By Green River Preserve

Campers awoke to another chilly morning on the Preserve today, many of them easing out from beneath their blankets and into the cold with sweatshirts and pajama pants they wear to the lodge, where they sit together and enjoy another hearty breakfast before the last day of mentor hikes.

Before breakfast, however, everyone turns to face the east for a few moments, the early morning chatter dying as the soft sound of a drumbeat grows. Campers and staff alike join together to sing Win-De-Ah-Ho, a Cherokee song in which one gives thanks for the blessings they have in store for the rest of the day. The moment is intended to be a reverent one, where every member of the Green River Preserve community might have a moment to reflect on the day ahead and to prepare themselves to embrace the rest of the day, with whatever challenges and triumphs it might hold.

Reverent moments like these are a trademark of the GRP lifestyle, whether they come in the form of a morning blessing, a solo sit, or the Upper Council Fire that takes place at the end of each session. They are an integral part of GRP’s spirit, of its pursuit of understanding and connection with both one another and with nature. In these reverent moments, there is a certain clarity and peace of mind available to campers and staff—a freedom, and an encouragement, to invite reflection and to feel deeply—that often gets lost in the everyday noise of the lives we normally lead.

Indeed, GRP’s commitment to moments of deep reverence might also be seen as an invitation to moments of deep stillness. As a summer camp for the bright, curious, and creative, GRP gives campers the opportunity to explore in more depth the truths they may have discovered during their time on the Preserve, allowing them the space necessary to simply think. The days here are full and exciting—brimming with new experiences, new challenges, new friends, and new sights—but it is in the reverent moments GRP gives us that we may all achieve a more profound growth and a better comprehension of the way this place shapes us all.

Katherine Poore