Tradition &

8th Grade Coming of Age Trip to Glen Brook

The story below comes from Camp Glen Brook Program Director Mark Stehlik, and was featured on the Camp Glen Brook website. To see the accompanying photo gallery, click here.

We had a tremendous week with the Waldorf School of Garden City’s 8th grade class, and it’s hard to believe the week is already over. This new trip, the first of this class’s two Glen Brook trips this year, is meant to strike a different tone: to explicitly acknowledge the fact that these students are stepping out of childhood and into adolescence, on their way to becoming more responsible and more independent in many ways.

The students participated in many activities to strengthen their will force, and to help appreciate the work that goes into some of the systems they benefit from while here. On our welcome hike the first day, we crossed over several bridges on the Glen Brook trails, each of which were built by previous class trips, and this week the stude nts had a chance to rip out and rebuild the oldest bridge on the property.  They had a chance to work on the farm to harvest, weed, and help feed and care for our pigs, chickens, and cattle. This week we served almost exclusively food grown and raised on our property, and they had a glimpse into the amount of work that takes. Everybody also got to split firewood, which will be heating the buildings and drying their clothes during their class trip in March.

The students spent time in the evening in small groups having intentional discussions with adults about who they are, and who they want to be, they spent a lot of their free time at the lake, during this warm sunny week, and they had the chance to hike and play a game with the Monadnock Waldorf School’s 8th grade, who they pen-palled and met with last year, and also made new friends with the Great Barrington Rudolph Steiner School’s 7th grade, who was here for part of the week on their camping trip.

Probably the most anticipated part of this trip was the solos. During their trip last fall, this class spent a few hours alone in the forest as a chance to be still, observe, and rest. This year, each student build a personal shelter, and stayed there for an entire afternoon, and through the night, while adults stayed out by a fire in the center of the spread out students. We were impressed and proud of how well they did, and no doubt they have stories to share of their pride, mosquitoes, noisy owls, and how different the forest feels when the sun sets.

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