The Power of Community

By Green River Preserve

With Independence Day just around the corner, Session 3 begins. Many of our campers are returners, some having begun their journey at Green River Preserve up to seven years ago. I can’t say I’ve seen them grow, as this is only my first season here on the Preserve, but as I looked around today, I saw connections reemerge from the depths of time, along with big smiles and even bigger hugs. The community of GRP stretches far beyond it’s borders, to homes and families spread throughout the world. Green River Preserve brings campers closer to nature, closer to themselves, and allows each person that experiences this place an opportunity to challenge themselves and grow into people full of life and character.

Over the last two Opening Days of the summer, I’ve noticed a great number of campers and parents with tears in their eyes just before letting go of each other for a week or two. For today, this was not the case. Campers were eager to get to the excitement of the 3-week session and parents were just as exuberant for their children to adventure, grow, learn and enjoy themselves for the next few weeks. It’s plain to see what this place does to anyone who steps foot on the land. If you’ve only ever been here for a moment as you’ve dropped your young camper(s) off, you know the magic that stirs in the air with each subtle breeze. You understand that this is a wondrous, magical kingdom, rich in love and in life, with so many beautiful qualities that I could not truly begin to explain.

If ever there was a place in this world that I could imagine would produce the makings of a society that would save the world, this is it. With a storm roaming the outskirts of the Preserve, we were forced to conduct our Upper Council Fire in the Gazebo this evening. As with all Opening Days, campers walked past one of our Mentors as they held out a small bundle of burning sage. While I stayed in the shadows of the hardwoods, with camera in hand, I experienced a certain reverence that I had not yet seen during one of these events. In the distance, campers chatted with one-another as the walked across the front field towards the Gazebo and as they drew closer and closer, something changed. Each and every one of our campers expressed respect for something that most people in the world would think of as silly or unusual. They breathed in deep while passing through the smokey sensation of the sage or even stopped to bathe in it’s earthy aroma. Perhaps there was a smile, a grin or even a moment of silent laughter while they caught me taking their picture, but one thing I noticed is that our campers fully gave themselves to the moment. While their friends back home are playing video games or watching television, these young people chose to come here and when required or asked, give the respect seen only in the wisest of beings. I am astonished by the power of this place and this community.

Brandon S. Marshall