Weekly Update: June 26th, 2022
Hard as it is to believe, today was Closing Day of the first session of our Sanborn Junior program. We were sad to say goodbye to that group of fun-loving, silly, highly talented and genuinely kind campers–and we are also looking forward to the next group of Junior campers who arrive on Tuesday.
When we talk to the counselors in the Sanborn Junior program, they are always appreciative of their last group of campers while also full of excitement and anticipation for the next session of campers. They can never know exactly what the next group will be like, nor can they fully gauge what kind of skills and tools they will need…they have to be adaptable, agile and trust the process.
Our Executive Director, Elizabeth Marable, has a favorite quote from her mother she shares with campers who are worried. She says, “Don’t worry until you need to worry” then she talks about different kinds of fears and how to mitigate them with action or by asking questions. At camp, we are always trying to help each other separate worry from nervousness or excitement, we try to help each other stretch our comfort zones so what felt uncomfortable initially now feels more doable and possible. Even after a fun, restful weekend including the much anticipated All-Camp Hike the Pike event and Saturday Specials, the night before Long Trip week (this week at High Trails and the week of July 4th at Big Spring) is always fairly ripe with anticipation (with a solid dollop of nervousness)–and today was no different.
Even though it was a little cold, rainy and gray this afternoon–backpacks were packed, food was checked, tent groups were made and trip leaders went over the hiking routes and riding trails that would be covered. Girls wore hats and bright colored sunglasses that were part of their trip themes and laughed at their counselors’ over-the-top excitement. At Big Spring, campers met with trip leaders for their overnight trips and planned horsepacking, rock climbing, and mountain summitting adventures. Our oldest campers at both camps, who finished up incredible service leadership trips last week, are already gearing up for their next multi-day adventure while many of our younger month-long campers are looking forward to their first 14,000 mountain climb. Are campers excited? Yes. Are they nervous? Yes. Is that okay? Yes.
This evening we received a fantastic note via email from a first session Sanborn Junior parent. It read, in part: “I wanted you to know that my camper had a wonderful 2 weeks at Sanborn and has already asked to return next summer. I appreciate what you all did for me when I got those “sad” letters home. I am grateful I trusted the process.” (emphasis ours)
That phrase truly resonates with us as our campers are starting their third week at camp. There have been some homesick moments, some mountain summits, some stuffy noses, some incredible sunrises, some tired mornings, some uncontrollable laughter, and more than some competence and confidence building. Campers look around as their peers and counselors pack their backpacks and saddle bags and then think to themselves, “I have been doing all of this other stuff…I think I can do this, too” and then they start to pack their bags.
Frederick Douglass said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress” and progress, at camp, is a process. We often talk about the “progression” of camp: how we start with smaller, on property, foundational skills trips with our living units and move toward more complex and challenging trips with different people during the session. This progression also is echoed in the types of trips offered to our age groups: our older campers go on longer, more physical trips or take on leadership roles with younger campers on shorter trips while our younger campers have a broader variety of shorter trips that focus on themes or singular destination/exploration experiences. It is this process that allows campers to gain competence in their skills and allows them to trust those around them to overcome their worry and nervousness and to find belief and confidence in themselves.
It is going to be another amazing week.