People of Sanborn: Matty

Name: Matthew “Matty” Cook
Current Role: Incoming Co-Director at Big Spring
Tenure at Sanborn: Matty started at Sanborn in the winter of 2019-2020.
Fun Fact: Matty has perfected his own pancake recipe, he juggles fire torches, and he can recite The Lorax from memory. He also once paddled the biggest rapid on the Colorado River (Lava Falls Class-10) in a 10-foot inflatable kayak without flipping!

Favorite memory of working at camp?
MC: So far, since coming on-board in January, I’d have to say that my favorite memory of working at Sanborn has been walking the grounds of Big Spring and High Trails with Mike Mac, Ariella, Elizabeth, Mike, and Mark. Hearing their stories and seeing the excitement they all have for this place is inspiring in so many ways!

Was there a moment in your career where you knew you could be a camp director forever?
MC: Before I was a camp director I worked six summers at The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp. At the end of my first summer on staff, I was completely hooked. I had never been anywhere in my entire life that asked so much of me, and at the same time gave me so much, both personally and professionally! Camp had more challenge, more learning, more growth, more friendship, more laughter, more tears, and more real-life, in the moment, authentic living in a single summer than I had experienced in 23 years of life.
A long time ago I made a commitment to myself to live a meaningful life, and a life of service. Camp has proven over and over to be the place that provides the greatest opportunity to live out that promise, one adventurous day at a time.
So, when did I know Camp would be my forever career? Pretty much by the end of my first Opening Campfire!

Most memorable backcountry trip that you’ve been on?
MC: My Uncle Richard and I did an 8-day trek in the primitive areas in the western part of the Grand Canyon a few years ago. This trip comes to mind because it had all of the elements of a GREAT backcountry trip. Extraordinary landscapes, sketchy trails, sketchy weather, and the most amazing conversations that took all 8 days to conclude with an agreement that the meaning of life is whatever meaningful and positive difference that you make in the lives of other people along the way.

Is there a quote that has impacted you that you’d like to read at Vespers?
MC: My favorite quote is also my most constant reminder of how to live my days.
“The life of the individual has meaning only insofar as it aids in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful.”
-Albert Einstein

What are you most excited for in a new role at Sanborn?
MC: This is hard to nail down because it changes with the day. I’m excited to meet our Staff. I’m excited to welcome Campers to Big Spring. I am excited to experience the extraordinary adventures and the meaningful moments of the Camp Program at Sanborn, and I’m equally excited to play Crazy-8’s on a rainy afternoon in the lodge with a small group of Campers and staff, hiding out until the monsoon storm blows over.

What song would you sing at karaoke?
MC:Today it would be “Old Time Rock-n-Roll” by Bob Seger.

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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.