Challenge by Choice
By Sara Huffman
Here at the GRP, we like to watch our campers grow, play, and learn. Now, everyone is able to play fairly easily (at least I should hope so), but oftentimes growth and learning require individuals to overcome obstacles- challenges, if you will. There’s nothing quite so rewarding as watching children, or anybody really, figure out how to get past challenges, especially when they’re learning to do so in groups.
One of the mottos GRP staffers go by is “Challenge by Choice”. Of course we’re not going to make anyone do something they would feel too uncomfortable doing, but we do highly encourage campers to accept challenges when they come across them. For example, I recently led a group on Campout up the Lower Bald, a large, moderately steep rock face. This group consisted of ten year-olds laden with all their gear for a two day Campout and, while some of them chose to climb the rock without their packs, they all scaled the bald with incredible fortitude (we later went back down to grab their packs for them, of course).
Life is rife with challenges, and half the fun is figuring out how to tackle them. I like to think that GRP helps campers start to assemble the tools needed for the challenges they’ll encounter later in life. From learning how to respect the area around them and react in a more conscientious and aware manner to teambuilding and cooperative action, GRP lends a variety of experiences to attending campers.
Another challenge that is more or less a staple of the GRP experience is the ever classic, ever popular spanky (going to the bathroom in the woods on Campout in such a way as to minimize impact). Once campers wrestle that challenge into its corresponding cat-hole, they often act as if they can tackle anything, and that is truly a sight to see. GRP is a magical place, and I wish every child could experience what it’s like to be a GRP camper at least once.