Staff Spotlight: Dana Averbook

By Avery McGaha

For this week’s Staff Spotlight, we caught up with Dana Averbook!

Q: What is your position at GRP this Summer?
A: Counselor

Q: How many years have you been at GRP?
A: This will be my first year at GRP as a staff member and my seventh year overall.

Q: What are you currently doing?
A: I’m currently a sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill studying Sociology, Women’s and Gender studies, and Studio Art, volunteering with the local refugee community, working as a barista (my latte art is abstract to say the least), and sneaking away to the mountains to snowboard, explore, go camping, and dance outside any chance I get.

Q: What is your spirit animal and why?
A: Truthfully, I’m still on my journey to figuring out my spirit animal, so I don’t want to force an answer here. However, one time I pooped in the woods and a butterfly landed on me so I feel like that means something, right?

Q: What are you passionate about?
A: Social justice and art are very integral parts of my life. I am especially passionate about women rights and reproductive justice, and want to work in women’s health with the hopes of ultimately becoming a doula or midwife. I’m also very passionate about environmental justice, and spend as much time as I can exploring and appreciating the natural world, gardening, playing in the dirt (or the snow depending on the season), and making art inspired by the beauty of the earth.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do outside?
A: I love so many activities outdoors, but what matters more is the company I’m in while I’m doing them. Whether I’m gardening, snowboarding, hiking, or playing in waterfalls, my favorite thing to do outside is to be with people who share my love of the natural world, are ready to explore, and have a good attitude while doing it.

Q: Tell us about your favorite trip/experience.
A: The summer after high school I spent two weeks in the Colorado Rocky backcountry on an Outward Bound expedition which was a truly unparalleled experience for me. Not only was it the most physically challenging feat of my life thus far, but a mental one as well. It made me realize how much more we can all accomplish than we think. I also formed some of the most authentic connections of my life in just a few days. As the whole group was stripped of technology and society, we all became so much more open, compassionate, and introspective people. It was on that trip that I learned the true magic of simplicity, community, determination, and togetherness, and I will never forget those longest and shortest days of my life.

Q: Why did you choose to come back to GRP this summer?
A: GRP has been such an influential part of my life, and there is no better way I can imagine spending my summer than to be a part of more campers’ experiences in such a beautiful and transformative place .

Q: What is something interesting that happened to you this year?
A: This year I was presented the opportunity to shadow a local beekeeper, and I have been going out to the hives learning the tricks of the trade. It’s been such a fun experience learning about the magnificent lives of bees, and I actually think it’s kind of peaceful being around all my new bee friends too. I’m looking forward to harvesting the honey from our three hives in late April!

Q: Where is your favorite place to hike?
A: I don’t think I could choose just one favorite place to hike, but some of my favorite hiking memories are from exploring the nooks and crannies of the Green River Preserve. There is such an unbelievable mix of running waterfalls, slow streams, all types of wildlife, vast views, and green meadows- it’s a really hard place to beat!