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Gap at Glen Brook

Why choose Gap at Glen Brook?

Gap at Glen Brook empowers young adults to create sustainable lives and resilient communities. We work toward this mission through place-based, experiential learning rooted in sustainable farming, homesteading skills, nature connection, intentional community, and self-inquiry. We offer an 11-week fall semester program at our year-round farm and outdoor education center, a 250-acre farm and forest property in the heart of southern New Hampshire.



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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!
  • 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
  • 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.
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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.
  • Access to nature
  • Calm environment for study
  • Kind people
  • Not many POC in program in my experience
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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.
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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.

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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.


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I choose Gap at Glenbrook because I wanted to do something unique for my Gap semester. I knew that I wanted to do a gap that would be both exciting and learning intensive. I did not want to be one of those people who doesn't do anything with their semester or even year. I knew that, if I was going to do a gap, I wanted to do something where I would be able to learn in a "non-traditional" way.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Gap at Glenbrook assisted me by making the interview process very easy. The process begins with an online form that makes you really question the "why" of your Gap. Further, they give a list of everything you will need during your gap with them at Glenbrook. The only thing you really have to do on your own, is prepare yourself and head over to Glenbrook.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

The one piece I would give to anyone going into Gap at Glenbrook is to keep your mind totally open and try everything that Glenbrook offers. The people at Glenbrook are great and will absolutely push everyone to give their best everyday, but no one will make you do anything you don't want to do. If you keep an open mind, and do as much as you can during your time at Glenbrook, I promise that you will get everything out of it that you can.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

The program evolves during the time that you are at Glenbrook, but for the most part your day is spent outside. Glenbrook follows what they term the "low-tech" diet, which is extraordinarily refreshing considering we live in a world of constant technological stimulation. The day is spent going to workshops, Socratic seminars, helping out on the farm, and enjoying the New Hampshire wilderness. The weekend is more on the Gappers, and many weekends we went into the neighboring town of Keene to watch a movie, get some food, or visit the shops.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

While Gap at Glenbrook is a domestic program, I did have some fears going into Glenbrook that are completely natural. It is always hard meeting an entirely new group of people but the staff and the opening programs make it very easy to bond with the fellow Gappers. I was able to meet so many varied people from all over the world, and make real lasting friendships. Overcoming the fear of meeting new people is what really helped when everyone lives together and works together. It certainly helps form tight bonds between everyone.

What singular experience had the greatest impact on you?

Near the end of Gap at Glenbrook, the Gappers choose their own "Deep Dive", which is essentially a project that gives back to the Glenbrook community, and leaves our mark on the land. Me and 3 other Gappers embarked on expanding a field for cattle, and building a fence with the felled trees. During the course of 2 weeks, we felled 333 trees using only axes and saws, and using a technique showed to us by a friend of ours and Glenbrook, and created a brush fence 475 feet in length. I learned that with the proper tools, mindset, and hard work, your goals are within reach. Yeah, it sounds cheesy, but because of this idea we did something none of us could have imagined doing mere weeks before we actually did it.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Alison Sever

Job Title
Former Co-Director
Alison came to Glen Brook after several years of running back-to-back international trips with high school and gap students in Latin America and East Africa. She grew up enjoying the outdoors of New England in canoes, in hiking boots, and on backcountry skis.

What is your favorite travel memory?

This is a hard question! High on my list are jamming on the Malecón in Havana, Cuba; bringing my own family to my Tanzanian host family's home on Christmas Day; or watching, in silence, two volcanoes erupt in front of the sunrise in Guatemala.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Arriving at Glen Brook has enabled me to live the rooted lifestyle I was missing in travel. I love being able to wake up in the morning and go for a long walk in the woods, to really get to know our piece of property, and to be free from the constant coming-and-going mindset of travel. I feel fortunate to live in such a beautiful place!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Our organization is embedded within the greater community of Camp Glen Brook, which is an organization deeply rooted in tradition (they've been around since the 1940s!) and currently host to some incredible and multitalented individuals.

We all care about the well-being of our community, so as a practice, we come together to play games, or to work on projects like clearing brush or wood-stacking for the winter.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe that communication from the heart and an openness to creative ideas are both essential qualities in a successful company.

Professional Associations

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