Sunday, June 28, 2009

Camper Posts

We're going to share a couple of stories that our campers wrote about the last week at camp. During an activity this week they wrote down their ideas and memories of trips and all-camp activities. As you can tell, we have been very busy in our first two weeks of camp!


Mueller Ranch by Clara Butler

On Wednesday, June 24, 2009, 2 girls and 2 counselors went on an all-day trip to Mueller Ranch. Mueller Ranch is a state park where animals can take refuge. The scenery was truly amazing; you could see Pikes Peak to its full extent. Everything in Mueller Ranch is completely wild, so children are kept close to adults, because of bears. It is so full of wild animals and flowers that would be hard to find anywhere else. We rock scrambled, explored secret trails, and just looked at the views. When we got to the top of the rocks we scrambled on, we ate lunch and just looked at the amazing view. In my entire life, I've never seen a view as beautiful as that one. You could see everything: ponds, valleys, mountains, and even wild animals. 

All in all, it was an incredible day; I couldn't have asked for a better one.


Miss Sanborn by Elena Wirth and Jessie For,am

On Wednesday night High Trails Ranch for girls hosted the 1st session 2009 Miss Sanborn Pageant. The contestants were Chit Giving Cowgirl from Juniper West, Gardening Mama from Juniper East, The Energizer Bunny from Ponderosa West, Gymkhana Mama from Ponderosa East, Tony the Tiger from Silver Spruce West, the Sanborn Yodeler from Silver Spruce East, and the High Trails Store from Cedar Lodge West. On the South Ridge, we had Duct Tape from Crystal Palace West, Patty the iPod from Crystal Palace East, Pita Pizza from Kinnikinnik West, Fanny Fire from Kinnikinnik East, Nelson and his squirrel were from Columbine, and from Gold Hut we had Cheryl. But there could only be one winner and it was...

Duct Tape was 1st session Miss Sanborn.


Miss Sanborn by Abby Klonsinski

On Wednesday, June 24, the annual Miss Sanborn Pageant was held. All the contestants and cabinsides were eager to get started. Everyone put on a wonderful performance and had great talents, but in the end there was only one winner. It took time and the judges had a hard time deciding the winner, but Miss Duct Tape took the gold and is now the new Miss Sanborn. She had an amazing performance and was very quick with answering her hard questions. Although everyone had their hearts set on winning, it seem that they were fine with Miss Duct Tape being the winner. Not only was there a Miss Sanborn, but a runner-up, Cheryl from Wisconsin; a second runner-up, Nelson Fitzgerald and his ninja squirrel; A Miss Universe, the Sanborn Yodeler; and two other finalists, Miss Pita Pizza and Miss Gardening Mama. Everyone had a wonderful time and is looking forward to next year.


Miss Sanborn by Kylie Archer

At High Trails, the competition was fierce. Some of the contestants were Tony the Tiger, the Energizer Bunny, the Pita Pizza, Patty the iPod, and the Sanborn Yodeler. But in the end, Mrs. Duct Tape was crowned Mrs. Sanborn. Mrs. Duct Tape (Beth) was the obvious choice with her easy and efficient uses. Mrs. Duct Tape’s talents include: fixing broken bones, patching up canoes, quieting the ninja squirrels, and preventing car accidents.


P-Dubz Cabinside Overnight by Lizzie Harris, Kiara Brothers, and Antonia A.R.

Beyond A-Bluff (aka Ladybug Village) was very fun! We played Whiffle Ball and created our skit. Our JC, Evy, fell in love with a rock. That rock went through a lot that day. He married Evy, he won a wet t-shirt contest, and his wife “died” in the circle of death. After his many adventures, he died a gory death of being split in two by a stick. A Pine tree branch fell on him while he was “sleeping.” We could not start a fire because it was too windy. Ranger Ryan started it for us. We slept outside under the stars. Some of us saw 30 shooting stars. Antonia saw the Big Dipper. Then we ate Breakfast Crepes and went back to camp.


Capture the Flag Overnight by Sarah Covington

Last night I was on the Capture the Flag overnight. My team won, but we tied the other team because it was starting to rain and lightning. We got in the tents and sat in lightning position. Then Savannah, Clare, and I sang High School Musical. Abby helped us start the songs while she read. We had cold Pita Pizzas because it was raining. The van came and got us so we slept in Heisler Hall. We made s’mores and hot chocolate. Then we went to sleep. In the morning we ate Breakfast Crepes in the fireplace. It was AWESOME!!!


