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Since 1992, Youth Leadership Camps Canada has been helping youth find their wings and soar to new heights.
You can also personalize your duffle bag with your full name and Camp House on it for only $2.50! These bags are very popular, many campers purchase these to pack for their YLCC camp Session. Navy Junior ROTC Cadets from seven Escambia and Santa Rosa county schools attended two camps before school started at Naval Air Station Pensacola — a Leadership Academy and a Basic Leadership Training camp. The NJROTC cadets and instructors from Northview, Escambia, Pine Forest, Washington, Navarre, Milton and Pace high schools took part in the camps with their days staring at 5 a.m.
Each camp included academics, orienteering and first aid, drills, a physical fitness test and daily fitness training, personnel inspections, daily room and locker inspections and tours of the various active duty training facilities. The 53 cadets attending the Leadership Academy  also had the opportunity to participate in a Leadership Reaction Course and a Marine Corps obstacle course.  The 50 cadets in the Basic Leadership Training camp were able to observe demonstrations of aviation fire fighting training, rescue swimmer training, and participate in the USMC circuit course. Both camps competed in a Jeopardy style academic brain brawl that covered topics covered in the NJROTC curriculum. Cadets graduating from the camps received a certificate of completion and ribbon,  while those completing the Leadership Academy also earned a silver cord that is worn with their uniform. Proud of each one of you cadets for your dedication to the program, your endurance to achieve success in giving it your best. It is much too quiet around camp   The fields, hills, and lodges are filled with great memories from the summer of 2015, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to spend this time with so many outstanding campers and staff.
One of our tasks during the weeks following camp is to collect and distribute all the lost and found items. Our outdoor education program staff has arrived and we will begin welcoming sixth graders to High Trails Outdoor Education Center on September 8. An outstanding hay crew consisting of Jim Larsen, Joe Lopez, Ian Stafford, Matthew Huffman, and Anne Shingler has been working hard to bring in our hay crop this year. As I struggle to sleep tonight with all this excitement, I’ve also been reflecting on the past 10 days of training and the conversations I know have happened at both Big Spring and High Trails.
These are the ladies that were campers on the first backpacking trip I led, on the first trip with 2 mountain climbs, and on the trip that the rain would never stop and I had dreams of our tents floating away. There is a phrase we use around here sometimes, because of camp… Well, because of camp, I have gained the skills and self-confidence of a great leader, all while being too busy playing in the dirt and hiking with my girls to notice.
To the parents who send their most precious treasures to camp, thank you, you are giving our staff members a most precious gift–the gift of being able to grow and change alongside your sons and daughters.
A few of our summer birds, including bluebirds and robins, have returned to the Ranch so we know Spring is on the way. At High Trails, returning staff include Val Peterson, Gracie Barrett, Cade Beck, Megan Blackburn, Zena Daole, Shannon Gardner, Jenny Hartman, Jenna Howard, Maddie Jenkins, Avery Katz, Sarah LeBrun, Cara Mackesey, Annie McDevitt, Iska Nardie-Warner, Melody Reeves, Meghan Rixey, Kendra Shehy, Cheyenne Smith, Tully Sandbom, and nurse Molly Radis. The staff of High Trails Outdoor Education Center enjoyed learning and playing camp games out in the snow during the last couple days of March. Our April will be filled with putting the finishing touches on improved programs and trips for this summer, renovation projects to improve our facilities, hiring the last few summer staff and counting the days until camp begins.
It’s sure nice to have everyone return to the office after attending the American Camp Association National Conference in New Orleans this year.
Jane always organizes a conference debrief meeting shortly after the conference, allowing staff to share in each other’s take-aways and become invigorated all over again. Artie the Abert Squirrel (AAS): Why do you believe it is important for so many Sanborn staffers to attend? Patrick: After listening to Scott Cowen I really had to stop and think about where High Trails is. AAS: There were 4 days of sessions that ranged from youth development strategies, camp protocols, marketing solutions, and so much more – what were some of your favorite sessions? Jackson: I enjoyed learning about autonomy supported programs.  These range from natural play areas, of which we have plenty to a “dream space” area on our trip sign-up sheets for campers to formulate their dream trip or activity, and we can do our best to make it happen! Carlotta: I went to a session called Kickin’ Kitchens which asked you to think about the kitchen like a systems engineer by thinking about how easy and obvious can you make the routines of the kitchen for everyone working there from the cooks to the assistant counselors.
