News from camp: July 22, 2019

What a great start to our time at camp! The first week has gone by so quickly, with warm weather, some recent rains to cool things off, fantastic first campouts at both camps and much more. 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!

After returning from cabinside and unit overnights Wednesday/Thursday, each camp had a fun night of skits followed by a day or two of allday trips, both on and off the property. Horseback rides, mountain biking, canoeing on 11-Mile Reservoir, rock climbing, ceramics and fishing were just a few of the trips that went out at the end of the week. Both HT and BS Juniors made it over to the South Platte for tubing adventures during the week, and the boys also had a blast hiking to the Bat Caves for rock scrambling and then on to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument for their Junior Ranger program and tour. They also went to a local site to dig for their own fossil souvenirs.

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. Fishing, rock climbing, mountain biking, sports and archery are a few of the choices campers have for their Saturday Specials this session.

For Sanborn Junior campers, Saturday and Sunday offered fun rock scrambling and explorations at the crystal beds. 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. The girls will also head out for their hike to the Bat Caves and Fossil Beds and then on to dig for fossils. 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 for the SOLE and CORE trips. Each camp held their traditional Sunday Vespers after dinner, and even though they were held inside due to an evening storm, the opportunity to come together as a community to slow down, sing songs, think about 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, Star Wars, Bear Grrryls, Artsy Craftsy and Harry Potter are some of the themes/destinations this week. Mountain climb adventures on Mt. Elbert, Mt. Huron and Mt. Ouray, rock climbing at Wild Goat 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 went 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 to go to The Great 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.