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Avery's New Journey

Dear GRP friends and family,

I am writing today with some news. After ten unforgettable summers at Green River Preserve, I am setting off on a journey away from camp. On March 5, I will be leaving my year-round post as program director to begin a new career.

Before I hang up my radio and clipboard, I would like to share a few things with my beloved camp community. I want to share what I’m up to next, a word of gratitude, and how I will continue to be involved with GRP.

First, where am I off to? This week I will begin a new career in data analytics. I’ll be working for Caring.com, a company based in Charlotte. Its mission is to provide free resources to folks looking for senior care across the country.

As many of my closest colleagues and friends know, data analytics has been a central part of my behind-the-scenes work at camp. It has also been a total joy for me. I delight in using data to figure out how things work, both in the natural world and in the quasi-natural world of human organizations. In the past few years, my love of data bloomed into a career goal. I am beyond excited that I will get to work with data all day, every day.

At the same time, I am going to miss Green River – and all of you – to pieces. I am so thankful for more than a decade of memories, songs, stories, and lasting friendships. I will carry them with me for the rest of my life. I feel so lucky to have worked alongside such caring, joyful, and seriously funny staff members, and to have gotten to know so many bright-eyed and brilliant campers. And let’s not forget the land! We know Green River is a place of great magic and mysteries. To have known so much laughter, curiosity, and joy in such a place – it was a true privilege.

Looking ahead, I am excited to continue showing my love and support of GRP as a proud alum. I hope to see you at camp events any chance I get. Whether at the Farm Feast, a Charlotte road show reunion, or Volunteer Weekend, expect me to wear my favorite GRP shirt and talk about camp to anyone who will listen. If you insist, I may also bring an instrument and forget the words to any song you choose. The bottom line is that you will see me at camp again! (If you do spot me elsewhere, possibly around Charlotte, keep in mind that I am worth 1000 points.)

My journey at Green River Preserve began 12 years ago. It was 2009, and I was hired as a counselor-in-training. I remember being nervous, excited, and deeply worried about pooping outside. I remember hesitating for weeks. Could I do this? Was I even capable? I woke in the middle of the night, just hours before the first day, and made my decision. I finally packed my trunk that night. I filled it with all the wrong things (not even a single pair of rain pants!) and decided I had to try. In the morning I drove my parents’ car deep into the woods.

How could I have known what awaited me? Ten glorious summers serving children. A lifetime of lessons, memories, true friendships, and yes – new interests and passions to follow. Looking back, the years seem like one long, spectacular session of summer camp.

Which makes this moment feel a bit like my Closing Day. It’s hard. Part of me wants to hide under my cabin and never leave. But deep down, I know that I need to return to the world for a while. My trunk is already packed. It is twice as heavy now, weighed down with a decade of dirt, soaking-wet bathing suits, and someone else’s socks. I’m ready to take the long drive down Green River Road toward home.

But that’s not the end of the story, is it? We all know what will happen next. I’ll take a nap. Then I’ll eat my weight in junk food. I’ll tell stories until my voice gives out. I’ll sing songs and set the table and make everyone compost their ort. And the moment I’m left alone to think, there will be just two thoughts on my mind. One: How can I get back to camp? and Two: Will all my friends be there?

Well, my answer is that you’d better be! There is so much fun and joy and wonder to celebrate at Green River Preserve. I can’t wait to see you back there, the very next chance I get.

I promise it won’t be long.

Still seeking the joy,