Yesterday afternoon, the Preserve opened its gates for the first time this summer, welcoming new and returning campers into base camp to spend the rest of the week exploring everything this 3,400 acres has to offer.
Session 1 has one of GRP’s highest volumes of new campers, and for some children, this week is full of firsts: the first night spent away from home, the first time sharing a room, the first time setting the table, or creating pottery, or playing an instrument. The week is a whirlwind of newness and firsts like this, and this inundation of novel experiences is both dizzying and exhilarating for most campers. It can be a challenge, and it is, on occasion, overwhelming.
But this newness cultivates growth, and through the challenges it may present, it offers opportunities for adventure, for joy, and for discovery. The new friendships this place fosters might often last a lifetime, and the memories made here — the jarring frigidity of the water in Uncle’s falls when a camper Polar Bears for the first time, or the serene darkness of the Indian Cave, or, hopefully, the sighting of a black bear or any number of the Preserve’s Grand Slam animals — linger long past the week which makes these experiences possible and accessible.
Session One is the beginning of a long season of experiences, memories, hope, and wonder, and our Campers, we hope, might bring these things back to their homes, to their communities, and to their everyday lives. After all, Green River Preserve is more than a wildlife preserve and an untouched stretch of wilderness: it is a place where the beauty of the earth can be seen in its fullest, a place where children can challenge themselves, and a space where we might all grow to understand more of who we are, what matters to us, and, most importantly, that we matter to others.
Story by Katherine Poore & Photos by Brandon S. Marshall