Into the Wild of GRP

By Green River Preserve

Over the course of the week, Session 2 campers have gone through many levels of preparation for Campout. In case you aren’t exactly sure what I mean by “Campout,” let me explain. All campers, counselors and mentors embark on a three-day, two-night backpacking adventure into the wilderness of the Preserve. With proper gear, shelter, food and cookware, the journey brings the entire camp closer to nature and altogether closer to each other. Through learning outdoor skills and essential backcountry techniques, our campers get vital experience in backpacking survival in a fun and nurturing environment. Yesterday, I was able to visit a few of the locations to photograph the makings of camp and to drop off a much needed guitar for one of our more musical Campout crews. The energy was full of excitement, with campers happily doing their part in setting up sleeping arrangements, gathering firewood and filling water containers to be purified.

Community is such a strong element of life at Green River Preserve and it carries on to the Campout adventure with such fluidity that you’d almost think that there’s some kind of reason behind the idea of working together (wink, wink). It truly is inspiring to see our campers helping each other in any way they can, to make the overall experience better for the group. If someone is struggling as they gather water, there’s a hand there to guide them or assist in one way or another. If a number of campers are completing a task and there aren’t any more required hands, then the remaining members of the group find something else to do that is equally important to the team, as a whole. Incredibly, most of this is done with little or no instruction from mentors or counselors.

While our first-years shouldn’t yet have all the know-how on Campout, thanks to the exceptional preparation techniques put into action, it’s plain to see that any of our campers would probably be better off in an outdoor survival scenario than most adults in the world today. With one night in the books, our young explorers will travel from their first campsite to another, somewhere else on the Preserve. Right now, they’re either on the move or have already arrived at a place they’ll call home for the night. With each passing moment, our campers are learning what it is to backpack in the wilds of North Carolina, with guidance from their counselors and a helping hand from their peers, whenever it’s needed.

Brandon S. Marshall