October Camp Update

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Our early fall enrollment for Summer 2022 has been unbelievable–we have more enrolled campers than we have ever had at this time of year–many of our age groups are full or close to full at both camps right now. As we have said, it is both humbling and inspiring…and we cannot wait! (And, in many ways, we haven’t!)

Some Views

We are having a beautiful week in Florissant! The leaves on the Aspen trees are turning yellow, the nights are getting much cooler, you can hear the elk bugling and the owls hooting at night, but the skies have never been more blue. We love to hear the crunch of leaves underfoot and see the various and interesting seed heads shimmering and drying out in the angled early fall sunshine. Fall is a time for us to reflect back on the summer and remember the incredible accomplishments of our campers and staff, to slow down and personally reconnect with the natural world and to look forward to a winter season full of planning, preparation, hiring and anticipation for the summer ahead.

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Some News

In 2020, Sanborn was asked to participate in and help pilot the Camp Program Quality Initiative. Program quality refers to the ways camp staff practices, activities, and program climate foster youth development outcomes consistently over time. The ACA received a million dollar grant to research, develop, design and implement a strategy to enhance program quality throughout the camping and youth serving industry…and we are getting to help!

Emily Burnham, Jill Reasor, Anne Shingler and Ariella Rogge participated in virtual work groups, calls and training sessions to collaboratively design and pilot a tool with the Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality that can be used to help assess a camp’s program quality and also help the camp plot a course for continuous program improvement. Jessie Dickerson, the project manager for this initiative, visited us for a few days this last summer and observed programming at both Big Spring and High Trails.

We are currently using the new CPQI tool to analyze her observations of camp activities and interactions and compare them with our own collected observations. We will use this data to develop a series of training activities and materials to, ideally, improve the quality of our program depth and intention for all of our campers. The best part about the tool is the emphasis it places on inclusivity (both in language and practice), and Emily was an active voice in the DEI work group as we all developed and refined the tool. It is nerdy, exciting stuff…and we can’t wait to see how it will positively impact our campers!

Some To-Do’s

In addition to program development, we have all been involved in our High Trails Outdoor Education Center programs this fall–supporting our new director, Kody Maynard, and kicking off a season after losing three full outdoor education seasons to COVID. We are also looking forward to a number of recertification trainings for members of our year round team including a Level II Ropes Course practitioner recertification, a WEMT refresher course, plus a number of excellent in-person and virtual conferences and retreats with the American Camp Association and the Western Association of Independent Camps this fall. Providing professional development, for our year-round and seasonal staff members, has always been an important part of the mission and core values of Colorado Outdoor Education Center.

COEC is the umbrella 501c3 non-profit that supports and sustains the three programs we run out of the facility here in Florissant: Sanborn Western Camps, The Nature Place and High Trails Outdoor Education Center. We are excited for our annual COEC Fall Board meeting in mid-October and we are always happy to answer any questions you have regarding our non-profit status and possible partnerships or donor opportunities.

We hope you can take some time to unplug this week and take a walk outside with your family, or by yourself. Holding space for someone else while they talk, making space in your calendar for something you enjoy, or changing your space and perspective by going outdoors helps create therapeutic space we need to be resilient. We think fall might actually be the ultimate celebration and best reminder of resilience in action…so grab a friend and head outside (and feel free to jump in that pile of leaves, too)!

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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 and then Ariella became the High Trails Director in 2020. In the fall of 2022 she became the Director of Sanborn Western Camps, overseeing the director teams of both Big Spring and High Trails. 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 and NREMT and WEMT. She lives in Florissant in the summer and in Green Mountain Falls during the school year so she can stay involved with the busy lives of her husband, Matt, and two teenage sons, Lairden and Karsten.