FAQs for Staff
First and foremost, camp is about our campers, so activities and trips
are designed for them. You are assigned to lead or help lead the
activities and trips on a weekly, and sometimes, daily basis. Based on
your experience and interest, you will be assigned to both trip and
in-camp program throughout the summer. Sanborn has a camper-driven
program meaning, if the campers didn't choose the activity or trip you
prepared for, then you will be assigned to another great activity. That
said, many times it is the STAFF that gets campers excited about trips
and in-camp activities. So if you really want to lead the hike or
overnight you are assigned to — then we highly recommend you share that
enthusiasm with the whole camp. If you are excited about a new program
area, especially one you have gained experience with while at camp,
you can simply express your interest and the Program Directors at both
High Trails and Big Spring will make sure you have an opportunity to
share that excitement with the campers!
1. How am I assigned to program activities and trips?
2. How does the time off schedule work?Time off works on a weekly rotational basis: one week you will have Friday night off starting at 5:30 p.m., and the next week you will be off Saturday afternoon and night starting at 1:00 p.m.. These time off periods last until 8:30 a.m. the following morning. This rotation continues throughout the summer with alternating Friday and Saturday time off periods. The opening and closing weekends of camp each session are exceptions to this rotation; no one has time off on those weekends. In addition to weekly time off, each staff member receives five additional 24 hour time off periods during the summer. These 24 hour periods occur between Monday-Friday in one, two or three day blocks.
3. Can I be considered for employment if I don't have much outdoor experience?Absolutely! Our number one priority is "kid experience", followed closely by a love of the outdoors and a desire to share that enthusiasm with children. During staff training we'll teach you many backcountry skills, such as LNT (Leave No Trace) outdoor ethics, map reading, pacing, campsite selection/management, water purification, etc. On longer trips off off the ranch or trips that require more than the basic skills you will learn, there will always be an experienced trip leader on hand to lead those trips. And, who knows, maybe after a summer strengthening your outdoor skills you'll want to come back to Sanborn and be a trip leader!
4. Do I really need to bring everything on the Suggested Outfit List?Yes and no. We encourage you to pack wisely, especially if you are flying-so bringing 4 pair of jeans may be excessive. However, one pair of jeans, a pair of fleece pants, a pair of quick drying nylon pants, and a set of mid-weight synthetic long underwear bottoms is not. Our Suggested Outfit List should be used as a guide, not a "must-have" list. We recommend you bring items that serve multiple uses-such as the quick-dry nylon pants listed above. Those pants can be worn around camp during the day, with long underwear to make them warmer while out on a trip, at the river where, if they get wet, you know they'll dry quickly, or in your backpack as a layering piece for an afternoon hike when there is a chance of rain or cool wind. If you have any questions or concerns about any of the items on the list, feel free to call camp and one of the senior staff will help guide your decision.
5. Can I drive myself to camp? Where are you located?Yes you can. We are located about 5 miles southwest of Florissant, CO, and while online maps and GPS units can get you to Florissant, (not much more than an intersection), they are not very reliable beyond that. Click here for a map and specific directions to camp.
6. What if I DON'T have a car? How can I take my time-off?Never fear. If you don't have a car, someone else does. We are proponents of creating as low a carbon footprint as possible, so we HIGHLY encourage staff to carpool when they have time off. You will never have time-off by yourself, so you will ALWAYS have someone who can give you a ride.
7. What sort of kid experience are you looking for?We are looking for youth development professionals. We want staff members who have experience working with youth, and — more importantly — know they really enjoy working with kids. Previous, successful camp experience (as a staff member or camper) is great, as is experience coaching, working as a nanny, working as a mentor, teaching swim lessons, volunteering regularly for/with youth groups, etc.. We want staff members who understand the challenges of working with children, but who also understand and see the value and reward of such challenging work. We want staff members who consistently put others' needs before their own and who will keep their focus throughout the summer on the experience of each camper.