Jessie: There were quite a few sessions that focused on autonomy and the idea that competence in an area leads to confidence. There you have it folks – the ACA National Conference keeps my staffer friends on their toes and ready to enhance the lives of children every summer. Artie is a well- loved member of the Sanborn wildlife family and official spokes-squirrel to the greater Sanborn community.
On Saturday, September 27th, 2014, the Sanborn Western Camps administrative team brushed the dust off of their dress clothes and popped down to the Denver Botanic Gardens to not only see the incredibly Dale Chihuly exhibit and the new Science Pyramid, but to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the John Austin Cheley Foundation. As stated in its mission, The John Austin Cheley Foundation funds need-based camperships for high potential youth to attend extended-stay wilderness summer camps that have a proven track record of positively impacting youth development.
Over 400 individuals were in attendance at the event which included admission to the gardens and museum, a silent auction, dinner and two excellent keynote addresses, one from Rue Mapp of Outdoor Afro, and the other from our very own camper, Luis Ochoa.
Rue Mapp spoke at length about the importance of connecting young people to the outdoors; while Luis simply spoke about the impact Sanborn, and the Brotherhood of Outdoorsmen, has had on his personal growth and development.
The evening was a huge success, both in raising funds to help send even more campers to camp, but also because it made everyone collected under the “Starry Skies” of the twinkle-lit tent at the Botanic Gardens understand the power of the camp experience. The Boston Marathon bombing was tragic and terrifying, yet the story that has unfolded as the Red Sox moved toward the pennant was anything but.  Winning a world championship in America’s game with a motley crew of bearded dudes and players who hail from Aruba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Japan, and all over the US sounds both incredible and a bit like Opening Day at Big Spring.


Why, as a nation, are we so enamored?  Why do we love this 95-years-in-the-making story so much? Both questions require thoughtful responses (but the first question might also require a plunger and a biohazard suit).  Beyond hiring the 120 broadly talented seasonal staff members, recruiting 600 unique and fantastic campers, connecting with our alums, designing new programs like the Sanborn Semester, organizing mission-centric educational opportunities like Stalking Education in the Wild or our annual No Child Left Inside Family Fun Day, hosting the ACA Rocky Mountain Section regional conference, sending birthday cards (over 10,000 annually), and operating The Nature Place and High Trails Outdoor Education Center, we are committed leaders and educators in the field of youth development and in the camp profession. Everything begins at home and we are committed to professional development of our year round and seasonal staff.  Through conferences, training sessions, and skill development workshops, our staff not only represents a seasoned group of camp professionals, we actually lead, teach, and design many training sessions for others in the camp community. We are invested in the experience and our own continued growth and development.  We are actively involved in building a more professional camp and educational experience for ALL children through our staff development and the variety of outreach and educational sessions we lead. This is a big part of our “purpose” and it is one we take pride in.   And with Jane repeating as program chair for the 2013 American Camp Association National Conference, we will continue to take a professional lead in the camping and youth development industry. Our High Trails Outdoor Education Center program with sixth graders from District 20 in Colorado Springs has been underway since mid-September.
On October 12-14, we are looking forward to hosting “Stalking Education in the Wild”, our outdoor education workshop for teachers, camp staff, naturalists and others who work with young people.  The workshop includes sessions on everything from geology and outdoor teaching techniques to creative writing and international folk dance. The horses are grazing happily in Olin Gulch and High Tor, where late summer rains helped to produce some tasty green grass.  Soon, they will head out to winter pasture at Fishcreek. Big Spring also spent part of today packing for many overnight and all-day trips this week.  The boys have mountain climbs on the agenda as well as rock-climbing trips, river overnights, fishing overnights,  many camping trips on our property and a two-day trip to the high Sonoran Desert near Canyon City. Our photographers are loading new photos from the week on our website tonight—they will be available tomorrow morning.  We’ll post another update on Wednesday!
