bret Wolter and nurses Margot Cromack and Phil Hackmann. Martie Adams and Jalen Bazile will be the Program Directors. Mike Mac will lead the staff, with the help of Assistant Directors Mark Rutberg and Mike Adler.

It's always so fun to head to Witcher and visit the new calves each spring, especially when they are extra cute and little because they are twins!

At High Trails, returning staff include Kelly Ahman, Sarah Ashby, Emily Burnham, Claire Collins, Nell Davis, Erin Dvorak, Claire Foster, Jenna Howard, Cara Mackesey, Molly Malone, Zannie Peck, Randi Presas, Gwen Schmidt-Arenales, Blair Sisk, Chloe Stiffle, and Haylee Vieregg. Among our year-round staff, Anne Shingler will be Program Director, Val Peterson and Megan Blackburn will again be Ridge Leaders, Carlotta Avery will take care of the camp kitchens and trip organization, Maren MacDonald and Annie McDevitt will direct the riding program, 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.

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.

Our 2017 community is really coming together. We only have a few openings left in select grades at Big Spring and in the First and Second terms of Sanborn Junior at Big Spring. Families interested for the summer of 2017 should call to check availability. As always, we are happy to send our brochure and references to any interested families.

We can’t wait to begin creating the fun, adventure, and friendship of the Summer of 2017!

News from Camp: March 1, 2017

March 1st, 2017

All of the work on summer documents and curricula have us dreaming of playing outside this summer!

Our days are alternating between cold winter and warm spring days—very normal for Colorado at this time of year! Our wildlife have been much more active as the warmer weather increases and we have seen herds of deer and elk, as well as a lot of wild turkeys.

We have many projects underway in preparation for camp next summer.  Mike Mac, Mike A., Mark, 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 2017.

We are also working on a brand new Sanborn Western Camps website which we hope to complete before the end of April. Many of you have already seen our new camp brochure which we completed in December. Mike A and Anne are working on a new “Backcountry Basics” to update our information on “Leave No Trace” camping, and Carlotta and Claire have been putting together delicious menus for the summer. Val, Megan and Jalen have been updating the ridge leader handbook and SOLE/CORE leadership curriculums. Jessie is creating new newsletters which enrolled campers will be receiving this spring and keeping our Facebook fresh with new postings at least twice a week.

Only 101 days until Opening Day 2017!

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 Annie 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 a major renovation of the kitchen and dishroom in the High Trails Lodge, as well as some improvements to the Ark at Big Spring.  We also plan to have a new program yurt at Big Spring before summer begins.

Camp is only three months away and we can’t wait.  Already we have campers and staff from 38 states and 9 countries—and we’re adding more every day.  The fun and friendship which occur when all of these great people get together is what makes camp so special!  We are happy to send our brochure to anyone interested in learning more about the exciting programs at Big Spring, High Trails, and Sanborn Junior.

News from Camp: February 1, 2017

February 1st, 2017

We've had some gorgeous days to tromp through the snow. We love seeing Pikes Peak rise up through the clouds!

Although we haven’t had a lot of snow this month, it has been pretty cold and wintry here at Big Spring and High Trails. Elk, deer and Ninja Squirrels have heavy coats and seem to be staying warm through the season. Two deer are hanging out in one of our open storage sheds, sometimes startling our maintenance department when they come to work in the morning.

Mike Mac, Elizabeth, and Mike Adler enjoyed seeing many of you as they traveled through the Midwest with our digital slide show program last week. They appreciated their warm receptions and enthusiasm for the coming summer.

February is a busy month as we prepare for the summer of 2017. 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 Albuquerque in mid-February, and we will be participating in full force. Jane is the Program Chairperson for the 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 Mac, Mike Adler, Mark, Jalen, Carlotta, Anne, Val, Megan, Martie, and Sarah K. 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 a major plumbing project at Big Spring and continue to work on interior renovations in the High Trails Lodge.

Maren, Rachel, and Annie 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.

The staff team in 2016 was incredible and we are so excited for some of them to return! We are especially excited to meet all the new 2017 staffers who will be equally as awesome!

We are all excited about the community that is coming together for the summer of 2017 and can’t wait to begin the fun. We are happy to mail our new brochure 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 many 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.

The sun is shining brightly today, reminding us that summer is only four months away!

News from Camp: January 1, 2017

January 1st, 2017

We finally had our first big snow at camp!

Happy New Year to all of our friends across the world. As we reflect on the happy moments and blessings of 2016, 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 2017, 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 Big Spring Assistant Directors Mike Adler and Mark Rutberg 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 10, they will visit Denver; beginning January 21, they will be in Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Santa Fe. Those of you who are on our mailing list 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!

The current snow is making us dream of summer and fun adventures!

We have a lot of projects underway to make 2017 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 2016 staff and are looking forward to working with many of them again next summer.

Our maintenance crew is hard at work on facility improvement projects including the interior of the High Trails Lodge and a major plumbing renovation at the STUW Ridge washhouse. We have a long list of things we hope to accomplish before next summer!

We just received our brand new camp brochure from the printer, and will be mailing it out to current camp families this month. We’re also working hard on a new website which we hope to unveil early in the new year.

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, and we are seeing wild turkeys every day.

Enrollment is well underway for 2017 and several age groups are full or 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!

