How Campers Live at GRP
By Green River Preserve
Sometimes we counselors get into the routine of camp to such an extent that we forget how spoiled we are. Fortunately, each session brings us fresh sets of eyes, which help us to appreciate the deliciousness of each precious moment we have here at GRP.
After only three days, both returning and brand new campers have adapted to the unique culture we uphold here at camp – a culture that builds people up rather than tearing them down, that respects and protects the beauty of all living things, that fosters creativity, and that encourages us all to seek the joy of being alive.
These ideas may seem very abstract, but they are actually inherent in the variety of “little things” that make up our days here at Green River. From deafening table-banging at mealtime to sharing your favorite book with your bunkmates; from screaming the words to “Humpty Dumpty” on the bus to sharing jokes with your new friend while waiting in line at the Shower House – these are the things that make GRP worthy of the word awesome.
A day in the life of a camper is not simply a Mentor hike, Activities, and Free Time with food in-between. While these – to a certain extent – set the foundation of our daily schedule, it’s often the times between these occurrences during which we grow closer to one another while gaining life skills. When campers are waiting for their Mentors to fetch snack, they must converse with each other or otherwise entertain themselves. Though staff members may, of course, contribute to such conversations, as well, these are the times when campers learn to truly engage with one another. While this may seem simple, social skills like these are needed now more than ever, as cell phones and Instagram become the primary platforms for social interaction.
The setup of camp in and of itself is conducive to the development of an interpersonal, goal-focused community. When campers live in a room with eight other people, they become very aware of the impact that “clutter” can make. Sure, leaving a sock in the middle of the floor isn’t the end of the world, but it could be the one thing that prevents the cabin from winning the Pink Flamingo. Maybe it’s OK if your trunk sticks out from beneath your bed a little, but when your bunkmates continuously stub their toes on it, one camper’s mess becomes a health hazard to all of us. These are the little things that we learn when we live in close quarters, and the reason why we grow up to be excellent college roommates.
Additionally, life as a camper at GRP offers innumerable opportunities for connecting with the natural world. From activities like Predator vs. Prey to individual observations during Mentor hikes, we are able to see the tiny universes amongst the forest, which provoke thoughts of interconnectedness and a sense of wonder about the world we live in.
So, although the highlights of camp may stand out more than these “little things”, these seemingly insignificant moments are of the utmost importance. They make up our lives at camp, and they enable us to grow individually while growing closer as a community.