Why We Love GRP

By Green River Preserve

There comes a moment in every day that I spend at the Green River Preserve when I realize: I am the luckiest person in the world. Maybe this thought occurs to me when your child learns how to perfectly snap, pause, snap her pole in Fly Fishing; maybe it is when the entire Lodge laughs at a joke I make while playing Mr. Bojangles (Dr. Dodo’s crotchety old parrot sidekick) during Bird of the Day after breakfast; maybe it is when I catch the glimmer of hundreds of water skimmers on the surface of the Swimming Pond; maybe it is when I give or receive a much-needed hug, or when someone does something hilarious (remember that time Conrad put the bananas on his head?). Every day at GRP is full of small victories and new discoveries, and being part of a community that provides opportunities to both laugh hysterically and grow beyond the limits that one normally perceives is a rare and lovely experience.

We come here for different reasons. Maybe you seek for your camper time to himself, exposure to nature, a place to “fit in” (goodness knows, I was the child obsessed with the Holocaust all through third and fourth grade). But whatever we come looking for, what we find is some version of the same: opportunities for challenge, learning, freedom, responsibility, gratitude, respect, and deep, committed friendships.

I have been asking around, wondering, “Why do you love GRP?” Campers love their Activities, the Mentor Hikes, the way that they learn things here – by doing things hands-on rather than sitting at a desk. They love how beautiful their surroundings are, often so different form the cities and suburbs they come from. They love the challenges placed before them at the Climbing Tower, in the cabins, and by the sheer fact of being away from their family and school friends, and they love rising above these challenges. They love that the people who come here are so similar to them, but also so different.

This, admittedly is one of the main reasons that I personally love GRP. I have worked at least ten different jobs in the past ten years, and never have I worked with a more loving, supportive, intelligent, and hilarious group of people. It is rare that I have ever been in a room where more than two people have understood my dry, tangential sense of humor, but here at GRP, everyone gets it. The staff is a cohesive family whose goal is to offer up a unique brand of wonderful that caters directly to your unique and wonderful children. The genuine love and affection that people have for one another here is something I have found in few other places in my twenty-five years. And this is not just love that the staff has for one another. We love your children. They are creative, intelligent, strange, silly, and wonderful, and over the course of the summer, they have transformed me from someone who never thought she would have children into someone who now wants kids (… like, two).

So many of our campers in this session, the last session of the summer, are here for the very first time. Only about ten of our 63 campers in Session Five have attended camp at Green River before, and it is exciting and uplifting to see brand new campers moving past the anxieties of being away from home for the first time, navigating new landscapes and new friendships, and trying out Activities they have never done before. There is something lovely about these new campers being here at the end of the summer; it is something akin to finding new growth on a young plant in mid-November, an errant Spring season cropping up in late Fall.

On this, the last day of the summer for all of us at GRP, it would be easy to become nostalgic and to focus on the past. Because really: the past two and a half months have added up to one pretty perfect summer. We have laughed, cried, learned, played, and grown together. As we face the Fall, I will repeat, as a reminder to myself and others, something that I say to my girls every time the last Rose, Bud, Thorn of a Session comes around: My Thorn is that you all are leaving tomorrow, but my Bud is for your futures. I could not be more excited for the great things you will do, the interesting places you will go, and the ways in which you will continue to grow.

And, as you know, Summer will come around again next year. We hope that when we open the gates for the 2015 camp season, you all will be as excited to see us as we will be to see you. Until then, continue to seek the joy.

- Holly (WW1)