Winter Camp Reflections

Continuing the tradition that Daphne Braden began in 2006, we at Glen Brook are fortunate to have several Bates College students here as counselors for our Winter Camp. Bates has the same winter week break as Winter Camp, and this connection has brought us two of our current year-round staff: Mark Stehlik and Jake Lewis!

Kylie Martin, graduating from Bates this year, brought three other Batesies with her for Winter Camp. She reflects on what makes Glen Brook so special:

The author, Kylie Martin

The author, Kylie Martin

My name is Kylie! I’m a counselor at Glen Brook’s 2019 Winter Camp, returning after a wonderful six weeks of counseling during Summer Camp of 2018. 

This year I come back with a great appreciation for the Monadnock regional landscape, and for camp culture. The Glen Brook community creates feelings of peace, reflection, and communal love. Its values teach the significance of togetherness, play, and hard work. I know that each time I come back I am greeted by people whose sense of the world and sense of self is built entirely on love — love for our holistic community, made of the earth and all its inhabitants. 

This year I am a senior at Bates College. I am graduating with a degree in English and certification to teach English at the public secondary level. I am driven strongly by my passion for education as it feeds much of my world view. I believe in teaching that finds power in human differences, that does not discriminate based on race, age, socioeconomic background, sexuality, or gender identity, and that is confident in the inherent potential of every human being. I come to Camp Glen Brook because its ways echo my approach to education and humanity generally. During a single day at Glen Brook, one sees children playing with the uninhibited, authentic energy of youth, staff members who are kind to their campers and their coworkers, and people of all ages and backgrounds working hard to keep tidy and sustain their living environments (both inside and outside).

Stargazing under a rising moon.

Stargazing under a rising moon.

The rhythm of winter camp is quite similar to that of summer camp. We begin the day with camp-wide farm-to-table breakfast. A group of campers sets the tables and serves the food, and another tends to cleaning chores when the meal finishes. (Lunch and dinner are the same.) The day continues with various activities that may be calm or lively. Much of it is spent outside. We may sled, ice skate, walk in the woods, or ski. If campers have inside time, they may play board games, play cards, create art, read, or engage in any other form of quiet. The day concludes with all adults and children participating in evening singing and an evening activity. Regardless of where campers are or who they are with, they find harmony and camaraderie in their environment. I love each morning, afternoon, and night because of the various opportunities for human connection, calm, and free-spirited play. 

In a society that continually relies on technology, it is often hard to feel centered. Another reason I treasure Glen Brook is because it offers solace from the stress of screens. Campers, counselors, and administrative staff alike do not use devices while engaging in daily activity. Clocks hardly exist at Glen Brook. Campers rely on the schedule, administered by their counselors, to pass the day. This results in authentic interaction and the incredible liberation of truly being in the moment. 

In sum, I return to Glen Brook because I believe in its values and its practice. I love the landscape and the people. This year, I bring with me three other Bates students to enjoy the splendor. They remark often about the uniqueness of this place and the privilege it is to come here. Of course, Glen Brook welcomes them with the love it offers everyone. I am so thankful!