Session 4 Campout

By Green River Preserve

It is difficult and dangerous to pick out one defining event for any session, but if I had to choose one for the two-week session it would most certainly be Campout. It is without a doubt a somewhat difficult experience for the campers. One of my campers remarked to me upon returning, “I love Campout, but I love being back.” The packs can be heavy, the hikes can be strenuous, the water often tastes of Aquamira, and the food isn’t handed to us through a window. We experience a departure from some of the pleasantries we enjoy at Base Camp and certainly in our lives away from camp. But what do we get in return?

Green River Preserve prides itself on its conservation efforts and devotion to the natural world. What kind of camp would we be if we never let the children feel what it is like to sleep in the wild amidst the very land we have devoted an entire camp to? We consistently tell campers how much they can learn from nature and Campout is their chance to do that. Mentor Hikes simply do not provide the same level of immersion as living for two days on the Preserve. We drink from its streams and we gaze across mountains for comfort when are legs are feeling weary. We stare up at the stars because there is no roof to block our view and we breathe the breath of the trees like never before.

Not only do we become more connected with nature, but also we reinforce the bonds with cabin mates and Sister or Brother Cabin in an extraordinarily powerful way. We share the struggles and beauties of Campout and are encouraged to communicate. Whether it is about the beauty we witness or conversation initiated to distract and entertain, the campers and counselors alike are able to communicate freely and openly without a bell to interrupt them. You simply cannot return from Campout without a better understanding of those that accompanied you. You return with stories, inside jokes and shared experiences.

Campout is arguably the jewel of the two-week session. It is the culmination of everything that we teach and value here at Green River Preserve. It gives the campers and counselors a chance to escape the structure of Basecamp and take full advantage of the land available to us.

- Bayne, Fireside 2 Counselor