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Finding Joy

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Our first session began on a Sunday afternoon and ended Thursday morning. In less than 100 hours, we hiked to enchanting waterfalls and basked in the early summer sun. We found new friends and experienced the purest forms of joy imaginable. GRP is one of those rare spaces where we can be our fullest selves. It’s a place where all of the little moments matter. At the core of Green River Preserve, somewhere between the mountaintops and the woodlands, along the trails and within the very rocks below the river, there is a heartbeat. You can hear it in the footsteps of campers hiking the paths or while rushing up the steps to the Lodge. You can see it as the ripples roll across the lake or in the treetops when the leaves pulse as a gentle zephyr passes through. You can feel it in the quiet moments of the Upper Council Fire, when all of our hearts are beating together.

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While the time flew by in an absolute whirlwind of adventures and activities, we managed to create and foster strong connections to the outdoors. Campers during this particular session are some of our youngest, and to see the deep love and curiosity for nature, at such an age, is extraordinary. Kids will return to their lives back home, to a world where screens are inevitably a part of life. For the time that we enjoyed here, the only glow that we couldn’t look away from was the warm light of a campfire. On our last bittersweet evening together, we gathered for Closing Ceremonies, a time for laughter, love, and reverence. As we set our wishboats into the lake, we thought of each new memory and each new friend, ever so thankful for our time here, together.

Story by Brandon S. Marshall with photos by Brandon S. Marshall & Samantha Keebler