The Opening Day of camp is the most exciting day of our year and we enjoyed a great one today. We had a lot of moisture during May and our grass is green and dotted with wildflowers. After almost two weeks of staff training, we are excited to have campers running down the paths and filling the lodges with laughter. They seem as happy to be here as we are to have them.
Luggage was barely unpacked before camp activities began. The stables were busy with Ride-Out and Basic Preparation, and shouts came from the volleyball courts, the Gaga Pits, and all the camp trails. The sounds of old friends reconnecting and new friendships forming were everywhere. Tonight, tent and cabin groups are playing “Getting Acquainted” and “Team Building” games to facilitate the formation of these important living unit communities. The energy and enthusiasm is contagious.
Tomorrow, our program will begin in earnest and we will have half-day hikes heading out to A-Bluff, Top of the World, the Crystal Beds and other favorite destinations. Basic Preparation will continue at both stables, and we will have introductory sessions in rock climbing and camping skills. We’ll also begin crafts projects, activities at the Interbarn science center, tennis, fishing, and sports. Junior campers will be hiking, riding, swimming, and learning camping skills at the Mountain Odyssey program during their first two days.
On Wednesday morning the girls will backpack out for their Cabinside Overnights at campsites on our property. Older boys will also head out on Wednesday for a 2-night adventure, while all of the boys will camp-out on Thursday night. These first overnights with the living unit accomplish some important goals. They introduce everyone to the fun of camping out; outdoor skills are learned or reviewed; and close bonds are created among the members of each living community. Sanborn Junior campers will also experience their first overnight on Wednesday or Thursday.
Tomorrow night, Opening Campfires will be held at both Big Spring and High Trails. These are always lots of fun and include great singing and Broadway quality skits. Other special events planned this week include the All Camp Adventure Race, the Counselor Hunt and Cabinside Skit Night at High Trails. At Big Spring the boys will enjoy the Bomber Relay and Unit Skits. Later in the week, we will all get together for a coed ice cream social on Saturday night.
Early in the week, we will be signing up for trips throughout the term. High Trails and Big Spring campers will choose from many exciting possibilities including mountain climbs, horseback trips, tubing on the South Platte River and wilderness backpacking trips. Counselors and senior staff members will be on hand to help campers select those trips which best fit individual interests. Sanborn Junior campers do not sign up for trips; their program includes two exciting all-day trips in addition to their overnight camping trips.
We will be taking group photos early in the week and will post them on our website—so check us out again late in the week! We’ll also be mailing you a copy of your camper’s group photo with the counselor letter next Sunday. Each Sunday evening, we will send an e-mail to camp families about our activities and photos of activities taken during the previous week will be posted by Monday morning on our website. We will have a few photos of Opening Day up tomorrow morning. Although we can’t promise to show every camper or every activity, we hope these photos will provide a glimpse into life at camp for families and friends. Until next week….
Jane began her career as a counselor at High Trails and has worked with the camps and COEC since graduating from Colorado College with a degree in English and Education. She served as the Director/Program Director of High Trails from 1970-99, and as the Executive Director of COEC for many years. She retired as Executive Director in October 2017, and assumed the role of Director of Development. Jane is also active in the American Camp Association and has served in many leadership roles. Currently, she is the Program Chair for the ACA National Conference and sits on the National Public Policy Committee.