Friday, July 24, 2009

Colorado Kids' Outdoor Bill of Rights

Before they grow up ALL Colorado kids should have the opportunity to:

1. Camp out under the stars.

2. Follow a trail, ride it or walk it, and be respectful of everyone’s right to use the trail.

3. Play in a creek or river: fish, wade, paddle, or skip a stone.

4. Experience the wonders of Colorado’s four seasons: wildflowers, abundant sunshine,

the changing aspen leaves, and fresh powder snow.

5. Visit a working farm or ranch.

6. Enjoy the view from the top of a mountain.

7. Identify Colorado’s official state wildlife and plants in their natural habitat.

8. Explore one of the dozens of local, state, and national parks in Colorado.

9. Play in the dirt and learn about the world from the ground up.

10. Plant a seed for other Colorado kids to enjoy in the future.

Developed by Colorado’s youth and the Office of Lt. Governor Barbara O’Brien

Thursday, July 23, 2009

2nd Session Camper Posts

We have already had a blog writing activity this session and the girls were excited to share their stories of the first few days with you!

At camp we went on our cabinside overnight! All of the campers had a LOT of FUN! When we came back from our overnight we had hamburgers, fried, and sodas. In Ponderosa West we went Beyond A-Bluff for our overnight. The people that are in Ponderosa West are Vivi, Hannah, Savannah, Natalie, Rachel, Emily, and me Katie! We had a really fun time. We were going to go squirt water guns at Silver Spruce West! Also, we were going to steal their s'mores. Instead we went to Top of the World and got turned around. When we got back to our tents we went to sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzzz!!!A lot of the campers dressed up in camouflage and went to steal candy from the Big Spring boys today. I think they had a lot of fun.
-Katie O'Hara

On the first day of camp, I was both psyched and nervous. I was worried that I wouldn't get along with my cabinmates. Naturally, I wasn't the first person in my cabin. That's when I met Hanna and Mackenzie, both from different parts of Connecticut. They seemed really nice, and I was glad at least 2 people could be good friends with me. It also helped a lot that Hanna has been to camp before. We hung out in the cabin for awhile and Caitlin and Meghan arrived. I was pretty surprised that there are so many people from different states in my cabin. Caitlin is from Alaska and Meghan's from Iowa. At my other camp, the majority of the campers were from Colorado. I was one of the only ones from Texas. We went to eat lunch after they arrived. At 2 or 3 we all had to go down to the barn to go riding prep and learn how to tack up our horses. That's when we met up with Anna and Carley. We later returned to the cabin. Around 4 o'clock, Calire came. She's very quiet, but extremely nice. Everyone that hadn't already unpacked did, and we headed to dinner at 6 o'clock. That's where Lea met up with us. We ate lasagna, which was phenomenal. By then, we were all curious as to where Ellen was. She was supposed to show up at the same time as Claire. Then at 5:30, then 7, then 9. She ended up arriving at 10:30. We were all ready for bed. That's pretty much my whole first day. I've found Sanborn to be extremely fun!
-Shylie Miller

Today we got back from our cabinside overnight where we had so much fun. Yesterday, after eating a big breakfast of pancakes and sausage, our whole cabinside set off on our first camping trip of the session. We hiked for a little while before we arrived at our campsite. At first glance, it seemed like a random spot by the edge of an aspen grove. Within a few minutes it would look like a whole lot more! We quickly set about pitching our tents. Lunch never tastes as good as when you have just finished a hike. We spent the afternoon talking and relaxing in tents before we met up with two other cabinsides to play Capture the Flag and relay races. Then we returned to our campsite for dinner and s'mores. The evening was great, from a debate of golden brown vs. black marshmallows to a peculiar outbreak of uncontrolled laughter. Some of us chose to spend the night in the field to see the stars and find constellations. When rain started to fall, we moved back into the tents with the hopeful thoughts of wishes upon shooting stars.
-Claire Dolin

On Friday, July 18 the risky girls of Silver Spruce West wrote a letter to a Big Spring cabin and got a letter back 4 days later. On the letter the girls sent they included the following sentence: "We now have to go ride pretty ponies over sparkling rainbows!" Do you think that the boys would take that seriously? Well they didn't and they started to joke with us too. "We want to ride our white stallions with you girls." The girls did write another letter back and said they would like to meet them at the dance. I wonder what the boys will say next.
-Jordan Claire Wagner