Everyone is back in camp and the Lodges were hopping at dinner!  We are all looking forward to a fun weekend together. Leadership Camps at Camp Weaver are designed to help teens develop leadership skills while learning what it takes to be a great camp counselor.
Whether your camper has been coming to YMCA Camp Weaver for years, or are brand new to our camp, Teen Leadership Programs at Camp Weaver provide an excellent opportunity for teens to develop leadership and outdoor living skills.
Leader In Training (LIT) is designed to build leadership skills, group skills, self-confidence, and character. During week two, campers will begin planning and preparing for a four day, three night whitewater canoeing trip on the New River in Virginia. Successful completion of YMCA Camp Weaver’s LIT program or equivalent required before admission to our CIT program. Our CIT program is available as a 3 week overnight session for campers entering 11th grade. The first two weeks of our CIT Program are focused on intensive training in child care sklls and our various activity areas around camp.
CIT Camper Candidates: All CIT applicants must submit an application and two references before they will can be admitted to the program. The cattle and horses are very grateful for their work because the hay will provide their nourishment through the winter months. They have completed a beautiful new over the road sign at the entrance to Big Spring and have almost finished a big job at the High Trails Lodge—installing new electricity, new paneling, and new windows.
The impact will we have on their lives as counselors, wranglers, or leaders on trips this summer is remarkable.
Many of my junior campers from my first summer on staff are now the Junior Counselors (JCs) at High Trails. We still have quite a few snow drifts scattered around, mostly on north-facing slopes, but the first Pasque flower of the season has been spotted. Janie Cole will be Program Director, Carlotta Avery will take care of the camp kitchens and trip organization, Maren MacDonald will direct the riding program, Jessie Spehar will take photographs and Ariella and Elizabeth will keep everyone organized. Staff then team up to organize our new insights  into action: new staff week training sessions, new program ideas, and more for the rapidly approaching summer. We learn the latest research and information in youth development, education, brain science, and fun program ideas.
He spoke a lot about being aware of where your organization has come from, where it is, and where you want it to go.
One of the dances they performed was to Michael Jackson’s song, “Scream.” The highly energized and emotive dance revealed the growth during adolescence and a broader cultural narrative of the pressure kids are experiencing across all aspects of society. I also enjoyed continuing to learn how the developing brain works and tools to calm the alarm system in our brains.  I look forward to showing this information and these skills to campers in a non-stressful setting so when campers to become stressed, at camp or at home, they have used practice and tools they’ve learned from camp to deal with certain stressors. I am excited to use this idea on trips this summer and to bring the campers more into the planning of trips, especially menus, and to teach them even more throughout the trip, which would give them the competence needed for the responsibility of preparing meals, leading the way, and finding the perfect campsites.
Stay tuned for upcoming posts from them that go into more detail about all the research on brain development, and teaching kids autonomy and independence. He has been a long time contributor to the High Country Explorer sharing his knowledge of camp life with campers new and old.
Even Hollywood seasoned actor, Jason Ritter, who was the emcee for the evening, found it hard to put the impact of the camp experience into words. Mike, as President of the Rocky Mountain Region of the American Camp Association, participated in all of the leadership events held at the conference.
This training includes everything from the latest in youth development research to experiential teaching techniques.  Whew!
CIT – Counselor in Training and LIT- Leader in Training programs help teens explore their talents as individuals and in groups, while continuing to learn and grow.
Our leadership programs provide a safe place to work on real life skills such as independence, time-management, and group work.


