Sanborn Evacuation Overview

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We sometimes joke that all we need to do to make it rain (or snow) is plan our first wrangler overnight during pre-camp wrangler training…and with the forecast calling for 6 inches of snow on Friday, this joke is once again proving ironically true.

We are thrilled about the additional late spring moisture as it has been a fairly dry winter in Colorado. Dry weather conditions in the West have increased wildfire danger in many states, and Colorado is one of them. Fortunately, we are accustomed to the dry weather and have many plans and precautions in place to navigate state or federal fire restrictions and any required local evacuations.

We have been fire aware for decades, but we have only been evacuated from camp twice in our history. We were evacuated once in 2012 for the Spring Creek fire and once in 2018 for the High Chateau Fire. Because of the skill, speed and dedication of the local and federal fire officials, both of these fires were rapidly contained and we were only off of the property for two or three days.

Part of the success of our evacuations has been that our campers and staff are very well prepared and informed about what it will look like if we need to leave the property. We have “ready-bags” in the living units that the campers pack with one complete outfit on Opening Day, so–in case we have to leave while people are away from camp on trips–they will have a clean set of clothes when we reconnect at our evacuation site.

We have multiple evacuation sites available to us, but our primary site is the Manitou Springs High School campus. We have access to fantastic trails, great local parks, Garden of the Gods, Red Rock Open Space, multiple playing fields and other school facilities. There are separate sleeping areas for Big Spring and High Trails campers, shower facilities and excellent meeting spaces. During the evacuation, food will be prepared by our cooks in the Manitou Springs food service facility. Our nursing staff pack and bring all of the camper medications and medical supplies to support the community while we are away.

While we are off-site, we will communicate regularly with parents via email and on our social media platforms. We send updates and post photos on the daily activities our campers and staff are engaged in, and also keep families informed on any pertinent fire information we are receiving from our local officials. We do not give campers their cell phones and continue to operate our “Manitou Camp” as we do when we are up in Florissant.

If the feedback from our past evacuations is any indication, our campers tend to enjoy the new experiences they have and the new friends they make during our time away from camp. But, of course, we would all rather be at camp–so we are very grateful for the rain and snow that is headed our way this weekend!

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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.