Art Barn by Georgia Evans and Eve Ozog

Have you gone down to the Art Barn? Well if you haven’t, you’re crazy, girl! There is sooo much to do like…

Paint, make pottery, nature activities, bracelets, candles, stepping stones, bracelet weaving, masks, watercolor postcards, and cool collages. And who may you ask is the creator of this “art palace”?! Miss Joyce Maier of course!! “She is very nice. She is fun and crafty,” says Jessie from Ponderosa West. As well as being crafty indoors, you can be crafty outdoors and still have fun, like flower pressing and flowered pinecones. Whatever you do and wherever you do it, art in the Art Barn is ALWAYS fantastic!!:) 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Deluge and Resulting Growth

A fun poem a staff member wrote last year:

Most people break

When you put their lives at stake

But the ones who grow up

Through adversity are great…




The lightning screamed

As it shook us in our jeans

Which were wet and soaked through

Like our packs and all our things


We hung our heads and dreamed

Of a place that’s warm and green

But the sky was cold and blue

And the sun was all but seen


We were wet and we were cold

But determined, we were bold

So we lifted all our chins

While our horses heads hung low


“Sissy horses”, I was told

By a child who wasn’t old

And he shot at me a grin

Only grown folks hold


The grin made me feel warm

In that fearsome, awesome storm

For the man in me had quit

And my spirit all but torn


“Just go home!” it warned

On our backs the hail was thorns

Then I saw my men’s teeth grit

Oh, the leaders in them born


In that aspen grove we sat

While the rain drops hissed and spat

But we drank ‘em one by one

And we kindly tipped our hats


“Thank you for the pat

Of rain upon our backs

For we cannot love the sun

If we haven’t first felt that


We asked Miss Nature, “Please!

Will you put our will at ease

We feel like we are stumps

That are old and long deceased


The rain and lightning ceased

So we got up off our knees

And as we all stood up

We were taller than the trees!


Most people break

When they put their lives at stake

But the ones who grow up

Through adversity are great

Monday, June 15, 2009

Is a surfboard just a piece of equipment?

A few months ago, the good old Postal Service delivered the Patagonia Surf 2009 catalog. As I took my first glance at the pages, my eyes locked onto  a title of an article, “The Value of Craftsmanship”. What does craftsmanship mean to you and where can you find it? 


Fletcher Chouninard writes, “I’ve always thought one of the coolest things about surfing is that there are so many different ways to do it.  No two waves are the same and, until recently, no two boards were the same.” Chouninard then continues to write about how handmade surfboards are unique and impossible to duplicate. You have a better chance of getting a surfboard that’s pure magic than you do of getting one thats a lemon. Behind every handmade surfboard their is an individual who lives and breaths surfing. Who learns what works and what doesn’t. He or she reads and studies every bit of information that they can get their hands on about surfboards. This passion is essential to crafting something magical. Chouinard wraps up his article by writing, “If you love surfing, your surfboard is the most important piece of equipment you own.” 


The Sanborn Experience is craftsmanship and we the staff are the craftsmen. The coolest thing about camp is that there are so many different adventures to go on. No two programs/trips are the same. Our handmade experience is unique and impossible to duplicate. Children have a better chance to grow into more successful, happier, and healthier adults because the craftsmanship of our programs.  Behind every trip and program their is an individual who lives and breaths camp. Who learns what works and what doesn’t. He or she reads and studies every bit of information about youth development. This passion is essential to crafting an experience that is pure magic. You love camping. What is your most important piece of equipment you own?  

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Opening Day is Nigh!

We spent last night singing songs and telling stories around the campfire.

The day before that, we were out on all sorts of different camp activities like horseback riding, photography, fishing, rock climbing, shooting air rifles, arts & crafts and more.

The night before that was spent playing frisbee, basketball, croquet, softball and eating some delicious burgers, brats, hot dogs and veggie burgers.

The best part is: The campers aren't even here yet!

With our staff training week about to wrap up here at Big Spring Ranch for Boys, we're really starting to come together as a group. We talk with our staff about becoming a part of the Brotherhood of Outdoorsmen and as the week has progressed, so has our Brotherhood.

As fun as it has been getting to know each of the staff members and going through all of the games and activites we're preparing to offer all of our campers, the excitement is really just beginning.

The staff will have the evening off tonight and then just two final days of preparation before the moment we've all been dreaming about since last August. There's really nothing quite like opening day at camp, with the old familiar friends and fresh new faces roaming around the hills and ridges. New friendships beginning to form and stories of the long winter and school years are shared. Sometimes it's hard to recognize the long-time returning campers that have seemingly grown a foot since we've last seen them.

The best part of it all though, is that opening day is the beginning of another summer at camp. We spend all fall, winter and spring preparing and now the day is finally before us that we can show off all that we've learned.

I know I'm excited, and I know our staff is excited, so I hope everyone else is as excited as we are!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hooray for Camp!

