Letter To 2020 Sanborn Staff Members

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Dear Friends,

It is with great sorrow that we are writing to let you know that we have made the very difficult decision to cancel the 2020 season of Big Spring, High Trails, and Sanborn Junior. We know how deeply disappointing this is to each of you because we also feel it at our very core. This is an incredibly difficult decision for our year-round staff and for our small business, and we know how hard and sad this news is. We have been so grateful for your patience and flexibility as we monitored and evaluated the information about the virus and hoped for a better outcome. We are confident this is the best decision for the well-being of our campers, our staff, and our camp families.

The latest guidelines from the federal government, the CDC, and our own state government have made it clear that to bring campers and staff from multiple places into a community based on social interaction and group living would create an environment so regulated that it would not resemble previous summers at Big Spring and High Trails. Our primary objective has always been to create the safest environment possible and, with many factors still unknown about COVID-19, we do not see a path forward for camp this summer.

Sanborn Camps has always been a place of relative freedom—where children can be children, sing, laugh and explore the natural world together with you. Our community is based on hugs, pats on the back, sitting on a friend’s bed, and helping each other saddle a horse or make it to the top of a mountain as a group. The very essence of camp is incompatible with limited group sizes and strict form of social distancing which are, at this time, our primary methods for slowing the virus.

In the camp communities that are choosing to operate this summer, living units will be limited to small groups of campers and their own staff teams. These small groups will remain together for all activities throughout the duration of the camp term and will operate on set schedules with limited to no choice in activities and will be unable to intermix with other campers or staff teams. We believe strongly in the power of multiple supportive adult relationships, and those relationships occur through the fluid, ever-changing trip, activity and community experiences that all campers have with our entire staff team.

This is not who we are, nor is it the job you were hired to do. Sanborn believes in the power of independent choice to build competence and self-efficacy: on your trips, with your friends, throughout the creation of a unique summer experience. We cannot, in good conscience, ask you to be here and then not provide a proven framework where both you and the campers can grow and thrive.

We hired you because of the myriad qualities and skills you had to offer the campers and community and for your desire to learn new skills and grow in new ways with us. As we process the loss of this summer in its traditional form, we shift our focus to how we can continue to provide doses of camp to our campers and families. While we can no longer provide employment or financial compensation for the summer, we invite you to join us in the process of creating moments of connection and activity with our campers when and if you are able.

We will reach out to each of you, check-in and answer any additional questions that have come up for you. We know you are amazing and would have significantly contributed to camp this summer. With that said, we are extending the offer to work at Sanborn in 2021 to all of our 2020 staff. Until we connect personally, please take a moment to hear a message from your High Trails and Big Spring year-round staff teams.

Thank you for your commitment and for your understanding

Sincerely, Ariella Rogge, Elizabeth Marable, Mark Rutberg, Mike Adler & Matty Cook

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Ariella Rogge
About Ariella Rogge

Ariella started her career at Sanborn when she was twelve. After five years of camper and five years of Sanborn staff experience, she continued her work with kids in the high school classroom. Ariella and her family returned to Sanborn in 2001 to take on the Program Director role which she held til 2012. She and Elizabeth Marable became co-directors of High Trails in 2013. She lists mountain golf, Gymkhana, climbing mountains and making Pad Thai in the backcountry as some of her favorite activities at camp. Ariella received a B.A. in English from Colorado College and is a certified secondary English educator,an ACCT Level 2 Ropes Course Technician, an ARC lifeguard, an AHA CPR trainer and WEMT. She lives at camp with her husband, two sons, 8 chickens, 2 salamanders, 2 hermit crabs and 1 cat.