75 Summers and Counting!

A sunset over the camp grounds and forest.

Since 1946, Glen Brook has been a place where people come to meet the best version of themselves, and feel inspired to make the world a better place.  We are thrilled to have our 75th summer this year, and to celebrate our community coming together after an incredibly challenging year of spending so much time apart.  As we celebrate this landmark, we take the opportunity to review the past and look toward the future.

For 75 summers of Camp, and nearly 50 years of school and year-round programs, Glen Brook has welcomed campers, staff, students, gappers, and visitors to join in relationship with each other and the natural world.  Thousands of people have come here and fallen in love with the values of a vibrant community, the timeless pleasures of exploration and discovery outdoors, and the work and joys of farming, crafting, and learning new skills.

It is impossible to know the impact that 75 years of people experiencing Glen Brook programs has had on our world. Every day I hear a new story of the way somebody’s life was changed at Glen Brook. In the past month alone I’ve heard from:

  • Environmental leaders whose values of stewardship began with the forests and fields here
  • Parents who learned their family’s favorite songs and stories around the granite ring
  • Chefs who learned the importance of wholesome food and eating together in the dining hall
  • Teachers who work to model values their counselors taught them at a young age
  • Vets whose care for animals started on our farm
  • Adults who celebrate and embrace who they are because they felt valued and appreciated for the first time while at Glen Brook

In so many ways, the Glen Brook spirit affects not only former campers and students, but their children, patients, students, friends and others whose lives they impact in their own work and play. 

As we look toward the future and the next 75 years, Glen Brook will continue to remain unchanged at its core, while continuing to grow in healthy and essential ways. Two places where we have already been doing great work, but want to redouble our efforts are:

  • Energy Sustainability: become carbon negative, and increasingly a model for how to live a joyous and sustainable life
  • Improved Access to our Programs: Continue to improve outreach and funding to welcome an even more diverse camper population

We take responsibility for our environmental impact in many ways; by raising much of our food, and sourcing the rest locally and organically; insulating our buildings; adding energy efficient stoves, lights, and utilities; by reducing our consumption and trash; by harvesting our own wood and using local wood pellets for heat and building materials; and by supporting the natural growth of our forest and its myriad benefits. The next step toward our goal of an overall positive environmental impact is eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels. We hope to install a solar field that would produce all of our electricity carbon free.  A solar field will serve as an educational opportunity for those who come here to learn about the technology and simplicity of solar energy, and the ways that renewable energy can be scaled for household applications.

As our camp and programs have grown and flourished, tuition has increased with the cost of doing business. Our Campership Fund, supported by many generous members of our community, enables the summer camp experience of many campers each summer who would otherwise not be able to attend. Glen Brook was founded by William Harrer, a teacher who wanted children to have access to an experience unlike any they would otherwise have. We aim to build on his vision and legacy by increasing the available Campership funding to make it possible for any family who wishes to send their child to Glen Brook to do so. Alongside that, it’s essential to expand access to our programs by reaching out to families who might otherwise not find Glen Brook or believe that a summer camp experience is possible for their children, to sponsor those campers to come to a life-changing summer.

The brightest future of our planet and society depends on our children today having the experience of living in a sustainable, generative community where people from widely divergent backgrounds, races, classes, and creeds thrive and learn together. These initiatives will need the support of the community, and will ensure that Glen Brook’s impact continues to enrich the lives of campers, and as those campers grow into teachers, leaders, parents, chefs, vets and myriad compassionate adults of all whose world has been bettered by their time at Glen Brook. We seek to do this so that they will, in turn, know how to and be excited to leave the world better for their children.

-Mark Stehlik, Executive Director

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