By Green River Preserve
Everyday at GRP is a new adventure, starting with the morning mentor hikes and ending with the Evening Programs. For those unfamiliar with Green River Preserve Evening Programs, they are programs that take place in the evening. (How’s that for an explanation?) In all seriousness, GRP’s Evening Programs are a source of much excitement. And there’s a different event every night!
During this past one-week session, we had two Upper Council Fires, a wicked cool game of Predator and Prey, and, of course, a Counselor Hunt. As the one-week session is designed to be a sampling of GRP, we try to include some of the best Evening Programs this summer camp has to offer. Unfortunately, there are so many great Evening Programs, not all of the greats get fit into six days. Other awesome EP’s include Capture the Flag, Sunset at Long Rock, Coffee House, Lower Council Fire Cabin Night, and Capture the Flag Part II. As a former camper and a returning staff member, I can objectively say these activities are “off the proverbial chain”, by which I mean they are great.
We opened this week with an Upper Council Fire, and though we held it at the traditional Lower Council Fire area, the program itself held no less meaning. Traditionally the Upper Council Fire is something of a reverent introduction to Green River Preserve summer camp. It is where we plant the seeds of respect and appreciation for the outdoors, and it’s where we begin fostering that sense of community that is so important to summer camp and, well, communities. Once the formalities are over, staff play a number of favorite GRP sing-alongs, including “Wagon Wheel”, “The Swimming Song”, and “Mud” before getting campers ready for the next day’s activities.
Following the first Upper Council Fire is Predator and Prey, an activity designed to simulate the trials and tribulations animals on all levels of the food chain (or web, if you will) must undergo to survive from day to day. Stories of Predator and Prey are much better when they come straight from the campers’ mouths, so we’ll just say sometimes everyone’s a winner, sometimes no one is a winner, and sometimes all you can do is think “golly gee, that was fun”.
Tuesday’s Evening Program was the Variety Show, where campers get a chance to showcase their talents, jokes, or stories with their friends. Sometimes they perform individually and sometimes they perform in an ensemble. Some of the highlights from this past Variety Show include a brief demonstration for making friendship bracelets, a number of excellent song covers, and some hilarious jokes. Each Variety Show is emceed by any number of characters. This session the emcees were a wandering gypsy (with a wandering accent) and a genie in a crystal ball. It was a real joy seeing all the budding talent here at GRP.
Wednesday’s Evening Program was Counselor Hunt, or Staff Hunt. During which, each cabin, under the supervision of a staff member, goes out and peruses base camp for the various staff members hiding in the woods. Staff members are worth a number of points equivalent to the time they themselves have spent on the preserve (100 points for each year as a camper or staff member). Once found, staff members are made to “walk the plank”, where they jump in the water as campers cheer them on (or goad them, as campers are wont to do).
Finally, the one week session is closed with another Upper Council Fire, where the whole camp reflects in the memories and lessons from the last few days. This a time of great reflection. Campers are asked to think about their relationship with nature and the outdoors and how that might have changed during the session. Additionally, they are asked to place their spirit stones around the fire so that part of them might remain at GRP, even though they may be leaving. Occasionally tears are shed during this final Upper Council Fire, though that is much more likely during the two and three week sessions.
There you have it, a smattering of GRP’s Evening Programs. We hope you’ll keep reading the blog in the future, or, if you’re just reading cause your child is a camper, you’ll think back on your blog reading adventures with a certain fondness.