On our cabinside overnight we ate s'mores and they were really delicious. It was so fun to sleep outside. We ate McDonald's lunch when we got back. When I first got to camp I was nervous. But now camp is really fun because we do things that are really active and fun. I get to do a lot of fun stuff here that I have never done before like eating s'mores and sleeping outside. I am having a really good time. All of the campers are having fun. The counselors are really having fun with us.
-Camila Bouffier

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Art of Letter-Writing

The secretaries in the camp office were alarmed when the first batch of mail written by campers to their families was collected. Stamps were stuck in random places on the envelopes, including on the back, instead of the upper right-hand corner of the envelope.  Addresses were incomplete, illegible and also found in strange and confusing places. It was a shock to realize that many young people (including staff!) do not know how to write and post a letter. Is Letter-Writing becoming a lost art?

Imagine what the world would have missed if the correspondence between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had been via e-mail? What if Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning had communicated via text message? And, how sad it would be if Jane Austen, Henry James, Abraham Lincoln, and Benjamin Franklin had tweeted, instead of producing the volumes of elegant prose, which preserve and enhance their legacy.

Camp is one of the few places where letter writing is still encouraged (and taught!). Campers are required to turn in a letter to their families to gain admission to lunch each Sunday. Counselors compose hand-written letters each week to send home to the parents of each of their campers describing the camper’s achievements and adjustment to the camp community. Hand-written letters flow freely between the girls’ camp and the boys’ camp.

Parents have told us for many years that they value these letters written by campers and counselors and save them along with other treasured mementos of childhood. Some parents have shared them with us, and these are a valuable piece of the history of the camps and of the family history of each camper. 

Technology today is encouraging short, superficial messages, rather than the deeper, more meaningful communication that occurs when letters are written. Text messaging is fine for letting your Mom know when soccer practice ends, and tweeting works to find out how Lance Armstrong is doing in the Tour de France. But if you want to let your parents know how it feels to stand on top of a 14,000’ mountain, or you want to tell them about your new friends, or you want to describe the sunset you saw last night from Top of the World, then letter writing is the only way.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

More Camper Posts

Again, this week we want to share some of the things our campers are doing and writing about!

Rain, Emily Burnham
On some day, we had an outdoor dance party in the rain with Cedar Lodge. It was fun! Then we all took hot showers. YAY!!

How to play Pass The Cup
1. Clap 2x
2. Tap the cup
3. Clap
4. Pick it up and set it down
5. Clap
6. Swipe your hand and set the open end against your hand
7. Set it down
8. Hand it to yourself
9. Put your hand down
10. Pass to the next person

First 2 Weeks, Alex Wyeth
My first two weeks at High Trails were fun and eventful. During the first week I rode a new horse, Justin, had a water fight, and learned where more states are (California). During the second week, We played a hardcore game of Capture the Flag, bonded with cabinmates, had fun in drama, saw deer, and heard coyotes. Overall, Sanborn has been amazing and super fun!

First 2 Weeks, Catherine Shepherd 
I just finished my first two weeks at High Trails. Since it doesn't rain very much in California, I love to see the rain. Here, it rains a lot. I love it when it thunders and lightnings! Yesterday, it hailed! A few days ago they picked us up in vans for dinner because there was a storm. It was really fun! I love the rain!

Overnight Trips, Mariah LeBeau
When we were on a horse overnight, we saw cows and rounded them up until they were on a hill. When we were on our cabinside overnight, my friend and I couldn't sleep, so we told each other stories. 

Riding, Gloria Deignan
I take riding lessons for my Saturday Special and I got to ride the most amazing horse! Usually, I ride a white mare called Cirrus. This Saturday I got to ride Tiny!! One of the biggest horses I know. He's supposed to be difficult to ride, but I loved him and requested him!!

Cabin Bonding, Jessie Foreman
Half way through the week, Ponderosa West lost a pet inch worm. Luckily, Cedar Lodge West had a kind heart to make them happy. Soon the girls in Ponderosa West were dancing! The next day Ponderosa West decided Cedar Lodge West were their bcffl (best camp friends for life)! One of the girls said, "Their awesome bcffl!" So now they always say, "hi," walk to each other's cabin, do make-up, and more! And now they are bfffffff (best friends forever forever forever forever forever forever)!