Educational Philosophy


“When I was three years old I declared to the world: ‘When I grow up I am going to have 100 children.’ The count is now in the thousands. Parenting, teaching school, and directing camp allowed me the opportunities to pursue my passion: to work with children; hundreds of them.”

“For this very reason, I constantly read and research. It is important to me that we at Green River Preserve provide the best we can in youth development for your children. It is not easy being a parent. All of us need help along the way. Hopefully our GRP parent education section will contribute to your success as a parent and the development of your child.”Missy Schenck, GRP Executive Director

Green River Preserve and Youth Development

A question that often comes up when we are discussing camp with our parents is: Can we help children develop the attributes of success that are greater predictors of later life success even more than academic skill sets? Our answer is always YES!

Research has proven that summer camp develops what noted psychologists and educators, Angela Duckworth, PhD. and her colleagues David Levin and Dominic Randolph refer to as the set of strengths likely to predict life satisfaction and high achievement. Here is their list of predictors:

GRIT is a powerful word buzzing around educational and camp circles. It is a term that was developed by Dr. Duckworth in her doctoral research with Dr. Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Think smarts are all you need to succeed in school? Think again, says Angela Duckworth, a research psychologist and one of the recent MacArthur Foundation fellows. In her research, Duckworth examines two traits that predict success: grit, the tendency to sustain interest and effort in pursuing long-term goals, and self-control, the regulation of behavioral, emotional and attentional impulses. To Duckworth, grit allows people to pursue challenges over the course of years. Self-control, on the other hand, helps us battle “hourly temptations.” Duckworth gave a TEDTalk on grit in which she stressed the importance of determination in academic achievement. This week, Duckworth was named one of the recipients of the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius” grants, which award individuals $625,000 over the course of five years for their professional achievements. The award is also considered an investment in the fellows’ future projects.” — Ruth Tam, Washington Post, September 2013

Green River Preserve is a summer camp connecting children with nature. Unplugged from computers, television, video games, and cell phones, campers have a chance to reconnect with nature, learn their own strengths, and find their inner voice. Every day at Green River Preserve, bright, curious, and creative campers thrive in “Nature’s classroom” as they learn from a community where ideas, creativity, and discovery are celebrated.

Michael Thompson

Michael Thompson, PhD.

Dr. Michael Thompson, noted clinical psychologist, lecturer, consultant, parent, and former seventh grade teacher is also a dear, special friend to Green River Preserve. Dr. Thompson is a noted authority on the understanding of the developmental role camp plays in a child’s life. He believes that summer camp provides a place for children to learn those skills that are predictors of life success. We do, too.

Dr. Thompson has participated in the training of Green River Preserve summer staff and serves as an advisor to our administrative staff.

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Richard Louv

In 2005, a book by Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods, hit the stands. We devoured it. Richard Louv was speaking our language; saving children from nature-deficit disorder. A single sentence in his book best explains its’ importance: “Our children, he writes, are the first generation to be raised without meaningful contact with the natural world.” His book is essential for the effective prescriptions for the recovery. Since our founding in 1988, GRP has been connecting children to nature. It is our mission and our passion.

(a side note…Richard Louv fell in love with the great outdoors as a child through fly fishing, one the life skills taught at GRP and a Schenck family tradition. It was the icing on the cake for us. GRP is an avid follower of Richard Louv and his foundation, The Children and Nature Network.)

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GRP Book Club

Often books will come to our attention through keynote speakers at the American Camp Association Conferences or related educational conferences. Many of the authors below are or have been keynotes at these conferences. Keeping tuned to current trends in child development and the impact summer camp has on it, is important to all of us at Green River Preserve.

The books below have been read by various members of our staff; some of them by all. GRP blog posts and newsletters feature a book on our list from time to time. If you are looking for a place to start, go for Homesick and Happy by Michael Thompson and progress through the three books following it. In the end, we sincerely hope that all of them will confirm what we at camp believe: summer camp is the best investment in child development a parent can make.

Recommended GRP Book list:

Green River Preserve welcomes book recommendations. Please email them to: .