Sanborn Western Camps

Rated “best outdoor camp in the country” by Outside Magazine. Come be part of something bigger!

Sanborn Western Camps is an outdoor adventure residential camp in Colorado. Sanborn provides a unique opportunity to benefit from quality time spent in the natural world as a teacher, mentor, and friend to kids from all over the world. We give kids the opportunity to grow as young men and women while climbing 14ers, riding horses and living together in the outdoors.

Sanborn Western Camps is located at elevation of 8600 ft in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado, 35 miles west of Colorado Springs.

About Sanborn Western Camps

In the late 1940s, an idealistic young couple had a vision of a better world. In the years just after World War II, Laura and Sandy Sanborn had a dream of creating a place where young people could learn to live together in the out-of-doors.

In 1948, they welcomed four boys to Big Spring Ranch. Now, over 70 years later, Sanborn Western Camps and its associated non-profit organizations, Colorado Outdoor Education Center, High Trails Outdoor Education Center, and The Nature Place Conference Center, provide outdoor experiences for thousands of children and adults each year.

Stay up to date on the latest camp information here on our BlogLatest News

Commitment to Racial Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at camp

The Space, Time and People of Sanborn are three key aspects of who we are and set the stage for life-changing experiences. 

SPACE: Located on 6,000 private acres surrounded by 35,000 acres of National Forest we are the largest camp in the country land wise. The terrain in our backyard provides the ideal settings for horseback riding, mountain biking, rock climbing, backpacking and other amazing activities. Over time we have acquired more permits than any other outfitter in the state allowing us to share epic adventures in the greater Colorado wilderness and national forest areas. 

TIME: Most campers come for a month, and many younger campers come for 15 days. This time at camp allows for unique expeditions but also the opportunity to come back to a strong community and develop meaningful relationships.

PEOPLE: Campers and staff come from all over the country and 6-10 foreign countries. People with all sorts of backgrounds, interests, and skills come to Sanborn to learn new skills, develop their strengths and grow as individuals within a caring, challenging and supportive community.

Our staff members are powerful mentors, leaders, and friends. You are able to truly impact the lives of the campers while building an amazing resume and peer relationships that last a lifetime.

Our Mission: To live together in the Outdoors, developing a Sense of Self, a Sense of Community, a Sense of the Earth and a Sense of Wonder, through Fun and Adventure.

It is something we live every day, and it makes this opportunity anything but a normal summer job.

The Employee Experience

As a summer camp staff member, you will have opportunities to teach, learn, and develop your leadership and technical skills while influencing the lives of others.  

First and foremost, our staff needs to have a strong desire to work with children. While the days are long and the work is hard, the rewards are indescribable, as you are an integral part of the campers' lives, helping them grow and develop as individuals within the camp community. Very few jobs provide so many opportunities for leadership, impact, and meaningful work as a summer at Sanborn.

Summiting Colorado's highest peaks, horse packing trips over rugged terrain, rafting the Arkansas River, rock climbing and fishing in the South Platte... these are just some of the places where camp happens. Real opportunities for challenge, appropriate risk-taking and leadership make camp so much more than just "a place to go for the summer." Hard and soft skills are practiced and developed while experiencing the beauty of the Colorado wilderness.

Being in the outdoors and making a real connection with nature is more important than ever. Disconnecting from the ever-increasing rush of technological stimulation and electronic overload is vital. The camp provides this opportunity, and the campers (and staff!) benefit in so many ways. Watching the sunset behind the mountains, getting lost in the uncountable stars of the Milky Way Galaxy or being mesmerized by the grace and power of a soaring redtail hawk are just a few examples of how we connect with nature at camp.

Ideal Candidate

Someone who:

  • Truly enjoys working with children
  • Wants to learn and grow alongside exceptional mentors
  • Enjoys being a part of a community and something bigger
  • Wants to strengthen their leadership skills
  • Enjoys new experiences and challenges
  • Loves the outdoors

Room and Board

We offer a competitive base salary and Housing, Meals and Laundry are all included at no cost and valued at over $2,000 for the summer!

At the boys camp, Big Spring, you will live in a wooden frame platform tent, yurt or cabin. At the girls' camp, High Trails, you will live in a cabin.  The staff to camper ratio in the living areas is no more than 1:5 and usually lower than 1:4. Every counselor will have at least one co-counselor in the living unit and most units will have an assistant counselor as well.

Our meals are nutritious, varied and tasty.  

Employee Perks

Why Work at Sanborn?

  • Personal growth and development while being coached by great leaders
  • Being part of a 75-year-old high-quality non-profit organization 
  • Working in a community where you have a purpose and ability to change lives
  • Opportunity to be a role model, mentor, teacher and friend
  • Living in a spectacular location at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains
  • Experience leading and participating in amazing trips and programs
  • The opportunity to continue to develop a wide range of professional, social and technical skills that will last a lifetime


  • Summer salary starting at $3,700
  • Housing, Meals and Laundry included and valued at over $2,000 for the summer
  • Unbelievable Pro Deals
  • Stipends available for relevant certifications (WFA, Lifeguarding, SPI...)

Travel: Needs Based Stipends Available *Upon Completion of Contract*

We would like to ensure that the opportunity to work at camp is accessible to individuals in an equitable manner. If the cost of travel will prohibit you from being here we will work with you to provide a travel stipend in order to ensure your arrival at camp.

Getting Here and Getting Around

Sanborn Western Camps is located in Florissant, Colorado, 35 miles west of Colorado Springs. Staff members are welcome to bring their own cars. The nearest bus station is in Colorado Springs; the nearest major airport is Colorado Springs (COS). We will pick up staff members at either location. Many staff want to fly into Denver International Airport (DEN).  If you chose to fly into Denver please contact camp for more details on how to arrive at Camp.

For Fun

  1. 14,000 Ft. Mountain Climbs
  2. Backpacking: 1-5 day trips
  3. Astronomy
  4. River tubing & rafting
  5. Canoeing
  6. Stand-up paddle boarding
  7. Desert Trips
  8. Mountain Biking
  9. Technical Rock Climbing
  10. Horseback Riding: 1-5 day trips
  11. Hiking
  12. Fishing
  13. Low-impact camping
  14. Swimming
  15. Sports
  16. Games
  17. Free Play
  18. Campfires
  19. Theater- plays, skits, events
  20. Archery
  21. High Ropes Course
  22. Pottery
  23. Photography
  24. Mountain Survival
  25. Riflery
  26. Challenge Course
  27. Arts and Crafts
  28. Rock Scrambling
  29. Fossil Digging

How to Apply

Click "Apply Here" below to be part of a one-of-a-kind experience in Colorado!

Contact Sanborn Western Camps