By Green River Preserve

With almost 3400 acres of wilderness within its borders and countless acres beyond them, the Preserve has limitless opportunities for exploration. We take advantage of these opportunities every morning when we send campers and Mentors out on Mentor hikes throughout the Preserve (and some days, like today, beyond it). Each morning is an adventure, filled with discovery, education, and growth, as campers bask in the beauty of the natural wilderness and learn to recognize the limitless movement and life of the forest. Each time we place another foot forward on one of the many mountain trails, we can discover another new and complex organism, with its own ways of life, modes of survival, and special role in the larger ecosystem of the forest.

Campers get to experience this every morning, hiking to the Balds, Uncles’ Falls, the Green River, the cave, Fawn Lake, or, on occasion, Lake Julia (a lake close by in DuPont State Forest). Sometimes, campers simply go bushwhacking, eschewing a trail in favor of forging their own paths. In each of these places, they absorb something new, some new and fascinating piece of information, some greater understanding of the ecosystem or of themselves.

With these extensive chances for exploration comes an endless sense of adventure that pervades base camp both during Mentor hikes and afterward, when campers may have adventure in other ways. In the afternoons, they spread out for activities, visiting the archery range, the climbing tower, the lake, the crafts cabin, or the trout pond in search of new experiences. For some campers, these activities can be difficult. Getting to the top of the climbing tower, for instance, is not always easy, nor is learning ukulele in music class. Fly fishing requires patience, and learning T-rescues in canoeing requires collaboration and concentration.

But for each challenge campers face, they learn something new, whether it is learning how to cast on in knitting class or how to execute a new pose in yoga. These campers are encouraged to celebrate their own learning and personal growth, and we celebrate with them, thrilled to be a part of their paths to independence, understanding, and confidence.

Katherine Poore