Location
  • United States of America
    • Marlborough
Length
4 - 26 weeks
Program Tags
Adventure Travel College Credit Conservation Hands-On Learning Internships Post-High School Social Justice Wilderness

Program Details

Activities
Backpacking Canoeing Farming
Timeframe
Fall
Housing
Apartment Guesthouse Tent
Primary Language
English
Age Min.
17
Age Max
21

Pricing

Starting Price
13800
Price Details
Tuition covers all program expenses, including room, board, all activities, adjunct instructors, and expeditions. We have an additional $1750 course fee for optional college credit.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Some Equipment Meals Park Fees Transportation
What's Included (Extra)

A beautiful farm ready to feed our Gappers, wilderness trip gear rental, shared bedrooms in a historic farmhouse.

What's Not Included
Airfare Some Equipment
What's Not Included (Extra)

There is an additional college credit fee.

Mar 12, 2024
Mar 24, 2024
16 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Gap at Glen Brook is a place-based semester program for 18-21 year-olds, nestled on a working farm in rural New England. Our eleven weeks of outdoor, experiential learning focus on developing practical skills to create sustainable lives and communities. Live with a close-knit cohort of peers, work on a sustainable farm, journey through wild places, learn to preserve the fall harvest, and dive into handcrafts like fiber arts and woodworking. Join us for our fall semester and learn by doing!

Participants can receive up to eight transferrable credits through our accreditation by the Gap Year Association (GYA).

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Learn to provide for your and your community’s needs by engaging with the daily and yearly rhythms of our sustainable working farm and with the care of the gardens and animals.
  • Experience connection with the natural world through wilderness trips and hands-on earth skills – canoeing, backpacking, foraging, natural history, and more.
  • Develop homesteading skills while practicing the crafts of food preservation, in-season cooking, forestry, carpentry, fiber arts, and beyond—helping us to harness and preserve the seasonal harvest.
  • Share space as a cohort of peers and practice skills that are crucial within an intentional community: self-governance, communication practices, and group processes.
  • Engage in self-inquiry—reflection and critical questioning of our stories and identities within our lives, our community, and our society; not in a vacuum, but alongside work and learning.

Popular Programs

Harvesting tomatoes in early fall.

Spend the fall building relationships with new friends, with the land and with your own values, feelings and purpose. Dig deeper on the farm, in the woodshop and the kitchen. Build comfort in the outdoors camping, backpacking and canoeing. Take part in ongoing workshops exploring personal identity, impact on the natural world and the challenges of our times.

Program Dates

Application Deadline
Program Dates
-

Program Reviews

4.88 Rating
based on 16 reviews
  • 5 rating 87.5%
  • 4 rating 12.5%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Housing 4.9
  • Support 4.7
  • Fun 4.85
  • Value 4.9
  • Safety 4.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 16 reviews
Default avatar
Tal
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Really special program-- intentional community, outdoors, no prior knowledge or experience required-- just openess to learn and try!

