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The Miracle of GRP

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“Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and it's beauty.” ― Albert Einstein

Each day is marked by so many moments of unfiltered joy. Not everywhere in the world, mind you, but here, we live as one giant entity, harmonious with each other and the natural realm that makes up the Preserve. In these tiny fragments of time, I think we truly connect with our reasons for living. Ah, the little things; doors being held open, lending a hand to a fellow camper, showing gratitude for that helping hand. Then come the grand moments of sheer happiness; the finding of all four Grand Slaminals and the ice cream party that follows, completing a handmade cordage bracelet that you will keep forever, the friendships that bloom instantly and will never wither with time.

This place, the campers, and the staff are a miracle in a world where miracles are hard to find. The compassion between one another is rivaled only by our love for this land and all of it’s inhabitants. Too true is it that we often take too much for granted. Not here, though. Here we support fighting for our beliefs. We take notice of those who need help or who have helped. There is an unspoken graciousness that I always hope I’ll find elsewhere, every time I leave the boundaries of GRP. More often than not, I find that it is only here where I–and probably most of our campers–experience a sense of being our true selves in a community setting. Almost 150 campers and staff unite to bring the joy of life to reality, every single day. We have everyone in this community to thank for that, from admin, to support staff, to counselors, mentors and senior mentors, to the incredible talents and endurance of our kitchen staff, to camp moms, to our nurses, to the founders and the directors, to the family that we have all become and most importantly, to our campers, who come to GRP and bring it all to life in a way that may never be truly described in words. There is a feeling here that you cannot find anywhere and it’s all due to the simplicity of seeking the joy of being alive.

Story and Photos by Brandon S. Marshall