Family Time, Game Time

December 15th, 2016

Passing the Wah in "The Wah Game" can get really crazy.

This afternoon was our annual COEC holiday luncheon. We get together and sit around the tables at The Nature Place to enjoy good food and the fellowship of our coworkers. As Mike said, “we all work together, yet sometimes only see each other in passing or on this day”. The ranch is big and our duties are various, yet we are all working toward a common mission. It is fun to sit around a table together and laugh about the funny stories that have made up the past year. It is like sitting around the tables at both the High Trails and Big Spring lodges during the summer and sharing stories of daily adventures or long trips.

Football is the not only game that requires a huddle. Giants, Elves, & Wizards also requires a solid game plan.

We know that many of you will soon be traveling to be with family or will be welcoming family into your home. The stories and conversations will flow out while enjoying a delicious meal. We imagine some of these stories will be told by current campers and will probably lead into to memories from all of you former campers. We can just hear the stories now…

“We were hiking uphill all 22 miles from Tipi Village to Quicks Homestead” (We know camp stories tend to sound a lot like fishin’ stories) “It was so hot, so we stopped for water and a game break. Our counselor taught us this new game called Llama Llama. It’s so hilarious!”

Stories are the best! And so are games! We recently discovered that were too many people in the office who had no idea how to do the Broom Dance. Jane and Ariella were shocked and saddened, and soon the ninja squirrels outside could hear some raucous broom dancing. “Cough-cough AHEM!” It took a while for everyone to catch on, that it was hard to dance because we were laughing so much, but we are proud to say the entire Sanborn office can now do the Broom Dance.

Games put a smile on everyone's face around here - Enjoy!

It got us thinking, though, about all our favorite camp games. There are many that bring up memories of fun counselors, or that time so-and-so fell down playing Ninja. There are the debates over the correct rules for Crossed and Uncrossed or the Stick Game. Even with all the discussion and A Bag of Tricks book, we came to the consensus that Jane’s rules are THE rules.

So at your family gatherings this year, when the stories die down, what do you do next? Not the dishes! Ask your current campers to teach you the Llama game, the 2016 Sanborn Game of the Year, or any of their favorites. You ‘ol timers can brush up on your broom dance. This is a great way to share memories of camp with friends and family around your table – well after, or before, the dishes are done.

P.S. If you need a refresher on how to play a game, check out Youtube or just Google it. We were surprised at how many tutorials we could find.

News from Camp: December 1, 2016

December 2nd, 2016

We love snowy days at camp!

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 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.

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 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 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 2017 and can’t wait to share these amazing adventures with our campers next summer. We are also busy dreaming up exciting trips for our new property at the base of Mt. Antero! 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.

The turkeys have been making their daily trek across Olin Gulch to The Nature Place and past the Big Spring office.

Our maintenance crew is busy working on projects to improve our facility. In addition to completing a new roof on the High Trails Lodge, they are now working on additional interior renovations at the Lodge. They have also been busy with a major new plumbing project at the STUW Ridge Washhouse and Massive Cabin.

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!

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 2017. Everyone at camp wishes all of our friends the happiest of holiday seasons!

News from Camp: November 1, 2016

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: October 1, 2016

October 1st, 2016

Our golden leaves are beginning to fall already.

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.

We love walking and crunching on the fall trails.

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 24 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 2017 will be our 69th and we are looking forward to sharing adventures, friendships and lots of fun. Many returning families have already enrolled, 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. They can also request information from our website.

We hope you are having a fantastic Autumn!

News from Camp: September 1, 2016

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.

News from Camp: August 7, 2016

August 7th, 2016

Ecstatic smiles from the summit of Mt. Sherman!

Gymkhana is an opportunity for the campers who've spend time at the barn improving their riding to show off the skills they've learned.

We have had another great week at camp. 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 Country to Country Club 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 14,428’ Mt. Massive; and the 4-day Pikes Peak Backpack reached the 14, 115’ summit of one of our state’s most famous mountains. The four-day Oxford (14,153’)-Belford (14,197’) Backpack, reached both of its summits, and the five-day Colorado Trail Backpack hiked along the spectacular Continental Divide and summited 14,073’ Mt. Columbia along the way. The Kite Lake trip climbed 14,148’ Mt. Democrat on Wednesday and the two groups from the Alpine Valley 3-day trip reached the top of 14,036’ Mt. Sherman. Backpack trips into the Tarryall Wilderness Area, Mt. Silverheels and the Buffalo Peaks enjoyed spectacular scenery during their four days in the wilderness, and the Silverheels group also climbed 13,822’ Mt. Silverheels, while the Buffalo Peaks group reached the 13,332’ summit of West Buffalo Peak. The four- and five-day horse trips had great experiences exploring wilderness areas south and west of camp as well as some of the more remote parts of the ranch. The Pikes Picasso trip produced some impressive art while engaging in exciting hiking explorations, and the Canoe four-day paddled 18 miles around the perimeter of Eleven-Mile Reservoir. 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 Quandary Peak, and La Plata Peak. The boys also had fun on horseback overnights, rock climbing overnights, river overnights, fishing trips, a mountain bike 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, as well as their first campout. Their group photos have been posted on Camp-in-Touch.

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.

Our photographers will be posting last week’s photos on Camp-in-Touch tonight and they will be available Monday morning.