People of Sanborn: Mike Adler

Name: Mike Adler
Current Role: Co-Director at Big Spring
Tenure at Sanborn: Mike has been here for 6 years.
Fun Fact: Mike got 2nd place in a dance contest in Fort Collins in 2014! His name was also in the Hockey Hall of Fame for the year 2000 because his team won an international competition that year.

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What is your first memory at Sanborn? Mikey remembers his first day (night) at Sanborn in particular because he arrived at camp at 12:30 am on the first day of staff training. He pulled up to the Big Spring office having really no idea where to park or go, so he set up his hammock right at the top of the hill near the metal gate. It being summertime when the sun rises early, he was up at dawn the next day to pack up his hammock and figure out what the rest of that summer would look like.

Favorite camp cookie? Mike’s immediate response was the classic chocolate chip cookie - but he does recall our former baker Vickie making some mean peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, too.

Favorite interview question that you ask? In his interviews for Big Spring, Mike says he doesn’t ask very fun interview questions because people don’t necessarily know how to answer them. He really enjoys asking people more about what they were like in high school - he finds if he dives deep into that question, people will often tell those fun, wacky stories. It can be hard for people to be vulnerable over the phone and he tries to lead them there in his questions.

Most difficult camp trip? During the second session of 2014, Mikey led the La Plata long trip - a five-day trip that navigates off-trail sections of the area surrounding La Plata Peak and also summits that mountain. On that trip, the trip bag didn’t have all of the correct maps for the area (it requires 3 different quadrangles!), so they did get lost and have to find their way back to the correct area. Which they did! Another difficult trip for Mike was the Harvard/Yale trip during the second session in 2018. Mike hiked into the trip the night before they climbed Mt. Yale because he was taking the place of a sick staff member who had had to leave the trip. He started driving there from Big Spring the night before at 11:00 pm, hiked in, pitched his tent, and woke up to climb the peak with the group the next morning. So he was pretty exhausted.
P.S.: If you read our profile of BS Program Director Kado Marino a few weeks ago, this was also one of his most difficult trips, from a different perspective.

Favorite camp tradition? He really appreciates the way we do meals at camp. They’re pretty inefficient and they take a really long time, but they are one of the most fun things we do during the summer because of that. If Mike looks around the lodge during a meal, everyone is having a good time; they’re laughing, chanting, and just having fun.

What will you miss most about camp this summer? Mike will really miss working with the Big Spring Kahunas. A lot of the Kahunas have been around for a couple summers or have a lot of outdoor experience, and he has really been able to form solid relationships with those staff members. As a director, Mike doesn’t work with kids as directly as he did before, so he loves building the team of Kahunas so that they can become the superstars of the summer and help counselors to do the same.

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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.