Designed by a child psychologist, our program will challenge and nurture your child on the path to a healthy, happy, and meaningful life.
To achieve this mission, we provide four distinct experiences - discovery, growth, independence, and community. Through these experiences, we believe we enrich the four most important predictors of a healthy and happy life: curiosity, resilience, autonomy, and connection.
You’ll also find our advice for ways to study, practice, and measure success at home based on our 30 years of youth development experience.
Tucked within 3,400 acres of a pristine wildlife preserve, GRP is a camp like no other. Each day, our campers walk through bright green forests, explore caves and splash through streams. These places are rich with life to discover, from insects and fungi to birds, bears, and other wildlife. When our campers walk this land of beauty and mystery, they cultivate curiosity.
Scientists who study success find that curious people tend to find contentment and high achievement later in life. We hope our campers leave with an enriched sense of value and gratitude for the natural world. More importantly, however, our campers leave with a love of learning and a heart full of questions. Guided by our trained naturalists and educators, our campers begin to question their place in the family of things. They start to ask hard questions about how to make themselves – and the world – better.
When campers attend GRP for the first time, they will see new faces, eat different foods, and experience different kinds of trees. They will also try a range of activities, from archery and canoeing to painting or performing in a play. If campers attend our two- or three-week sessions, they will embark on a two-night backpacking adventure through our forest. These situations give children a priceless opportunity: the chance to grow from unfamiliar and challenging experiences in a safe place.
We train our staff to coach children through all kinds of teachable moments, from climbing a mountain to painting a deer. The secret is that camp activities, while lots of fun, more importantly form a scaffold for emotional growth. Campers learn to cope with feelings of homesickness, big or small. They learn to reflect on their actions, move past mistakes, and plan for getting better. They learn to understand their own feelings, and communicate them honestly and effectively with others. Above all, they become more resilient in the face of future physical and emotional challenges.
By building a culture of growth, we take advantage of natural challenges to inspire resiliency in your child. We help your child build a sense of accomplishment, confidence, and courage. We give them the chance to say “Because I did THIS, I can do THAT.”
Campers love getting to make their own decisions. Will I take a top bunk or a bottom bunk? What food will I put on my plate? What activities will I sign up for? Deciding for yourself is fun, and practicing it helps children become better decision-makers. At GRP, we designed our program to take that feeling further, and make it last long after camp ends.
From signing up for activities and managing their own schedule, to cleaning up after meals, to carrying their own gear on hikes and backpacking trips, campers are coached through the processes of managing themselves responsibly. We even set aside time each day for Free Time, an hour where campers can jump from a wide range of supervised, self-directed play.
Most importantly, independence stretches beyond day-to-day tasks and into our mental and moral lives. When we teach responsibility and independence, we also hold our staff and campers to the idea that our behavior is our choice, and that personal and ethical choices present themselves in each moment. Then we help connect choices to the consequences that may follow, whether that’s getting blisters without socks or seeing careless words hurt a friend. By teaching independence, we foster a sense of autonomy and self-determination in your child.
Our favorite part of camp is that we get to detox from our devices and dive into the creative, intellectual, and fun-loving GRP community. Whether it’s performing in a play, laughing at the dinner table, or singing around a campfire, our program is designed to celebrate these qualities and bring people together.
We understand and appreciate technology, but we know that screens push us toward shallow social networking, which threatens our happiness and mental health throughout life. By focusing on community, we help campers (and staff!) develop the values and skills they need to break below the surface of shallow social networking and dive into deep personal connection. We help campers communicate their feelings. We help them work through conflicts, teach their friends, and hold each other to high standards. We show them how to build meaningful relationships and sustain them through life.
As we form a respectful and inclusive community, we guide campers to understand that humans are also part of a larger community of living things we call the natural world. We ask that campers treat the plants and animals they encounter with respect. We ask them to think about their impact on this living community, and practice ways they can learn about, explore, share, and protect the natural world. By focusing on community, we build responsible and respectful members of Earth’s ecosystems.