Weekly Update: July 24, 2022

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What a week it has been…and it is hard to believe it has been a week! Along with amazing full days and well-timed late afternoon or early evening rain showers, we had plenty of rainbows, puddles, adventure races, Counselor Hunts, free play and skit nights. The highlight of the week for everyone was the unit overnight. All of the campers went on their first backpacking trips and they practiced and learned the Leave No Trace outdoor ethics, packed-unpacked-repacked their backpacks, put up and took down tents, cooked over fires (real ones!) in the rain, and laughed, shared stories and made new friends.

The Sanborn Junior campers at both camps tubed on the South Platte river, rode horses, hiked, swam and played LOTS of field games. The Outbackers and JC’s received their unit/cabinside assignments and spent time on the ridges helping their younger campers learn more about camp and adjust to the camp culture while also building community with each other. All of the High Trails campers participated in all day trips on Friday including Find Your Way Back hikes, the High Ropes Course, Rock Climbing, Canoeing, Horseback Riding, Rock Scrambling, Harry Potter and much, much more. Big Spring campers went through Basic Equestrian Training, sprinted after counselors during the Counselor Hunt and learned more about the program areas (and had a ton of fun) playing Warrior vs. Wild as a whole camp.

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Early tomorrow morning, many of our rising 9th grade campers at Big Spring and High Trails will leave before dawn on their SOLE (Sanborn Outdoor Leadership Experience) trips. These mostly coed service trips provide campers with experiences where they push themselves into their “stretch” zones. Campers help lead all aspects of the trips including route finding, cooking, campsite selection and overall organization and timing while working with outdoor organizations like CFI (Colorado Fourteeners Initiative) or CUSP (Coalition of the Upper South Platte) to build, restore and maintain trails and wilderness areas both here at camp and on the mountain peaks and public lands where we hike, climb and ride in the summer. Our rising sophomores will participate in the CORE (Community OutReach Experience) where they will focus in on a specific outdoor skill (mountain biking, riding or rock climbing) and work to become “ambassadors” in that area to then support younger campers in that activity during the rest of camp.

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During the JC and Outbacker cookout on Friday night, the icebreaker introduction included, “Your name, where you are from and the moment in history where a Mariachi band should have played.” Not only was this an excellent, thoughtful and hilarious icebreaker (“on the Berlin wall as it came down”, “when Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation”, “the moon landing”, “at my birth”), it also made us think about all of the incredible moments that are created and crafted at camp. One JC said, “On top of my first 14er (14,000 foot mountain)” which led to a series of side conversations about Mariachi’s on Mountaintops and a discussion of which mountain summits might be able to support a full Mariachi band.

Mariachi music has a long, rich cultural and revolutionary history and, with its rural and Western roots, seems to share a great deal with our celebratory, sometimes irreverent, and always connected camp community. To see the campers from High Trails and Big Spring spend Saturday evening together, dancing, laughing, singing at the top of their lungs in their “Day Glo/Glow Stick” dance-theme-finest was the epitome of zany fun. To listen to High Trails campers read quotes and sing, “Let It Be” on Vespers rocks as low clouds encircled Pikes Peak was a moment of thoughtful reflection, unity and harmony. To feel the excited, or nervous, or happy, or I–just-need-a-little-reassurance hug from a camper or friend reminds us that we have embarked on this journey together, and we are responsible for making sure we share positive, transformative moments that will be memorable in everyone’s personal histories for the decades to come.

With days that are like weeks and weeks that are like days, we pack in many incredible experiences and countless powerful memories in our time together. This upcoming week will be no different. Along with SOLE and CORE, our JCs and Outbackers will go on special adventures including a shared guided raft trip on the Arkansas River, our Sanborn Junior campers will go on their second overnight camping trip, and other campers will fill their weeks with overnights, all days and fun unit and evening activities.

With the myriad opportunities for celebrations, fun, possibility and excitement…we are thinking we might need a camp Mariachi band before the session ends.

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The camper letters and camper calendars are now populated and visible in your Camp InTouch account or in the Campanion app in the Forms environment. We will send a letter (via USPS) from your camper’s counselors detailing their first week at camp either today or tomorrow. Our staff wanted us to remind you of our “no-food in care packages” policy, as it causes parity issues in the living units and on the ridges. If a camper receives food or candy in a care package, it is our practice to remove the food/candy and properly dispose of it so it doesn’t create inequity or illness (communal snack bags or bulk candy containers are dirty-hand sharing communicable germ havens). Thank you for communicating this policy to anyone who may send your camper a package over the next few weeks.

May we all dance into next week!

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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.