The Chiefs group in Day Camp is available for campers entering 8th and 9th grade (after the summer). In addition to two trained Camp Weaver staff, our campers will be joined by a professional River Guide to teach them whitewater canoeing basics and will remain with our campers for the duration of their time on the river. During the last week of the program, CITs are placed into cabins with some of our very best staff serving as their mentors for the week. I’m also proud of the Instructors who lead you with understanding, friendship, total support and excellent leadership, teaching you skills and standards that you can use in everyday life, whether in the military or not.
Patrick Perry, Carlotta Avery, Sarah Ulizio, and Jackson Blackburn will provide leadership for the program. We talked about ways to help campers learn both hard and soft skills and build competence and confidence; not only in their lives at camp, but throughout their lives outside of camp. Temperatures have warmed up and the nice weather really inspires us to work hard on our many pre-summer projects. Ian Stafford and Jackson Blackburn will once again be part of the Big Spring Leadership Team and Mike Mac will lead the staff, with the help of Assistant Director Matthew Huffman. We also have a great group of former campers returning as staff members, and some wonderful new staff who will join us for the first time.
As a seasoned camp squirrel, I know what a driving force these camp leaders are and have seen great innovations come out of their conference learnings. I had the great opportunity to sit in on this meeting and then to interview people afterwards! The conference really inspires us to provide the best experience possible for our campers and staff.
Each day of the conference there is a keynote speaker that everyone has the chance to hear, as well as breakout sessions that cover a variety of topics from staff training to brain science,  psychology  to program development, and crisis management to effective communication.
I really enjoyed this because our organization has a rich history; I love where we are right now, and I feel has a valuable mission and is relevant in the future.
I know this is true because 15 year old Empress, totally impromptu (and wildly poised under said pressure), stood in front of 1500 conference attendees and described the story of the dance after they finished. The session was about ways to set up a positive camp culture starting on the very first day. For now, I learned that interviewing 11 different people is hard work and I’m ready for a snack and a nap!
Artie is currently practicing his balloon animal creating skills with Jane and knows Jerry’s actual birthdate. Mapp believes that parents in underserved communities must first understand the benefits of connecting to the outdoors before they will be able to understand the benefit of a camp experience, and that exposure to nature has to happen at a family, grassroots, and community level.
COEC Board member Rod Lucero presented one of the keynote addresses, and Julie, David, and Carlotta attended the conference. Antero, and Quandary Peak.  We also had many great horseback adventures, rock climbing, canoeing, tubing on the river, and much more. This program is ideal for teens who enjoy camp activities and the social side of camp and who want to learn to take on more responsibilities. The first week of camp is spent in traditional camp activities for half the day, and leadership training for the other half. They are encouraged to work together to learn the skills needed to become positive role models, in both our camp and the community. Our top scoring CITs will be among the first candidates that will be considered for staff the following year.
And on September 19, we will again join with the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument to celebrate “No Child Left Inside Day” by hosting an open house.
It is absolutely amazing to see everyone, staff and campers, in the lodge, on the trails and playing in the fields.
Staff members are taking to heart all the ideas presented to the group and looking for ways they can impact campers. Over the past ten days, I’ve realized that some of my favorite people in the world are on the staff this summer – it’s because they are the people that made a huge impact on my life! And in beautiful Louisiana, each day was not complete without an outstanding New Orleans meal as well! Rosenberg and Stein, in their enthusiasm, pride and even in their shout out to the kids’ parents in attendance (who took the time to pull the kids out of school and drive them downtown for the performance) demonstrated exactly what Tom Holland talked about in his keynote: our opportunity to be part of a transformative experience that positively shapes the lives of children.
During the first week and a half the group (typically 10 to 12 campers) and their counselors will work on a service project for the betterment of camp.
Campers will also learn a variety of outdoor skills, ranging from fire-building and outdoor cooking, to Leave No Trace camping ethics. If you would like to receive our catalog and DVD or know someone who would, we will be happy to mail them at any time.
First year counselors and fourth year counselors are seamlessly blending together as a group of strong mentors for this group of young people we’ve welcomed home in the last 24 hours. Everyone is experiencing the first few days of Summer 2015 together and looking forward to all the adventure and fun in store.



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