TLDR: I loved this program. I left with such a sense of peace and confidence in myself that I didn't have when I arrived, and it impacted my choices and how I carried myself after I left, even to now. Spending the majority of the time outside and connecting with the land and engaging with so many elements of the natural world, within a guided cohort with mentorship, with plenty of time, was a unique and special opportunity, and I am so glad I took it.
For context, I was 20/21 when I was at Glen brook, and did the program during my "gap year" that I took in the middle of college. I was the oldest person in my cohort. I expected this to be the case--- however within my cohort, there was also another person who was 19 or 20 who had done some college/ life after high school, so I was not the only one. I was worried that my age would be big factor but it didn't feel like a big deal most of the time while I was there. being in a non-school setting definitely takes away the sense of difference between people based on their ages. Definitely was evident who was more prepared to live communally and away from home, but mostly everyone adapted and learned how to do that.
I had never been backpacking or spent time on a farm before this program, and I felt comfortable with the level of rigor and challenge that this program offered. Our program leaders did a great job preparing us for our trips, down to details like teaching us how to pack our backpacks so the weight would be distributed in the most comfortable way and we would be able to access the supplies we would need throughout the day. I also appreciated that the main elements of the program were primarily led by women and nonbinary people. Something we talked about explicitly was the difference between their approaches to leading outdoor trips compared to the approaches of men outdoor leaders whom they had had experiences with. We followed the "challenge by choice" framework. Our leaders also made hiking a non-competitive activity-- taking breaks was okay and welcome, and we were all able to go at our own pace (as long as we were in a reasonable distance or with a leader, which was very possible). For people who had more hiking and backpacking experience, they could hike faster and contribute in ways such as reading the maps, looking for blazes on the trail, and carrying more communal gear in their packs. Other folks contributed to trips by planning and packing the food, making sure all of the tents had all of their pieces, finding firewood when we got to our campsites, and filtering water. We were given more support and guidance at the beginning of the program and slowly got more autonomy to plan things ourselves and be responsible for trip packing and planning (as one example of increased independence).
Gappers will learn to work with each other and be accommodating of each others' needs, especially when living together and cooking meals for each other. We assigned a meal cooking schedule that would work with everyone's energy needs/strengths, and worked around any personal appointments that folks had. We thought through how to design meals that included food that everyone liked and could eat, being cognizant of allergies and preferences.
Amazing amazing part was working on the farm and in the field. There is now a new farm director who was not in the position during my program, so I cannot speak to the experience under his leadership, but I can say that my experience in the farming area was amazing. I loved learning about how the crop field was planned out, all of the decisions to be made, each stage of harvesting and weeding and planting we participated in. We got to learn so much by doing, and ask so many questions just as we were weeding or doing our work.
ALSO, we got to eat SO much fresh produce from the farm and it was absolutely delicious. we ate really well at Glen Brook! And I gained so much appreciation for farmers and freshly harvested in season produce.
The other staff at Glen Brook are so kind and welcoming, and it was fun to get to know them too. Each of these people taught us so many cool skills, like darning, forging, woodwork, songs, cooking, needle-felting, foraging, etc.
If you have an inkling that you love the outdoors and haven't gotten to explore much, or you already know that you love nature and have engaged in outdoor programs before, GB could be a great place for you. This is a program that is pretty scaffolded with significant support from program leaders. You will be working and living with all of your fellow gappers-- be prepared to navigate that and be open to new people. Program leaders will support your cohort through creating communication systems that will work for your group, and it is up to the participants to put in what they want to get out of it. Most of your time at GB will be spent onsite. You will have the opportunity to go to Keene and other towns on the weekend, and you will visit the places that trips take place (with maybe a few other places, depending on the structure of the program and any changes that have been made since my year!).
If this sounds interesting to you, reach out to the director of the program, Tori to just talk. She is amazing and was the reason I trusted this enough to go for it. Tori modeled for me that you can take many paths in life, try a lot of things, seek meaning and community, and through all of this build a really great life. I had been around a lot of conventional people and needed to get to know someone who took "alternative" paths, and I definitely felt that I got that mentorship while I was there.

ALSO: learned so much info about nature like tracking, types of trees, how plants work, how fire works, what wood is good for what types of fire, reading the woods, sustainable agriculture.

