News from camp: June 17, 2019

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It’s hard to believe how quickly things move at camp! While it offers amazing opportunities to slow down and step back from our busy every-day lives, it’s really hard to believe we are beginning our second week together. A lot has happened, and even more is in store. Our community is developing, we are finding our new patterns and “camp rhythm”, and we’re headed out on all sorts of trips and activities!

To close out last week, the campers returned from their first overnights of the summer and 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!

The weekend was full of activities, including our first round of Saturday Specials. These activities take place each Saturday morning and give campers a chance to dive into an activity and revisit it each week, building upon their previous work. Down at the barns Natural Horsemanship and Bit and Spur are very popular as the riders strengthen their horsemanship skills and practice their events in preparation for the end-of-session Gymkhana. At the ARK, campers and staff gathered to create the next big off-off-off-Broadway production. Saturday Specials are also another great way for the staff to bring their unique skills and talents to the mix and suggest a unique Special based on their ideas. For example, we are offering our first aviation Saturday Special. While no campers will take flight during this program :), everyone involved is excited to see the program take flight.

For Sanborn Junior, Saturday and Sunday offered hiking and 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. The horseback rides will continue, of course, including an all-day ride out to the Witcher Ranch to explore the historic buildings of the 150-year old cattle operation. It’s incredibly hard to believe that we are into the back half of our time with the boys and girls in the Junior program. They are going to fill their time with lots of great fun and exciting adventures.

Yesterday was a pretty traditional Sunday, with an in-camp morning of Silent Trails, 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 afternoon brought a petty significant, but not long-lasting, rain that cooled things off a bit but did not keep us from getting outside for our first vespers of the season. The opportunity to come together as a community to slow down, sing songs, take in the big picture, appreciate being together, and look to the week ahead is always a high point.

Speaking of the week ahead, it is absolutely full of trips and activities as each camp gets rolling with adventures on and off the property. Horseback all-days, Cowgirl Camps, and two-day rides will depart across the ranch, as well as other fantastic 2-day trips on and off property. NASA, Superhero, Wildlife, Gourmet, Fortnight, Artsy Craftsy and Quick’s Homestead are some of the themes/destinations this week. Mountain climbs and adventures, rock climbing and canoeing at 11-Mile Reservoir are even more activities they will undertake. The pools, art barns 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 today. 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 are available for viewing 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.