when Monday feels like a gift [Bear Brook State Park]


During education season we’ve had a reliable schedule. Monday is reserved for group SCA activities, Tuesday and Thursday are when The Early Birds (my team) teach, and on Wednesday and Friday we lesson plan. On Wednesday we’re also either on call (for facilities; read: chores), or we’re cooking. I like schedules, and I’ve come to appreciate the planning aspect of Monday.

Here’s how Monday usually goes: at nine o’clock in the morning, we all circle up outside for announcements. Then we all go to our Breath spots. Breath is a forty-five minute block of time to be by yourself in the spot of your choosing. During this time, you can mull over anything you want. It’s meant to bring intention to the week, and to observe the same spot, a meditation of sorts. Admittedly, I don’t always appreciate it, because I’d rather be in my warm, comfy, bed, but I end up going to my spot anyways. Sometimes you have to push yourself to do the things you know are good for you.


After Breath, we go into Personal and Mega-R.E.A.M. until lunch. No one is really sure what R.E.A.M. stands for (not even the staff), but it’s essentially a big cleaning session.  Personal is to clean up all your personal items that have made their way into the lodge and communal areas, while cabin groups do Mega R.E.A.M. With Mega, the office, dining hall, bathroom, kitchen, and vehicles all get cleaned, and one cabin group is assigned to each area. This also sets us up for the week in terms of chore duties.


We eat lunch after that, and then all thirty of us gather on or near the couches to begin our meeting. There’s a two-hour time block dedicated to meetings.. Sometimes they last that long, sometimes they don’t. It depends on how much people have to say. These meetings serve a dual purpose: they act as a check-in for everyone as well as a time to bring up any announcements, grievances and things we need to vote on. Basically, it’s a time to get things off people’s chest there and then so that any issues or complaints don’t become a problem later in the week. Next comes a state of facilities announcement. Following that is a group check in. It’s led by different people each week, and usually kicks off with a question, although I did a game when I acted as leader. The group notes upcoming things to vote on and discuss, there’s a recap of the meeting, and we pick our next meeting’s note-taker. That person will lead the  meeting in two weeks.

After the meeting is over, people sometimes use that time to meet up with their groups to do more lesson planning.

If you view Monday as an opportunity to set up your week, then you never have a manic Monday! (But I’d recommend the song–it’s great lodge cleaning music!)

a favorite downtime activity–crocheting!

This post is part of a series focused on Karlie’s ten-month conservation posting with Bear Brook State Park through The Student Conservation Association. It lasts from January 2018 and ends October 2018. During that time, she and her co-workers provide education outreach to local Manchester Schools, maintain worker facilities on state park land, and work to maintain trails and local animal habitats.

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