8. What type of training do staff member receive during staff training week?Staff will be trained in cutting edge youth development strategies, team building scenarios, facilitation skills and leadership techniques. Staff will also increase their knowledge/experience in program areas of interest, learn the necessary backcountry skills to lead a trip on the property, and orient themselves to the 6,000 acres they will call home for the summer. Though we have some meetings that require a lecture-type format, the vast majority of our training is experiential — you will be building the staff community, learning skills, playing games, and practicing facilitation techniques that you will immediately begin using when campers arrive. Staff training continues throughout the summer as well. Each camp has a weekly staff meeting to discuss program areas, camper growth and to learn more strategies to help kids have the most enriching, intentional experience at camp as possible.
9. Who is a typical Sanborn staff member?There is no such thing. However, ALL of our outstanding staff members have this in common: they are passionate about wanting to make a positive, intentional difference in the life of a child and are committed to the challenge of creating a respectful camp community where individuals are celebrated and accomplishments are shared. Our Mission says it all: To live together in the outdoors, building a sense of self, a sense of community and a sense of the earth through fun and adventure.
10. What does Sanborn's "separate camps" philosophy look like?Big Spring and High Trails are separate, single-gender camps that occasionally share zany, fun experiences on the weekends. Research has found that children who attend single-gender, residential camps experience greater growth in what the youth development industry calls "Supports and Opportunities". We believe in the power of mentorship, and many of our former and current campers state that their relationships with their counselors and assistant counselors, and what they subsequently learned from those relationships about being a young woman or young man, have shaped them more than any other single relationship in their lives. Most of us truly enjoy spending time with the opposite gender, but in a society where those interactions carry enormous weight, it is a gift to find a place where "girls can be girls" and "boys can be boys". It is essential that you, as a staff member, understand the value of this single gender experience so you can model that value to the campers.
11. What is the camp alcohol/drug policy and how is it enforced?For specifics about our policies, please click here. Sanborn, above all, is a community. Our Mission is to live together in the outdoors creating a sense of self, a sense of community, a sense of the earth and a sense of wonder through fun and adventure. Without a respectful, thoughtful community as a base, we cannot successfully achieve our mission. Policy infractions are serious violations of this community. When you choose to accept a job with us, you have to transcend the life you are accustomed to living at home or in college. In those settings, many of the decisions you make affect one person: YOU. At camp, most decisions you make affect you, the campers, your fellow staff and the parents of the campers. Our policies have been developed to create a respectful community for ALL of those entities, and much of our enforcement comes from within. Staff and campers WANT to be at Sanborn, so they make choices that are in alignment with the policies. That said, policy infractions are serious, and we will not hesitate to terminate employment if we deem it necessary.
12. What sort of electronic access would I have to the outside world while I am at camp?Telephone: Yes. There is a staff phone that may be used at specific times, for short periods of time.
Cell phone: Yes. There is limited cell phone service at camp. It is expected that you will use your cell phones only at specifically designated times and places during camp.
Computer: If you choose. We have wireless internet for basic email and simple web browsing at both camps (set up for 2-3 concurrent users). Like with cell phones, it is expected that you will use your computer only at specifically designated times and places, and never in the cabin or tent.
iPods/MP3 players: Sure, especially if it helps you fall asleep, but never on trips or on activities — it plugs you in and closes you off from the campers. Note: Campers should NEVER have access to your electronics as it goes against our goals of building an outdoor community, and camp cannot take responsibility if anything happens to your equipment.
Unplugging at camp is a wonderful aspect of life in the mountains. Being away from the constant connectivity and media consumption of modern life is a breath of fresh air for staff and campers alike. While it is still possible to connect while at camp, it is important to understand that the opportunities to do so, and the systems available with which to connect, are limited out here in the middle of Colorado. Also, connecting electronically takes away greatly from our foundational goals of connecting personally.