We took a day trip to Sanborn Western Camps, where Jessie worked for 3 years and where MiniCooper, Sue’s miniature horse, currently lives (the Summer Campers love and spoil him tremendously!). Jessie got to see her “camp boyfriends,” Pete & Westley (the horses), and she took Sue & Tom on a scenic hike. We reunited with the MacDonald family (Jessie was their nanny) and with BC, one of Jessie’s best buds who taught her how to rock climb. It was a lovely visit!
Here’s what Jessie has to say about the visit:
Returning to camp was a beautiful reminder of how impactful a place and the people who love it can be–and the impacts last. I went to Sanborn at a point in my life when I deeply needed a change. The support of every staff member helped me to grow into my highest potential. The land that had embraced me did so once more when I took Mom and Dad to my favorite spot on camp and I lay down in the grass to look up through the quaking aspen leaves to the sky.
The place is the same, yet changed. Renovations, new buildings, improvements have been made. There is now cell phone reception on property, which has undoubtedly shifted the culture there. I even noticed that some of the trees have died, are serving their new purpose as habitat for bark-dwelling beings. Trails have eroded more deeply, thousands of footsteps have since landed on some of my favorite paths. Small fires have burned and changed some of the landscapes surrounding Sanborn. But what’s the same is the spirit that lives so strongly in that place. It is a spirit of wonder, of growth, of love, of change, and hope.
Families have moved on, new fresh faces have arrived. There are still ripples from the people, the time spend when I was present there. When I first met Julie Richardson, then Girls Camp Director, and she drove my family on a tour of the property, I remember we were on the road to Witcher Ranch and Julie was speaking of the impact of this place with tears in her eyes. I was sitting in the front seat next to her, and that was the moment I made the decision: I wanted nothing more than to have a job that was so meaningful it could bring tears to my eyes. And it did. From the start, I felt a deep connection to Sandy and Laura Sanborn, who had passed away before I began working at camp, yet lived through the stories, the memories, the traditions, and the hearts of the staff and campers. Their impact was so strong and honored that I felt that I had known them. And this spirit is kept alive through remembering.
Seeing how the MacDonald kiddos have grown up is so inspiring, and I was thrilled to know that “my children” are doing so well–they are little mini-adults already and I am so proud of them! I can remember spending afternoons with Lleyton strapped to my belly in the Bjorn, hiking up Little Blue with the dogs. I also remember going to the store with Finley and Lleyton in tow and blatantly claiming them as my own when a fellow shopper would say, “Oh, what beautiful children you have!” They still have a huge part of my heart.
BC is awesome as ever–in fact, he’d just climbed 3 fourteeners the day before I saw him. Solo. No big deal. I miss climbing with him and hope someday we’ll live closeby again so we can continue to adventure!
The herd of horses was healthy as ever–Maren takes such fantastic care of them. It was so sweet to see Pete, my loverboy, who wasn’t the most affectionate (I don’t blame him; I’ve been gone awhile!), but did come over to to snuggle for a moment. Westley (Westie) is still my prince–and I his Princess Bride–and he was happy to get scratched for a long while. That herd taught me more about horses than a thousand lessons. Watching how horses interact in a more wild setting truly freed me from my limited perspective on these miraculous animals. What a gift. And thanks to Sanborn, the herd, my campers, fellow wranglers, and Maren, this was the place where Horseback Yoga was born. My dreams came true!
I could gush forever about this place, so I’d better draw this to a close. I’m proud of the impact Sanborn had on my Mom and Dad this short visit–Dad, fresh from his partial knee replacement, hiked a good ways with me and got to enjoy some gorgeous views (hopefully a precursor for his knees healing and many great adventures to come!). Mom got to visit her beloved Mini Cooper, who is plump and happy as ever. I got to spend time with my parents at one of my favorite places in the world.
Signing off, in continual gratitude to the place that healed me and turned me into who I am today!