The Life of A Camper
By Green River Preserve
At Green River Preserve, campers are constantly being immersed in an environment of excitement and wonder. Every day is a new adventure, chock full of cool hikes, fun games, and learning opportunities and each day is loads different from the last. The campers here know this. After all, it is their life for a week or two (or three). However, the overwhelming majority of people probably have not had the pleasure of experiencing what GRP is like as a camper, so I figured I would try to present a detailed, though skeletonized, portrait of life as a camper.
Every morning, after breakfast, campers start out the day with a Mentor Hike (or a Mentor Bike, if they’re enrolled in GRP Wheels). These hikes go all over the Preserve and they’re led by knowledgeable professionals who are just as excited to teach as the children are to learn. Depending on where the hike goes, campers might get to learn about sourwood; a local edible tree, go check out the Salamander Cave (which is full of salamanders), or go to Long Rock and check out the petroglyphs. No hike is repeated, and no hike to one place is ever the same.
After Mentor Hikes, campers return to Base Camp for lunch where they tell their counselors all about their hikes, refuel for their activities, and find out who had the cleanest cabin that morning (we have a pair of Cabin Snails in the area who check cabins during hikes). Rest hour follows lunch and activities. Campers have three activities a day, in two-day blocks. For example, Monday and Tuesday might consist of Knitting, Fencing, and BB Skeet, while Wednesday and Thursday might involve Mountain Biking, Dancing, and Guitar. During the two week session campers have three rotations of activity blocks. Activities are followed by Free Time, which provides an excellent break from the rigid structure of camp which gives campers time to do whatever they want (under supervision of course) and play how they wish. Unstructured play is a great thing.
Dinner and that day’s evening program cap off most days, with the only exception being Campout, but I’m sure Campout has been previously addressed in the blog (it was AWESOME this session). Evening programs are another great addition to GRP life. Campers may get to show off their talents in the variety show, play some guitar or drums, sing at the Lower Council Fire, or run and yell their lungs out during such games as Capture the Flag. Predator Prey is another good one, where we provide the kids with a simulation of life in the wild.
All in all, GRP is a great experience, and it is benefited greatly by the blend of structure and creativity that keeps campers excited, engaged, and constantly learning. Sometimes when I take a minute to sit and think, I still remember things I learned in camp that I forgot to tell my parents afterwards- there was just so much cool stuff. But that’s just how it is. Camp is awesome.