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Philosophy

Respect is a right.

We believe that all people deserve basic kindness, dignity, and respect. Each program at Green River Preserve begins with a ceremony called the Respect Circle, where we ask each member of our small community to treat each other with respect. We also ask that we learn to treat the natural world, our facilities built from the land, and even ourselves with that same respect.

At Green River Preserve, we hold each other to high standards of ethics and character. We know that mistakes are part of life, and we always seek to use mistakes as opportunities to teach. But we do not tolerate violence. We do not tolerate meanness, pettiness, and gossip. We ask that all of our staff and each camper strive never to tear anyone down, but to build each other up.

This agreement forms a strong foundation. Together, we build a community that is humble, helpful, and dedicated to growth.

The world is filled with honest, loyal, and decent people. We know because GRP overflows with them each summer.

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We Belong Outside.

When we spend our lives glued to electronics, we miss the full impact of our actions.

The human mind was built outdoors. When we spend all of our time staring at screens, we miss so much of what the world has to offer us. We miss the ephemeral beauty of the seasons. We miss the tiny creatures under our feet and above our heads. We miss the majesty of a dark night and its symphony of sounds.

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We learn to focus on what matters.

Nature shows us who we are. At Green River Preserve, we walk the land, and we listen when it speaks. By living in the open air, by taking daily adventures deep into the woods, and by laughing and playing outside, we reconnect with our deep human past. We get wet and muddy. We sing songs, tell stories, and cook great food by a fire.

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Discovery is in our bones.

We revel in ancient wisdom.

Our ancestors came to this valley from many homelands. The Paleo-Indians, Cherokee, pioneers and immigrants each built a mixed legacy here, which we seek to uncover and understand. We celebrate their courage, their cultures, and essential humanity. We mourn their ignorance and seek to learn from their mistakes.

We discover.

When we walk the land, we learn about the world in a way rarely taught in schools. We search for lost caves. We look for mushrooms each color of the rainbow. We lift up rocks in the river and dunk our heads under water. We light a candle deep in an underground cave. We ask lots and lots of questions. We hunt, search, ask, and explore.

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Childhood is sacred.

Childhood is the first step in a life full of adventures, growth, and changes. Children deserve a place where they can experience the joy of living free of the cares and responsibilities that we must take on later in life. Children deserve an environment where adults of all ages can serve as mentors, guides, and friends, to help them meet life’s early challenges with courage.

When we choose to serve people in this stage of life, we learn many lessons. We learn that people have so much in common. We learn that getting along takes hard work. And most of all, we learn that life should be fun.

We seek the joy of being alive.

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