What was your funniest moment?
One morning in the Hill House, the house where gappers live together for most of the program, I was sitting at the long rectangular table eating breakfast with 3 of my fellow gappers. We had to be somewhere at 8am (or maybe 9) and it was about 7:55 (or 8:55). Three of us knew generally what time it was, and were working on finishing our breakfasts. Our 4th friend's watch alarm suddenly beeped. "THREE MINUTES!!" they shouted and bolted up from their seat on the bench next to me against the wall. "THREE MINUTES!" They exclaimed as the attempted to get out of the table "booth" to get to the door. However, in the process, they basically tried to go through our friend who was sitting in a chair at there head of the table. For some reason this struck us all as so absolutely hilarious and we all broke down laughing. Although this might not come across as especially funny (it definitely is a "you had to be there" kind of story), this exemplifies that so many of the funniest, enjoyable moments happened in kind of silly, small situations due to our close proximity and the way that living together lets you get to know others intimately.
There were plenty of other funny moments too-- definitely some while backpacking and being on the trail, during our time working on the farm, cooking meals together in the kitchen, dealing with odd and silly situations with animals and dirt and things that most of us were not so familiar with before this experience, in the car to get to our trips, etc.
We spent a lot of time laughing during the program!
Pros
  • hands-on learning (if school learning is hard for you or you need a break, this program is a fantastic thing to do)
  • outside all the time!
  • supportive, intentional community-building, gives participants guidance and also autonomy to create an authentic community and systems for the group
Cons
  • A lot of my main issues (which were relatively small within the larger experience I had) were specific to the situation of my year and probably not continous issues
  • you definitely need to be aware of your own needs and limits to make sure you get enough down time to rest, because it is quite busy and especially when you enjoy hanging out with people, it is easy to forget to rest and focus on yourself for a bit.
24 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Solana
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Everything I needed it to be

Glen Brook completely blew my expectations out of the water. I became so much more calm and confident through this program. I loved my cohort so much, and I learned a lot just by living alongside them. I felt like I learned about my place in the natural world, as well as communities of people. The community was rural, but I really liked it- it made me learn to appreciate things just as they are. I got a lot better at cooking, both alone and with others, during my time cooking for my community at Glen Brook. The large amount of time we spent outside also had a very positive effect on me. I'm truly so happy that I chose Glen Brook for my gap year.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I didn't bring my phone, and I didn't regret it once. I'd advise others to follow in my footsteps, especially if you are addicted to technology, have been addicted to technology, or dislike the effect technology has on your life.
Pros
  • Access to nature
  • Calm environment for study
  • Kind people
Cons
  • Not many POC in program in my experience
35 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Ava
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

A Crazy Fun Semester

I was super nervous about spending my fall in New Hampshire, mainly because coming form LA I have never experienced a real cold season. Luckily it was incredibly worth it even if I got a little cold.

At Gap and Glen Brook I went on so many amazing and challenging trips, from Canoeing in Maine, to days of hiking the MSG. I learned so much about life on the farm and outdoor leadership. I was expecting many aspects to be less impactful because I went on a gap program in the middle of the Corona virus pandemic, but that was not so. I was able to create an amazing experience with some amazing people.

Life with my cohort was the highlight of the program for me, there were 13 from all over America, we got a chance to build incredible bonds over the three months and make some crazy memories together. Living in falcon camp together and moving to the warm hill-house felt incredibly rewarding, I got to live with the most amazing roommates.

I got sold on this program by reading the reviews on this website, so I hope to inspire others to do the same.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
But also things I wish someone had told me:
Bring plenty of warm clothes, long underwear really came in clutch, but also fun outfits for group activities.
Organize dance parties, music nights, and baking nights they are a blast.
Think of it like a college dorm, bring posters, pictures, fairy lights, anything you want to decorate with for when you live in the hill-house.
Prepare for a diet change, you’ll most likely be eating lots of vegetables from the garden.
Some people will probably leave the program early, it happens.
Take lots of pictures, but try to not use your phone often, there are so many other rewarding activities to do.
133 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Ethan
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Lo and Behold! A place to find yourself

It is the perfect place to escape from the clamor and congestion of the fast-paced, technological, material lifestyle. Although guided by many knowledgeable and down-to-earth staff members, it is YOU who decides how to use your time. Pushing your limits is a must! It is beneficial in order to know yourself better, and what better way to find that answer than meditating amongst beautiful nature. Make the most of your time here, it is a valuable gem. It is important to try living simplistically midst the plentiful world.

