While GRP has four Woodcraft Laws that guide our camp community–Beauty, Truth, Fortitude, and Love–the one that I hear cited most often is fortitude. “Be brave,” it says, “courage is the noblest of all attainments.” And at camp, away from home and all of its comforts and surrounded by new things and people, campers have an unprecedented chance to practice being brave. GRP has long advocated for a practice of “challenge by choice,” which presents campers with the opportunity to take steps outside of their comfort zone when they’re ready. But because of the culture of inclusion, encouragement, and grit that GRP creates, campers routinely choose to accept and tackle whatever challenge faces them.
It happens all around camp, every day. We try new foods at meals, taking a tiny portion of an unfamiliar dish or carefully selecting a singular brussel sprout. We zoom off the zipline for the first time. We get blindfolded during Low Ropes and make our way through the woods. We perform in the Variety Show or at Coffee House, taking the stage for what may be the first time. And on Campout, one group surpassed an easier hike in favor of a greater challenge: scaling the Balds with packs on. Today, in DuPont State Forest, campers had the opportunity to jump into a swimming hole at the base of High Falls. There were even a handful of campers that crawled under and into a hole(formed by many years of water flow) to pose for a fun photo-op. Consistent in each of these moments is the encouragement–every performer leaves the stage to enthusiastic cheers, Low Ropes participants keep one another motivated, and the Campout group helped one another up Lower Bald with enthusiastic cheers and applause. For many campers, GRP is the place to try something new because they know they’ll have plenty of help along the way.
Story by Lillie Wright with photos by Brandon S. Marshall