Weekly Update: July 17, 2022

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Our first two days at camp have been fantastic! We loved meeting campers at the airport yesterday and truly enjoyed having the opportunity to say hello to those of you who dropped off your campers on Saturday. All of our campers arrived with negative COVID tests and we appreciate the effort that went into making that happen. Thank you for all of your patience, communication and enthusiasm on Opening Day–and for your commitment to a healthy start to camp.

Campers have already been hiking, riding, playing Gagaball and 9-Square in the Air, connecting with old friends and meeting new ones and, in the month-long program, signing up for their trips for the session. Campers and staff have spent time discussing and establishing thoughtful behavioral norms for building respectful communities in their tents, cabins and ridges and have started planning out some of their shared adventures for the month.

The weather was a little rainy and cool on the first night of camp, which seemed to encourage everyone to go to bed a little early after a big day of travel and nervous/excited anticipation. Today has been a gorgeous, warm Colorado day and the High Trails campers are looking forward to their first Vespers while Big Spring has planned a super fun (and funny!) Opening Campfire for this evening.

Our oldest campers, the Outbackers and JC’s, are on a leadership-focused overnight tonight where they are talking about working with younger campers, being mentors and role models, and refreshing their outdoor skills in preparation for the living unit backpacking trips later this week. On Tuesday, all of the High Trails campers will head out on their Cabinside Overnights, and on Wednesday, all of the Big Spring campers will leave on their unit overnights, too. Later in the week, the Junior campers from High Trails will do some tubing on the South Platte river and the Junior campers from Big Spring will hike to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument and then dig for fossils at a private dig site.

This summer, please expect regular email and blog updates from us. We will also use the Campanion App for push notifications if we need to share updates or communications with you, too. We encourage you to download the Campanion App (if you haven’t purchased it and would like to, please reach out to becca@sanbornwesterncamps.com to get signed up). That platform utilizes facial recognition technology and makes finding your campers in photos MUCH easier. Plus photo downloads are FREE in the app! The Campanion App can be downloaded from the app store, then you can use your current Camp InTouch login credentials to login and use the app.

As we move into more off-property and overnight trips this next week, we will upload a significant number of photos once per week (typically later on Sunday evenings). That gives us the opportunity to collect and post photos from our staff members who have spent the week out on trips, activities and adventures with your campers. We will give you a heads up in the Campanion app when those weekend uploads are live.

We encourage our campers to write letters home to share stories about their adventures and new friendships and–early on–those letters might also contain a twinge of sadness or homesickness. Getting a “sad letter” can be hard on you, especially since–in almost all cases–those emotions have long passed for your camper. We like to think (and have a blog post about) that getting a “sad letter” can actually be a GOOD thing because it means your camper has an outlet for those occasionally uncomfortable emotions that will turn into moments of growth.

We will be uploading a letter your camper will write later in the week to you in your Camp InTouch account. You will find the letter in your forms environment titled “2022 HT/BS Camper Letter o1/y1”. In order to read the letter, please click on the “PRINT” icon to download the letter from your camper…otherwise, you will just see a blank letter. We hope you enjoy the update.

Our staff members are hard at work helping campers build a sense of self, sense of community, sense of the earth and sense of wonder through our fun and adventurous community. These remarkable counselors are providing outstanding guidance, mentorship, leadership and fun to our campers–and, in case you missed them on Opening Day, I hope you have had a chance to “meet” them on the High Trails blog or on the Big Spring blog.

Thank you again for helping us start the session, and the summer, off right!

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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.