Weekly Update: July 3rd, 2022

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Focus. Fortitude. Flexibility. Fun. Over the last week, our campers and staff have embodied those character traits and made the most of each and every day.

At Big Spring, the week was full of overnights and all days. The overnight trips included four different mountain climbs; river and fishing two days; rock climbing and mountain biking overnight adventures; a survival skills overnight; a Cowboy camp horseback two day; and a canoeing trip to 11 Mile reservoir. Some campers even practiced their outdoor cooking skills on the Artisan Chef overnight, while others practiced a different kind of magic on their Harry Potter two day. In addition to these amazing trips, Big Spring campers also participated in a huge range of all day experiences including float trips down the South Platte river; hikes to Pancake Rocks, the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, and around the entire 6,000 acre property on the Spring Tank Bomber; meandering horseback riding explorations; single-track mountain bike riding; fly-fishing excursions and a Mad Scientist and Rocketry all day. This week of far-ranging trips was punctuated with evening programming that brought the community together. The legendary Big Spring counselor hunt is always a camper favorite, as is the annual Kangaroo Court, but the highlight for both camps this week was the Red, White and Blue Carnival, a “monochromatic” themed dance and a few Fourth of July fireworks on Saturday evening.

High Trails had an incredible long-trip week with successful summits or summit attempts on every mountain climbing and backpacking trip; strong navigation, good work ethic and riding skills on the horsepacking trips; good weather for long crossings on the Canoe & Paddle trip; and fairy themed outdoor skills practice, artistic creativity, and a strong sense of play and wonder on the Antero Artist three day. Trip leaders have written a detailed letter about each trip which will be mailed out on Tuesday–but the stories the campers will tell when they get home will be even more specific and fun to hear. After our long week of 3, 4 and 5 day trips, we had a Pajama Dinner on Friday night with a sing-a-long screening of Encanto, a favorite for all ages.

Big Spring and High Trails were also delighted to welcome our new Sanborn Junior campers on Tuesday. They have all jumped right into activities and trips, with campers at both camps going horseback riding, rock scrambling, playing Gagaball, spending time at the pool and the crafts building and going out on their first overnight tent camping trips. We love having them here!

Both this weekend and last, we had weather that impacted some of our all camp events, trips and get-togethers. For the last two weeks, we have modified our Sunday Rocks vespers time because of soaking rains and cooler temperatures; during the week, our horseback riders and backpackers had to wait out storms in Aspen groves; some of our mountain climbers had to turn back before they reached the summit because of wind, rain and the possibility of lightning; and even during our Carnival, the skies went from overcast to drenching in a matter of minutes.

The transference of the camp experience to campers’ lives outside of camp is not an apples-to-apples proposition. Campers don’t often say, “I climbed a mountain at camp, so I can work hard on this essay for English I” or they don’t often say, “I sat through a scary lightning storm with a horse, so I can overcome my fear of trying out for the track team” but they might learn something even more useful and powerful: the ability to be disappointed, but not defeated.

When campers experience setbacks or disappointments at camp, those hardships are often shared with others around them, and then they all work through those emotions together. High Trails campers write trip songs about their long trip experience–and, sure, they mention the summits and successes–but they also always highlight the challenges and mishaps. Together, they actively seek to find and tell the story of what they overcame and–in their triumphant songs–they reclaim the challenging or negative experiences as highlights.

On almost every single trip at Sanborn, there is a moment when a camper says something like, “No one else I know is doing anything/seeing anything like this right now.” And they are right. Very few of their friends outside of camp stood on top of a mountain last week, or rode a horse through an Aspen grove, or landed a trout, or flowed over a single track trail through a Ponderosa pine forest–nor did they eat a cold pita pizza in the rain, or sit in lightning position while getting hailed on, or discover their rain fly has a broken zipper, or have a moose hanging out in their campsite keeping them from getting into their tents. But they did. And they did it alongside a group of peers and supportive adults. And working through those situations makes them incredibly strong, powerful and proud.

In fact, it happens to all of us here. We all have the chance to allow challenges to become opportunities. Last week, we said we couldn’t have fireworks this weekend because it was too dry…then it started raining.

Everyone thought the fireworks last night at the ARK after the dance were fantastic. All of the campers and staff were cheering, singing, laughing and celebrating. And the fireworks weren’t very big at all.

Nothing is perfect and rarely does everything happen the way we hope it will, but we can always celebrate whatever does happen with the people around us. And we DO love to celebrate around here.

We cannot wait for this last full week of camp with your campers. Happy Fourth of July!

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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.