News from Camp: Session 1: June 17, 2018

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Time sure flies at camp! From afar, it may move more slowly, but here at Big Spring and High Trails, when going from one experience to the next, it moves very quickly. It is really hard to believe we have all been here a week, and watching the community come together during that time has been a joy. From the high energy start of camp through the unit and cabinside overnights, each camp is finding its rhythm.

The campers returned a bit tired (and dirty!) from their first overnights of the summer and more than anything, they were excited and full of stories of their time out together. Coming back to camp to share an all-camp meal at the lodge is always high energy as everyone is back together to reconnect and share their stories. Each camp had post-overnight skit nights, which were as silly and fun as always!

Saturdays at camp provide an opportunity for the month-long campers to pick a program (a Saturday Special) that will meet each Saturday of the session and allow them to dive deeper into a particular skill or program. Many a broadway star has gotten their start at the drama Saturday special ;) and other popular specials include tech rock, arena/gymkhana, arts & crafts, and fishing. It’s also another great way for staff to bring their unique skills and talents to the mix and suggest a unique Special based on their ideas. The Arts special, for example, crafted beautiful stained glass projects this week. Within our multifaceted program, the Saturday Specials provide a nice avenue to work on a skill or toward a final product over several weeks.

Saturday night was a lot of fun, as always, as everyone came together for the first all-camp event down at Big Spring. The evening began with an ice cream social, with the Junior Counselor (JCs) and Outbackers serving up the tasty treats. Afterward, there was music and a dance upstairs at the ARK. A movie at the lodge and games in the field rounded out the options for everyone to enjoy time together as one camp community.

For Sanborn Junior, Saturday and Sunday offered riding opportunities for the campers, and they had a blast getting to the barn and spending time with the horses. Their upcoming week will be chock full of hikes, rides and campouts. They will head out for another overnight campout to the Tipi Village, Quick Homestead or other nearby site. They will also venture to the South Platte River for a tubing all-day, and the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument will also be visited, with some fossil digging afterward. It’s incredibly hard to believe that we are at the halfway point for the Juniors and that this time next week they will be at home sharing their stories of fun and adventure to family and friends in person!

Today was a pretty traditional Sunday with an in-camp morning of cleaning, writing letters and getting ready for the week ahead. The afternoon was a mix of games and activities as well as trip prep. The evening brought our first vespers of the season (and first significant rain!!). While the rain altered each camp’s traditional sunset site, the spirit and intention of vespers, to come together as a community to slow down, appreciate being together, and look to the week ahead came through just fine.

As for the week ahead, it is chock full of trips and activities as each camp gets going full speed with trips on and off the property. Horseback all-days and two-days, astronomy overnights, fishing alldays, day hikes to fantastic destinations on Pikes Peak, mountain bike adventures and mountain climbs are just a few of the ways campers will spend their week. The pool, art barn and the Interbarn will host some of the many in-camp activities for those not out on a trip any given day.

The SOLE (Sanborn Outdoor Leadership Experience) and CORE (Community OutReach Experience) trips for the 8th and 9th graders head out on Monday. These 5-day adventures blend hard and soft skill development with a service component. During the week, trips focused on mountain climbing, horsemanship, rock climbing and mountain biking, will join our partner groups including CFI (Colorado Fourteeners Initiative) and CUSP (Coalition for the Upper South Platte) to do service on Mount Elbert, in Missouri Gulch and on Forest Service lands near camp.

The Outbackers and JCs will also head out for their special trips this week. The JCs leave on Monday for go to the Sand Dunes National Park before meeting the Outbackers for an exciting half-day raft trip down the Arkansas River. The Outbackers will start their week with their on the ranch service project before meeting the JCs and then heading to the Sand Dunes themselves.

Our photographers have been hard at work capturing wonderful new photos from all across camp during the past week. They will be available for viewing early Monday morning through the CampInTouch portal. For more news of camp, you can follow ‘Sanborn Western Camps’ on Facebook and ‘SanbornCamps’ on Instagram. We would love to have parents, friends, and family follow our posts about camp events, trips and activities. Until next week…


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Mike MacDonald
About Mike MacDonald

Mike came to Big Spring in 1991 and, after working in a variety of roles from counselor to Program Director, became the Director of Big Spring in 1999. In October 2017, he was appointed Executive Director by the COEC Board of Trustees. Mike has a BS from Centre College and a Master’s Degree in Whole Systems Design from Antioch University Seattle. He has also been active in the American Camp Association, including serving two terms as President of the Rocky Mountain Region. He is married to Maren MacDonald, who directs the riding program at camp, and they are raising their three children at camp.