Weekly Update: June 19, 2022

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Happy Juneteenth! Our first week of the 2022 camp season has been fantastic! From cabinside and unit overnights to Mythical Adventure races, all day horseback rides, fossil digging, river trips, rock scrambling, a Decades dance party and a whole-camp ice cream social–we have packed a lot of excitement and community building into a seemingly short period of time. But even though the days pass quickly at camp, there are always moments when time seems to stand still.

“Camp time” is a unique space where the days are like weeks and the weeks are like days. We are not plugged into the daily buzz and clamor of the outside world, so we fill our hours with conversation, exploration, imagination, work, play and possibility. We are focused, not fragmented. We are concentrating on saddling our horse, finding a crystal, looking for the next rock climbing hold, listening to a story, sketching a wildflower or watching a sunset turn from white to gold to pink to red. Campers are grounded in their own skin and in their own time.

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At High Trails Vespers tonight I watched as a raven flew above the valley and below our perch. A nearby camper nudged her friend, pointed and then they watched as the raven rose up and up, catching the light as it moved through the bands of golden hour sun and cloud shadow…it felt like we could have watched it fly forever. As it flew out of sight, the girls sat back and settled a little–unaware they had been leaning in as they watched. They were leaning into the possibility and the wonder of the moment.

This upcoming week is all about leaning in for our campers and staff. Some will embark on five day outdoor leadership and service learning trips in the central Collegiate mountains, some will go on their first overnight horsepack trip, some will adventure into a Galaxy Far Far Away on a Star Wars overnight, while others look for Bigfoot or make candles at the Quick Homestead. Our Junior Counselors and Outbackers will explore the The Great Sand Dunes National Park, raft the Arkansas river and gain more outdoor leadership skills they can apply on trips with younger campers. All of them will do something new and different this week, all of them will uncover new-found strengths, and all of them will have a moment (or many)–in the tent or on a horse or on a mountain summit or sitting around the camp kitchen–when they connect deeply with the natural world and with the people around them.

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In these moments, our campers can find a glimpse of peace and quiet and freedom and a sense of belonging. They will lean into the moment because it is happening and because they are there to experience it. They will lean into the moment because they can nudge a friend and share it with someone else.

We are so glad each individual at High Trails and Big Spring is here right now. We look forward to the adventures, growth and learning (leaning) we will all have this next week. Enjoy the living unit photos and photos from our first week in your Camp InTouch account and on the Campanion app.

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“To 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.” -Sanborn Western Camps Mission Statement-

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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.