School Program Reflections

What do you get when you combine a group of students, a few educators, wintry weather, delicious food and a mission to nurture a sense of personal responsibility for the world around us?  You get a typical school trip to Camp Glen Brook!  Again and again, we at Glen Brook are gratified to watch people come together to play and work toward a common goal, and in the process, find a deeper connection to each other and their role in a healthy community. The question is how to create similar experiences in our own lives and communities and offer even more people meaningful community connections.

Meaningful work is one way to achieve the sense in each person that what they do and who they are matters in a deep way.  We can start at home and it will naturally cross into everything we do.  What do we mean by meaningful?  That will be understood when we are able to see how our actions directly affect things around us. It might not be obvious sometimes, so it’s important to offer insight and help each other understand how the action matters.

Start small if meaningful work is new to your lifestyle. A toddler’s art work can beautify a dinner table, a lower school student can write labels to help find things in a garage, a middle school student can collect all the trash for the household, a high school student can learn to find meaning in doing the household laundry!  Your lifestyle and living situation will dictate what is truly useful. It is when we understand that what we do matters and people benefit that we continue to be motivated to do these things and more!

Everyone, however they are abled, can make an important positive impact on their community. We are limited only by our imaginations. In our homes we have opportunities to contribute to learning, repairing, beautifying, preparing, communicating, and supporting, to name a few. Creating expectations for our children might include deciding together which important jobs they can fulfill, remembering to explain why these jobs matter and what happens if they are not done. One major challenge in sustaining these practices is the will power of the adult. It certainly might be easier to do certain things yourself, but the outcome will be a lost opportunity for your children to develop a work ethic.  The reward for such work can be gratitude. If we set up expectations to reward, then we aren’t doing the work for its own sake.

Of course, Glen Brook offers a Mission that it is guided by.  Why not come together with your family/community and create your own mission statement to guide you.  Feel free to borrow ours!


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