How Three Weeks Is Life Changing

By Anne Mead

Growth. I cannot express in enough words how much each camper flourishes in the three weeks they have at Green River Preserve. I remember day one of Mentor Hikes when I took a group of kids up to the Cave and Long Rock, but before starting our hikes I asked each individual what they were hoping to achieve during the three weeks of Camp. Some of the answers I got ranged from wanting to have the greatest fun they could possibly imagine, to overcoming their fear of bugs and homesickness, to receiving the absolute most out of their last year at Base Camp before aging out. The answers were pretty general; after all, it was our first Mentor Hike and they were still familiarizing themselves with the Preserve most have called home for multiple years. I watched all these kids over the course of our three weeks and saw every single one achieve not only the goals they set out to, but also much more than they could have ever imagined.

Saturday was our last Mentor Hike of the three week session and I had the pleasure of taking eleven remarkable individuals (ten of which are aging out this year) to one of their most beloved locations on the Preserve; the Spire. Before entering this hike, I again posed a question to the group. “How do you think you have grown since your time here at GRP?” The answers they began to share with me filled my heart with such hope and brought tears to my eyes. Hearing these young adults explain how they have gained an unconditional love for nature in a way they would have never experienced anywhere else was mesmerizing. Telling me that because of GRP, they have realized just how incredible and magnificent they themselves are, and not only that, they are ready to take on any obstacle life places at their feet. Distilled in them is a wild fire that burns with the readiness to conquer the world; it is PURE MAGIC. They no longer feel like an outcast because they have gained a confidence in themselves while backpacking from Lower Bald to Upper Bald that allowed them to see how incredibly strong they are; not just physically, but more so emotionally. Growth.

I love Green River Preserve for so many reasons, and the number one reason would be because of the magic the kids bring to this place, they think it’s us that are giving to them, when in reality it is quite the opposite. Their growth is the most inspiring.

Samantha Keebler