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Being Present

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As our third week of Session 3 begins in full, many campers have begun reflecting upon what this place means for them: for a number of children, this is the final three weeks they will spend at base camp as campers. After next Thursday, they will move forward; some (we hope!) might pursue GRP’s Expeditions, while others will explore other areas of interest during their summers.

One thing that makes this place so valuable in the lives of our campers is, perhaps, the opportunity to “unplug:” to remove oneself from the noise of everyday life and from the color-saturated interfaces of Instagram and Facebook, to be surrounded instead by the forest’s jumbled greens and browns, with its hidden injections of brightness—vibrant mushrooms, blooming flowers, the clear, reflective surface of the Green River.

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Much of what makes this place so transformative might be lost if we were not wholly present in it: nights full of music; moments spent circled up with friends in cabins, reflecting on the day’s events; evenings like last night, spent careening down a slip n’ slide: these are moments that would be dimmed by the glow of phone screens or the lure of Netflix. But here, these moments shine brightly and unchallenged, constituting the only means through which our campers might experience the world. They are here and nowhere else. They are immersed in what is in front of them, whether it is new friends or a new game or a new view from what is, for most campers, a familiar mountain.

This place, then, offers life in its most unadulterated form. It relieves us all—staff and campers alike—of the distractions and pressures offered by technology. It gives us the chance to be who we are without trying to capture moments for the consumption of others. We can be ourselves here, because there is simply no one else to be.

Story by Katherine Poore with Photos by Brandon S. Marshall