News from camp: June 24, 2019

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Another week has blown by and needless to say, it was full of wonderful hikes, rides, campouts and much more. Though the high country snowpack prevented groups from summiting any 14’ers this week, the stories of their fun and camaraderie were great to hear. Our 5-day SOLE (Sanborn Outdoor Leadership Experience) and CORE (Community OutReach Experience) trips for 8th and 9th graders returned with a strong feeling of accomplishment for the trips they completed, the skills they strengthened and the service they performed. Both the JC’s and Outbackers came home from their trips tired and excited after their visits to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and their shared rafting trip on the Arkansas River.

The weekend was full of its usual reconnecting and catching up as everyone was back together after the week of trips. The brief change in weather didn’t dampen the spirits of those who were able to visit on Saturday afternoon. Our planned hikes were shifted to songs and fun in the ARK and Heisler Hall with outdoor games later in the afternoon. The ice cream social and dance that evening was delicious and festive with a theme of “History”. Such a broad theme resulted a wide range of fun costumes.

Yesterday we said goodbye to our first group of Sanborn Junior Campers. They had a fantastic two weeks of camp and will be missed by everyone at Big Spring and High Trails. Tomorrow, however, we get to welcome a new group of Juniors into the community. They bring such a fun energy to camp. For many, it is their first overnight camp experience and they are excited, and a bit nervous, about the adventures and fun ahead. Almost half of the campers at Big Spring and HIgh Trails experienced their first Sanborn Summer in the Junior program!

Sunday was also a big prep day for the girls as they prepared to head out on their long trips Monday and Tuesday. Sixteen 3-, 4-, and 5- day trips will head out with plans to summit eleven different mountains, ride many miles of trail on horseback, explore natural art on Pikes Picasso, and circumnavigate 11-Mile Reservoir on a canoe and paddle sports adventure. Certainly a lot is in store for them, and through these long trips the mission of camp is carried out in profound ways. A small group adventure with challenges, camaraderie, opportunities to put skills to use and the time to be together in the outdoors, is precisely why we do what we do. What an amazing opportunity to learn about yourself, others around you, and the natural world while taking it all in with awe and wonder! We look forward to hearing the stories of their many accomplishments when they return at the end of the week.

The boys, meanwhile, will be plenty busy this week as well, ahead of their long trips next week. A Shavano/Tabeguache 2-day mountain climb is scheduled, along with a Pikes Peak bomber allday. A couple of mountain bike 2 days – one around the ranch and one ending in Salida – are in the works along with a lot of tech rock, fishing, horseback rides and some Harry Potter, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings LARPing trips (Live Action Role Playing). We’ll also be visiting Cripple Creek where we will go 1000 feet underground at the Molly Kathleen hard rock mine and learn about the techniques and equipment of modern mining. The boys will also enjoy the cool (some might say cold:) waters of the South Platte River and Eleven Mile Reservoir during some rafting and canoeing alldays and two-days.

As we’ve come to the midpoint of the month-long session, the boys and girls are hitting their strides and are very excited for the upcoming week and all that it has in store. They know how quickly these past two weeks have gone and are making sure they make the most of their remaining time at camp. We are all very excited to hear the stories and see the pictures of their next adventures. Photos from last week are online via the CampinTouch portal, and keep watching our Facebook page and Instagram feed too, as we will share a few highlights throughout the 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.