2020 Family Retreat

“A person practices the art of adventure when they break the chain of routine and renew their life through reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies and adopting new viewpoints.”

Wilfred Peterson

On July 12th, we welcomed 12 families to The Nature Place for our FIRST EVER Sanborn Summer Family Retreat. Friendships were made and community was built between picnic tables during meals, during socially distanced activities, out on mountain climbs and mountain bike rides, and on canoeing, rock climbing and river trips.

Parents could only sign up for activities if they were accompanied by one or more of their children, and–fortunately for the parents–all of the kids who attended the retreat were excited to do EVERYTHING. Highlights included mountain summits, horseback rides, the Popsicle Hotline at the High Trails pool (and sometimes during fort building activities), great weather at 11-Mile Reservoir and evening activities that included Bingo, a walk-in movie, a legendary Family Photo Scavenger Hunt and a really meaningful Vespers on Boys Old Sunday Rocks.

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Yet the very best part of the week wasn’t a specific trip, activity or moment of silly camp fun–it was, in Jim Henson’s words, the recognition that “There’s not a word yet for old friends who’ve just met.” There might not be a word for that phenomena, but there is a place where it happens–whether you’re four or 94–and that place is camp. The families who came here didn’t know each other and many of them were experiencing Sanborn for the first time. And what they found, and what we found, was Camp: that special place where we “live together in the outdoors, building a sense of self, a sense of community, a sense of the earth and a sense of wonder through fun and adventure.” It was awesome…and we miss it.

Even though summer hasn’t been the same without having all of our campers and staff here, it has been incredibly fun to have campers, staff, alums and friends come up for hikes, to rent a campsite, to ride horses and for the Family Retreat. We still have availability for hiking, camping and horseback riding this month (see links above), and we are also opening (stay tuned!) our new Glamping at The Nature Place & Work In The Woods rental site…in case you want a change of scenery for your Zoom background and you want to hike/ride/play/bike…but also want to sleep in a bed at the end of the day.

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Thank you, again, to all of the families who joined us for a little taste of the summer–and, like summer always is–it was sweet…but far too short.

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Jessie Spehar
About Jessie Spehar

Jessie began her career at camp as a counselor in 2006 and returned each subsequent summer, taking on more responsibilities each year, including those of Camp Photographer and Supervisor of Canoeing and River trips. She joined the year-round team in 2013 as Marketing Director for the camps. Jessie has a B.A. in Elementary Education and an M.A. in Special Education and taught for 4 years before joining the COEC full-time staff. Stuffing M&Ms into marshmallows prior to roasting them, sitting in a canoe or her SUP board on top of the water and photographing everything are some of Jessie’s biggest joys.