Gap at Glen Brook is a place-based gap program that nurtures your sense of purpose through community living and a personal connection with the natural world. We pursue inspiration, interdependence, and involvement on a year-round campus, forest, and farm.
Gap at Glen Brook’s Mission:
We believe that each of us must unleash our authentic identity, craft interdependent capacities, and develop our wholeness to face the complex challenges of our time.
How Do We Do That?
The program is delivered across three two-week “Phases” bookended by four week-long “Intensives.” Phases are times when the group is living on the Glen Brook campus, fully immersed in community activities while crafting skills for a hand-made life—farming, cooking, stewardship projects, and more. Intensives are periods when the cohort is all together and living out on the land, living and learning outdoors, and engaging in a “trip” component be it backpacking, canoeing, or camping.
Intensive I: Orientation
The first Intensive is an Orientation to our time together as a cohort: getting to know one another, setting intentions, and practicing rhythms and systems that allow our group of self-sustain. We make camp in our rustic hilltop cabin village, where we practice the ins and outs of living closely with the land.
Phase I: Foundations
During the first phases, gappers are building the foundations for community living. Gappers engage in a robust food studies orientation, learn about biodynamic agriculture while working on our farm and garden, and put their hands to woodworking and other practical arts. We get to know the folks who call Glen Brook home by participating in community gatherings and work periods. Gappers are getting to know what it’s like to live with their peers in a simple farmhouse, maintaining the space and cooking for themselves daily. All the while, gappers continue their inner work through regular writing and functional movement classes.
Intensive II: Expedition
For the second intensive, we travel off-campus on a canoe expedition on the border lakes of New Hampshire and Maine. Gappers have increased leadership in the planning and preparation for the intensive, as well as co-leadership opportunities each day of the trip. As a group, we paddle and portage through beautiful territory while at once exploring our own inner wilds.
Phase II: Choose Your Own Adventure
In this second phase, gappers create their own schedules, selecting from a catalog of offerings by the Glen Brook staff. We’ve done everything from philosophy class, to glass-blowing, garnet-hunting, bread-baking, and wood-milling—it depends on the semester! Gappers are also expected to sign up for “stewardship” slots, when they work alongside another community member in their food, farming, and/or facilities tasks. Well settled in now, gappers maintain rituals such as cooking for one another, keeping their home tidy, and participating in regular group programming.
Intensive III: Solo
By the third intensive, gappers are ready to live in close proximity with their natural environment: from our tent camp in the woods, gappers will build their own sleeping shelters from natural materials, preparing physically and psycho-spiritually for a 24- to 48-hour solo out on our wooded property. The departure is ceremonious, the experience is unique, and the return is surreal!
Phase III: Deep Dive
In the final phase, gappers engage in an independent, community-contributive project of their choosing. Gappers manage all of their own time, holding themselves accountable to regular benchmarks and preparing to present their project to the wider community. We’ve had a wide range of creative projects emerge from previous gappers—just ask if you’d like to hear some examples!
Intensive IV: Closing
To close the program, gappers embark on a final trip: a hyper-local backpacking expedition they plan, prepare, and lead entirely on their own. When we return from our trip, gappers will have the chance to share with others about their Deep Dive project and host a large-scale farm-to-table meal for the whole community.
Cost and Session Information
Rates and Dates:
Fall 2019: Saturday, September 7th - Sunday, November 24th (12 weeks)
Tuition covers all program expenses, including room, board, all activities, adjunct instructors, and expeditions.
3 Participant ReviewsWrite a Review
Our 19 year old son participated in Gap at Glen Brook in 2016, and the experience - from his point of view and ours - was overwhelmingly positive. The distance (we live in CA) and the length of the program concerned us at first, but that was a total non-issue. Having a roommate and living in a house with other teens - both first time experiences - again a non-issue. He and the other gappers fell right into the rhythm of the program. Glen Brook's five focus areas were embraced and enacted as part of the weekly flow of thoughtful and challenging activities. Amazing, really, how much was accomplished and how much confidence and independence our son gained. "Balance" is clearly an operative philosophy as experiences ranged from hiking to meditation to woodworking to world citizenship essays to 24 hour solo fire vigils to community cooking and cleaning. "Community", too, is obviously a byword at Glen Brook. Lots of talking things out, sharing life stories, and navigating the reality of 12 teens living together brought these students closer to each other as the semester progressed. We had the opportunity to visit Glen Brook before the program, and we and our son felt immediately comfortable and trusting in the program leaders, Jake and Alison. Under their leadership and modeling, our son came home a much more confident and expressive person and looks at the world in a much more mature way. We would highly recommend Glen Brook for families looking for an enriching and challenging gap year experience.
Gap at Glen Brook was a very unique and enriching experience. I'm so happy that I had the opportunity to participate in the program. The community is incredible and it really made me feel comfortable being myself around everybody. We were always encouraged to be productive and have fun. I feel that in my case, Glen Brook was a catalyst to help me grow as a person and really prepare for college and whatever may come next.
If I could pick anywhere in the world to go and spend a gap semester, I would choose Camp Glen Brook. Gap was a wonderful and valuable experience that left me feeling psyched for what the future holds. I loved every second of my time here and everyone I was around. Glen Brook's flourishing community of bright and caring individuals is part of what makes this time so special. The staff here have got your Back! You will certainly make lasting friendships. There is plenty of time to work on personal projects in between the regularly scheduled activities, but I suggest that you take every opportunity to go out and experience all that Gap has to offer you! Apple cider pressing, wood working, hiking the gorgeous mountain trails of New Hampshire, awesome reflective writing classes, fire vigils and movie nights are just some of the incredibly fun things to do here! I can't bare to think of how my fall semester would have been if I had not chosen to come to Gap at Glen Brook. If you're gonna go anywhere, this should be your first choice.
From the first day it felt like I was entering a supportive, open community
Here at Glen Brook I love that we start every day with yoga or meditation. It makes me feel relaxed and prepared for the upcoming activities.
Thank you for a truly amazing semester. I accomplished things I never thought I could have. Through your guidance and compassion I was able to gain a strength and confidence that I don't think I could have acquired without your help and support.
Gap at Glen Brook has taught me so freakin' much!