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The Bittersweet End of Session 3

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Where does the time go? I met some of our Session 3 campers in 2017 and have been amazed at the growth I’ve seen over the past 6 years. We’ve shared countless memories. We’ve experienced mesmerizing sunrises and mystical sunsets. We’ve climbed to the mountaintops and “Polar-beared” under the freezing flow of waterfalls. We’ve witnessed the magic of stumbling across “Grand Slaminals” while walking through the wondrous woodlands. We’ve laughed together and shed tears together. It isn’t until the final day of this session that our campers who are aging out finally feel the weight of it all.

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As I rambled around to each of the Group Learning Projects, I saw a change as the day carried on. Before lunch, it was like any other day, full of joy and smiling faces. As the afternoon drew closer to Closing Ceremonies, our older campers became more and more aware that this night would be their last at Base Camp. Hugs lingered longer and felt more compassionate. The laughter shared felt somewhat more heartfelt. The last bits of GLPs took on a sense of overwhelming finality. The reverence of feeling the end of an era swept through all of us as darkness settled in, and we gathered for Upper Council Fire.

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Thank goodness for the kindness and love for this place and each other. It’s what makes GRP so undeniably special, for literally thousands of souls. Though for many it was an evening with flutters of sadness, a bittersweet conclusion to a time and a place that will never be forgotten, the last day, the last evening, and the entire Session 3 experience will be held close to many hearts as a time of extraordinary happiness.

Story and photos by Brandon S. Marshall