They Spotted a Bear! Among other things....

By Anne Mead

As I was driving the bus back from Uncles Creek Waterfall yesterday, I was laughing, smiling, and grinning ear to ear. Why- you might ask? The bus full of girls was confidently singing. Singing loudly, singing gleefully, singing somewhat in harmony- all of the hit pop songs- one after another. It reminded me how I had lived this same memory many times over with my friends from Ashley Hall. The setting may have been different, but the scene and actions were the same. A time when singing at the top of your lungs surrounded by your friends was the norm, and doing otherwise was not even a thought. Singing your heart out- something 5th grade girls and really any girl from Ashley Hall has little issue doing.

This is one of my favorite weeks at camp. Maybe I am biased because I am an alumni, but the girls of Ashley Hall are so much fun. The curiosity and innocence of a 5th grader is so special, and Green River Preserve is one of the most magical places to witness that piece of childhood.

This week alone, the girls have climb mountains, polar beared in freezing waterfalls (a tradition where you stand under the waterfall and yell “polar bear” three times), crawled through rivers, and sat in total darkness under the earth in a cave. Oh yeah- and one group of girls spotted a bear on their hike towards Upper Bald. Do you know that we have not spotted a bear all summer! It took the ladies of Ashley Hall to call the animals out in full force. The girls were lucky enough to see it pass through the woods and then sneak up on its path and see its footprints- so fresh in the ground that the claw marks had not even retracted. Since then they have also spotted wild turkeys. No big deal. Just a normal week in life of a GRP camper!

I walked by the climbing wall yesterday and watched as the girls cheered each other on and encouraged one another to push onward towards the top. That will happen, but the enthusiasm from the Ashley Hall girls is unlike any other school group. It resonates with the values we honor here at GRP and the values I know are instilled at Ashley Hall. Values that center around respect for one another and creating a community that is like family.

I am so grateful to have the girls, parents, and teachers from Ashley Hall visit Green River Preserve each fall. I feel lucky to share this place with a part of my former community. I also feel proud and honored Ashley Hall continues to value educational opportunities outside the classroom. Thank you for giving your girls this gift and thank you for letting the Green River family and myself experience this learning environment with your children.

Now….if you could only all be flies on the wall for the fantastic and one and only VARIETY SHOW this evening! The talent is sure to be phenomenal. I would expect nothing less.