A Final Week of Firsts

By Green River Preserve

Even as the summer comes to a close, the Preserve has opened its doors once again to a new crowd of campers—many of whom are here for the first time. For us staff members, Green River Preserve traditions have become familiar parts of the daily ritual, from the morning renditions of Win-De-Ah-Ho to the unified pronouncement, “That’s where all the vitamins are!” after someone mentions the salad bar. ORT Man and Scrappy feel like old friends, and the bugs whose chorus begins in the evening-time is an indisputable signal for bedtime.

However, these are all experiences that are new for many of our campers. ORT Man and Scrappy’s first entrance Monday night, complete with the sprint through the Lodge and the accompanying whistle shrieks, was a thrilling, surprising, and totally unexpected twist to an otherwise calm dinner. While the chill of the river or of Uncle’s is familiar to staff, the exhilarating rush of water is often shocking to the newest members of the community.

As a staff member, it is an encouraging and beautiful sight to watch these new campers experience this place and the special culture it holds with such fresh eyes. GRP is truly a place of magic, and to fall back into this enthralled state of constant surprise, brought on by the campers who are here for only the first or second time, is a refreshing and energizing way to close out the summer. Indeed, although we are in our final session of the summer, these new campers create of this community something totally new, reminding us all of the uniqueness of the place our community calls home. They are on a path of constant discovery during their short time here, visiting old hiking destinations and seeing them with an excited newness, making new friends, and bringing the Preserve to life. And although their time here is short—a little less than a week—they will certainly leave a mark on this place. We hope this is only the first of many memorable summers they will spend with us!

Story by Katherine Poore
Photos by Brandon S. Marshall