People of Sanborn: Mark

Name: Mark Rutberg

Current Role: Co-Director for Big Spring

Tenure at Sanborn: Mark’s first summer was in 2016 as an Outbacker counselor. Since then, he’s worked at High Trails Outdoor Education Center for multiple seasons, and been both an Assistant Director and Director at Big Spring.

Fun Fact: Mark definitely considers himself an introvert. Many people wouldn’t know that, since Mark spends a lot of his time in the summer giving speeches to hundreds of people and getting people excited about lots of different activities, but he’s not naturally an extrovert!

What is your first memory at Sanborn? He specifically recalls staff training during his first summer - the staff was sitting up on Little Blue, facing Pikes Peak. Mark remembers being a bit nervous to share why he was there at that time in his life, but it also being a pretty magical experience and setting the tone for what the summer would be like.

Favorite memory? Mark remembers his first time leading a trip here in Colorado as a favorite memory. The trip was Elbert/Massive and, within the first two hours of the trip, there was a lightning storm. The group ended up trudging through rain for a few hours after the storm, but Mark appreciated how they were able to come together as a group, remain calm, and make a plan for the next day. In the morning, on their summit day, he remembers seeing the campers’ tears of joy at the top and felt so lucky to be able to support kids through one of the most challenging experiences of their lives. Some of these kids have now come back as Outbackers and staff and are impacting other kids’ lives in their own ways. He loves hearing about how they’ve translated that and similar experiences into other difficult experiences in their lives.

Favorite cookie? Mark admittedly loves chocolate chip, but the true pathway to his heart is banana bread.

Favorite interview question that you ask? He loves the introduction piece of interviews. He often asks staff to tell him about how they grew up or what their backgrounds are like and is interested in seeing how people are able to articulate their stories. Often, he sees both similarities and differences to his own upbringing and can start to connect over the phone.

Favorite camp tradition? Mark reflects that he connects deeply with the rich history of camp - Opening Campfire each session is so important to him because he feels fortunate to be able to share that story with campers and staff now. He loves the unique path that Sandy took to get to this place in the middle of Colorado and how Sandy and Laura’s vision has played out over time, especially to see how he gets to live here at Sanborn because of their dream. For him, these connections all bring him back to being an introvert at heart - he could never play the role of an extrovert in the summer if he didn’t feel like he wanted to live out the mission and be a part of something greater than himself.

What song would you do at karaoke? Country Roads or Night Rider’s Lament - his favorite songs from SOS!

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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 Program Specialist 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.