126 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Lilly
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Gap At Glen Brook

My experience as a part of Glen Brook's 2019 fall semester cohort was a truly life-changing one, it is a safe place for all young people, whether you are looking to take some time to venture into the world before starting college, looking for direction in your next step of life, or just want to experience nature and grow your understanding of yourself in relation to the rest of the earth. It is a fantastic environment to grow, adventure, and get out of your comfort zone while also learning valuable life skills such as communication and community building, as well as cooking, gardening/farming, time management, planning skills, and so much more. It wasn't easy, this program pushed to think differently and challenged me mentally, emotionally, and physically in a way I hadn't experienced in a very long time, but it's because of those struggles that I left Glen Brook happier and more self-confident than ever. I spent my semester experiencing beautiful New England fall foliage, exploring nearby towns and farmers markets on weekends, and making life long friends and connections.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I think that the scariest part of starting anything new is just starting, walking into Glen Brook that first day by myself, it didn't matter how much I had read about it or how much I had prepared myself, it was still a big unknown and you just have to jump in anyways. Only after you do it will you realize there are people to catch you, and everyone else is nervous too, but you're all in it together, and knowing you aren't alone makes everything less scary.
122 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Jack
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Glen Brook, and why it works

Glen Brook was great because what it does, is help you find yourself. That may sound cliché, but it's 100% true. It helped me to figure out what was happening in my life, what was going wrong, and what the ways were that best for me to use to fix things. I came from three lackluster semesters of college, not sure what to do with my life and where to go, to finding all the right tools to use to help myself keep moving forward. I learned about myself, and a I learned so much about the people around me as well, and how really, we're not all different as one might think.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I'd make sure the phones have much less of a presence. I don't know if I'd go for outlawing them, but make sure they're much more regulated.
138 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Bella
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

My Gap at Glen Brook Experience

It is often times difficult for me to express how much I adore Glen Brook. I've been spending the past 8 summers there as a camper and CIT and it's a place I now consider my second home. This organic farm overlooking Mt. Monadnock is truly beautiful and filled with the most intelligent, kind hearted and mindful individuals that I'm grateful I've gotten to know and learn from. The lessons I had learned and the ways in which I had grown were already abundant from spending each summer there yet the gap program helped me grow in a new way. The connection I had with the Earth around me became even deeper and the ways in which I matured were pronounced. Stepping into an environment with little to no technology and distractive media truly helped me reflect on the world in which I inhabit. Learning to plant, grow and harvest our own vegetables to then directly cook for dinner with the other gapers gave me an immense amount of gratitude like no other. Similarly, using the wood from a fallen tree to carve a spoon instilled that same idea. It inspired a sense of personal responsibility as an individual living on this planet to act as I can to leave a positive footprint. Not to mention, this program has a wonderful balance of outdoor adventure trips, workshops, apprenticeships and meaningful activities. I learned an abundance of new skills, like cooking new dishes and creating a one match fire, as well as had the experience of living in a house with 10 other gapers. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to attend Gap at Glen Brook!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
As we paddled along the Moose River in Maine on our 5 day canoe trip, we often joked about seeing a moose as the name implied. After a few days, and no sighting of a moose, our hopefulness of seeing one was dulled. However, as we began our journey home on the bus, we saw not one but two moose! It was an exciting end to a challenging yet beautiful trip.
127 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Dan
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Gap at Glen Brook

Gap at Glen Brook was the best three months of my life so far. It included lots of new experiences, like sleeping in a tent, talking (and singing) about Warhammer 40,000, and playing Dungeons and Dragons, and also new skills, such as baking bread, building fires, and making a canoe paddle.
The most important part of Gap at Glen Brook for me, however, was the introspection, the time spent talking about what kind of people we were, whether AIs should take over the world (they will eventually, so we might as well make sure they're good AIs), and what our fundamental moral values are. I'd highly recommend Gap at Glen Brook for anyone interested in both personal growth and understanding themselves better.

138 people found this review helpful.

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