Name: Emily Burnham Current Role: Program Specialist at High Trails Tenure at Sanborn: Emily was a camper from 2007-2013, on staff at High Trails from 2016-2019, and has been on the year-round team since then. Fun Fact: Emily once had a camper named Emily in her cabin, so the other campers decided to give adult Emily the nickname “Edna,” which was her first-ever nickname.
What is your first memory at Sanborn? Emily remembers being dropped off at Juniper by her mom, an alum, who was also very excited about being back at camp. Emily told her mom that she didn’t need help unpacking, so her mom went to say hi to people and look at cabins and remember her time at camp. Her mom was gone for what felt like a really long time, so then Emily thought that she left without saying goodbye. As a young camper, this was stressful, but then her mom returned to say a proper goodbye and all was well.
From that summer, Emily also remembers having the stomach flu and being taken care of by one of the nurses at the time, Teresa. Teresa was so nurturing and took great care of Emily while she was homesick and sick. This past fall, Emily experienced an awesome full circle moment, when she got to work alongside Teresa at HTOEC.
Favorite memory? From this past summer, Emily remembers leading the Elbert/Massive 4-day with a modified itinerary due to snow. On the last morning of the trip, the group was set to climb Elbert with a very early wake-up call. Most of the campers were out of their tents and starting the day when Emily noticed that one tent had no lights on and was not really moving around. When she went over to see what was going on and if the girls needed any help, the campers said they were good and doing their best given the fact they couldn’t find their headlamps. When Emily asked if they wanted to borrow her headlamp for a minute, one camper responded, “No I think we’re okay, I can use my sense of Wonder.” Never had Emily been simultaneously so proud of a camper while also laughing so hard she was crying.
Favorite cookie? Emily will eat almost any cookie except for ginger snaps or snickerdoodles. While she loves a Chippy Dippy Bar, she falls on the chocolate chip cookie side of the debate. She really likes getting to eat dough from Bernie.
Hardest camp trip? Alpine Valley has been Emily’s most difficult trip. This trip camps on Sanborn’s property at Leavick Valley and summits Mount Sherman. She thinks it was her hardest trip as a camper and also as a staff member. Emily believes that it’s the first time we’re asking kids to do something really hard that they’ve never done before. On the flip side, we are asking adults to maybe do something they’ve never done before and to do it with kids that are doing it for the first time. Because it’s hard for kids and adults, she thinks it’s one of the most rewarding trips we offer. You’re not hiking 25 miles or climbing 2 mountains, but you’re helping people do something important for the first time. It’s such a formative experience that those kids will never forget. Emily helped lead that trip her first summer on staff as an AC 5 years ago, and now she has been able to watch those kids grow up - it’s amazing. She thinks that trip is what makes lifelong campers.
Favorite camp tradition? Probably airport duty. It’s so cool to be the first person someone sees from camp. All that joy is amazing and you get to lead them to their favorite place. Then to see the sorrow and sadness that comes from leaving and seeing how much this place means to everyone that comes here is powerful. Plus, Emily thinks doing loops around DIA when you’re really tired is fun.
What are you going to miss most this summer? Of course she will miss the Lodge and Vespers and all of those big moments. But what she’ll miss the most is all the little things that happen in between those big events, like walking to the Interbarn with a camper who is a bit homesick, doing a Ridge Walk at night and stepping into a spontaneous dance party in Cedar Lodge, laughing while throwing trash at the Dump, and talking to people in line for the vegetarian option. Emily will miss everything about camp this summer, but her memories of all of those little moments are what she will hold on to until 2021 - they are what make Sanborn such a significant place and part of her life.