Life is reciprocal: the energy you expend always comes back.

Oprah Winfrey

Reciprocal Moments

It’s Wisdom Wednesday!

In the first post of our new “Wisdom Wednesday” series, we’re taking a look at a quote from Oprah Winfrey, as today is her birthday. In June 2006, she wrote that “life is reciprocal: the energy you expend always comes back.”

For us, the evidence of this thought is reflected in everything we do at camp. We’re in the business of creating life-changing experiences for campers that challenge and excite them.

This mission starts with our staff. Our most successful, memorable, and influential staff members are those who put forth an incredible amount of energy each summer. They paint their faces green to become the “Gaga Gremlin” in the Gaga pit for a morning activity and, five minutes later, they spend time consoling and working to understand a homesick camper. They sweep the lodge while blasting the “Mamma Mia” soundtrack, knowing that later that morning some muddy hiking boots might come through and get it messy again. They navigate through miles of National Forest while wearing crowns and holding trumpets, shouting words of encouragement all the way.

The energy that these staff members exude is contagious, but it’s also fulfilling. Each summer, we receive feedback from staff about relationships they were able to create with campers and the life-changing moments they experienced during the summers that they were here. We receive these types of stories from alumni all the time! And, like Oprah said, the immense and wonderful amount of energy they expend to serve our campers comes back to fulfill them.

We’ve been thinking about staff a lot lately here at camp - it’s the peak of our hiring season. But the campers are always on our minds, and Oprah’s thought applies to them too. Campers come to Sanborn for their first, fifth, or one-hundredth experience with nature. It takes a lot of effort and energy to pursue the types of challenges campers participate in at camp - long mountain climbs, beautiful backpacking trips, costumed hikes up A-Bluff, creating Teensy Tiny Treasures at the Arts & Crafts Building.

In the moment, expending that much energy can seem incredibly hard. But when that energy carried a camper to the top of a 14,000 foot mountain, or pushed them to finish that Makerspace masterpiece, we know it was all worth it.

These are the moments that campers will never forget - the reciprocal moments that give you just as much energy as you gave.

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Emily Burnham
About Emily Burnham

Emily has worn a variety of hats here at Sanborn over the years. She began as a camper, then worked on staff for four summers while affectionately known as “Edna,” taught as an instructor at High Trails Outdoor Education Center, and now works as the Assistant Director for High Trails. Her favorite things about camp include eating liberal quantities of chippy dippy bars, singing a little bit too loudly at Vespers, and watching campers accomplish incredible feats. She recently graduated with a degree in sociology from Colorado College and now lives at camp, counting down the days until summer each year.