For the past week, our staff has been happily inundated with information. They have participated in Wilderness First Aid classes, taken CPR/First Aid and lifeguard training courses, gone on a two day backpacking trip around our incredibly green and wildflower-filled 6,000 acres, taken horseback rides, flown down the zipline, climbed rugged Pikes Peak granite, learned facilitation techniques, learned about the homesteaders and the Ute Native Americans who once lived on this land, practiced tools to work with children, and realized a great deal about themselves.

Tonight we played “How Well Do You Know Your Co-Counselor”—a game show style activity that highlighted some of the trivial facts one can learn about someone in the course of a few short days. Questions ranged from “Coffee or tea?” to “What is your co-counselor’s biggest pet peeve?” The laughter, constant conversation, and sheer number of right answers demonstrated that this group of staff is as committed to each other as to the campers they will be working with beginning Sunday.

I recently read a quote that said, “You can learn more about a person in one hour of play than during a year of conversations.” I believe this is true. I also believe you will learn more about yourself, too. Because these women and men have chosen to work and play together with children this summer, they will take away many growth lessons from their time at Sanborn Western Camps.

Some will be lessons of triumph, perseverance and celebration. Others will be lessons of missed opportunities and some regrets. As I spoke to a senior staff member tonight, she said that she knew that supervising and mentoring her peers would be challenging, but she hadn’t realized how much of the process would require looking at herself through a more focused lens. She said she has already had moments when she wished she would have done something differently, made a different decision—and the look on her face told me that she isn’t used to “failing”.

But this type of growth isn’t failing—it is trying. Research shows that kids who are given encouragement for their efforts tend to work harder, and longer, to succeed than those who are given praise for their successes and intelligence. Feedback becomes easier to give and receive when individuals are accustomed to feeling good about what they have learned from a given situation—and when they are asked “what would you do differently next time.” Because, in the end, in this great laboratory of human relations that is camp, and IS life, there will always be another opportunity to try again.

So we will spend the summer playing, learning, and growing together—and, because of these moments, these men and women, and the boys and girls they will work with for the next three months, will be on the path to become the happy, balanced, thoughtful, caring, wise, successful, nature-loving, objective, empathetic, inclusive, strong, and productive adults the world needs them to be.

Hooray for camp!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Charlotte's Web and Camp

I love reading children’s books. I enjoy their simplicity. I appreciate their genuine realness. I respect their innocence. I am amazed how much they say and how much they can affect and teach their readers.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White is a beautiful story of friendship, loyalty, and miracles that occur when people care for and believe in one another. As Mr. Zuckerman’s pig, Wilbur grows, it becomes evident that he’ll have a limited life expectancy – that is until Charlotte, a barn spider, declares that she’ll be his friend and create a way for Wilbur to become special to others. Charlotte accomplishes this by weaving messages about the “terrific” pig into her web. As all the other barnyard animals join in the plan, one realizes that amazing things really are happening. They believe, respect, and support each other. 

At summer camp, amazing things happen all the time. Just as with Wilber and Charlotte and the rest of their community, connections are made. Soon new friendships are formed – every camper is known, needed, and cared for. When someone makes you his or her friend, you soon become beautiful to everyone. Campers are special people: kind and patient, encouraging and loyal.  Sometimes we don’t know where to look, yet every day during a camp season, we realize that life gets better because each of us are in it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

An Intersection of values and Innovation

“The story of the 10th Mountain Division, is a story of shared values, servant leaders, placing the greater good before self, remarkable innovation in response of crisis, and the creation of unmatched teams bound by a common passion- A love for skiing and the mountains.” 

Is this much different then how an organization/camp leadership team should be?   

The story of the A Camp Leadership Team, is a story of shared values, servant leaders, placing the greater good before self, remarkable innovation in response of crisis, and the creation of unmatched teams bound by a common passion- A love for children and the natural world.

Dennis Perkins wrote a book, Shackleton’s Antartic Expedition  and in this book ten principles are put forward that characterize triumph in situations.  These 10 principles were present in the 10 mountain division and they are principles that we need to adhere to during our Sanborn Mission.  

1.  Never lose sight of your ultimate goal.

2.  Set a personal example with visible, memorable symbols, and personal behavior.

3.   Instill optimism and self-confidence, grounded in reality.

4.  Take care of yourself, maintain stamina and let go of guilt.

5.  Reinforce the team---We are ONE.

6.  Minimize differences, insist on courtesy and mutual respect.

7.  Master conflict.

8.  Find something to celebrate, to laugh about.

9.  Be willing to take Big Risk.

10.  Never give up - there is always another move!


-Motto of the 86th Regiment, 10th Mountain Division

Lets continue to climb HIGHER while providing children a Summer Camp Experience.