As the end of the summer draws near and we prepare to say goodbye to each other and the Green River valley, we reflect on a summer of magic. Every day has brought new adventures and opportunities that are now treasured memories. Daily mentor hikes have allowed us to crawl into the darkness of the cave, hike to new heights with unforgettable views, “Polar-bear” in beautiful waterfalls, and explore the hidden treasures of the riverbed. Each hike has encouraged our campers and staff to seek the truth about earth and its inhabitants by teaching about controlled burns, plant identification, and hiking through the living room of wildlife.
The adventures of a full day at GRP continue as afternoon activities take place and laughter can be heard from every corner of camp. Campers push their own limits by scaling the climbing tower, aiming for the “Dreamshot” in archery and BB Skeet, and zooming through the forest during mountain biking. Not even rain can dampen the excitement of activities as canoeing and theater can still be seen continuing to race across the lake and dance in the liquid sunshine. As the saying goes, the show must go on!
Our evenings are spent learning about the food chain in Predator v. Prey, singing both silly and heartfelt songs around council fires, and cheering for our friends as they showcase a range of abilities in our Variety Show. Smiles can be seen across countless faces as we participate in these evening programs and many others with energy and enthusiasm. That energy and enthusiasm is only matched when we sing well-known and well-loved bus songs like “Rattlin Bog,” “The Frog Song,” “Boom Chicka Boom” and so many others.
Even our meals our filled with learning and fun as we are visited by dear friends of GRP who each share their important knowledge. Dr. Dodo teaches us facts about the birds around us while Dr. Dictionary expands our vocabularies with words that engage the crowd. The Cabin Fairy visits in the afternoon to award the cleanest cabins and encourage us to be clean, both ourselves and the place we live. Finally, Ortman and Scrappy make a trip to our valley at dinner to help us fight the ORT wars by teaching us how to minimize our food waste in fun and unique ways.
While we pack our bags and begin to close summer camp in these final days, we reminisce fondly on the campers and staff that have touched our lives in ways we will not soon forget. Before the week is over we will paint our spirit stones to capture the memories of this year and lay them on the hillside where the they will live forevermore. The magic of the Green River Preserve has truly gifted us memories that are now treasures to enjoy. Though we are returning to the real world and our lives outside of this valley, let us remember, both campers and staff, that there will always be a piece of us under these majestic pine trees. Until next summer when we can be reunited, continue to practice being environmental stewards who seek the joy of being alive.
Story by Kaley Tritt with photos by Brandon S. Marshall & Samantha Keebler