We are enjoying lots of warm, sunny days here at the Ranch and there is not a trace of snow anywhere. The animals which have not gone into hibernation have been pretty active in the center of camp. This morning there was a small bobcat right in front of the office, and we often see deer in the middle of Big Spring and High Trails. About twenty wild turkeys have been roaming around near the treehouse—they seem to know that this is a safe place to be near Thanksgiving. The elk have been hanging out at Potts Spring and there are still a few porcupines waddling around in the dusk.
Even though it doesn’t look much like December around here, we are all in a festive, mood. The office is a fun place to be these days as the elves are all busy getting ready for the holidays, preparing gifts, cards and other seasonal mailings. We are keeping UPS and the local post office busy!
Plans are well underway for Mike Adler’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 2018 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. Our biggest project this winter is to rebuild Jumping Juniper, one of the cabins at High Trails. The foundation is poured and framing will be going up in the next few weeks. In addition our crew is working on MOPQ and HKL washhouses at Big Spring and scraping and repainting the exterior logs at Red Cloud.
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 2018. Everyone at camp wishes all of our friends the happiest of holiday seasons!