Weekends at Brewster (They’re Kind of a Big Deal!)

Weekends at Brewster (They’re Kind of a Big Deal!)
Suzanne Morrissey with Zoe Hausler ’24

At Brewster, where we live and learn together as a community, campus life doesn’t stop on Friday afternoons. Weekends are filled with a huge variety of activities, on and off campus, that students can choose from all school year (and some of them may surprise you!). 

Sure, students here can use their weekends to recharge, study, or sleep in. But how many times can you laze about in your jammies for 12 hours straight? (Don’t answer that!) In this story, we’re sharing just a sampling of the fun our Brewster students can get into on the weekends—and the thought that goes into the planning. 

First stop: Assistant Dean of Students Allie Cooper. Ms. Cooper has been involved in Student Life since 2010. She is the point person for weekend activities, and listens to students to get ideas for outings they’d really enjoy. “The main thing I try to do when planning weekend activities is think about what students would really find interesting and fun,” she says. “When I talk to the girls in my dorm, or to students out and about on campus, I love hearing what they’re into and trying to match that with activities we can create on campus or places we can visit. I consult kids to decide what to do, think about ways to bring the community together, with consideration to the time of year and what's trending.”


Each week, Ms. Cooper sends out a graphic showcasing the weekend’s options, and students can sign up or show up for whatever they like. Just some of the on-campus weekend offerings this year have included caramel apple making (sticky fun!), firepits with s’mores (smoky fun!), bracelet making (stylish fun!), beach parties at Brewster Beach (sandy fun!), and open time in the Climbing Barn and the Smith Center (sweaty fun!). Off campus, students have had the opportunity to go to the Fryeburg Fair in Maine, take a swing at Wolfeboro’s golf simulator, tackle a corn maze, hike one of many trails in our area, or catch a movie. And for those who crave a little fast-food break, there are weekend jaunts to IHOP, McDonald’s, and Chipotle. (Hey, we are not culinary snobs here at Brewster!) Shopping and dinner trips to North Conway, Kittery, and Rochester are always popular, as are afternoons at local orchards for apple picking. Weekends are also a chance for Brewster students to flex their performing arts muscles, with Coffee Houses and Karaoke Nights often on the weekend schedule. 


Delphine Tamborello ’23 says her two favorite weekend activities involve the lake: “I love jumping off the dock and into Lake Winnipesaukee in the Spring! The barbecue on Brewster Beach is always great and brings the community closer together.”

Other students count a walk into town with friends at the top of their weekend fun. “On the weekends I love going into town and to my favorite cafe, Lydia’s, with my friends,”  Elisha Grace King ’23 told us.


Ms. Cooper has a finger on what students need at different times of the year. For example, when prom is coming up, she knows that students may want to look for some dress and tux options a few weeks before they hit the dance floor. A weekend trip to a shopping hub will pop up. 

The Student Life team is also quite intentional about the activities they offer for our students’ down time. Cultural events and opportunities for worship are on the docket throughout the school year. As are activities that truly take advantage of our unique location in the Granite State. (There’s a reason this area has attracted visitors for hundreds of years!) With the Belknap and Ossipee ranges right on our doorstep, and many other peaks and trails within an easy hour’s drive, Brewster students often take advantage of the natural beauty of this place.


“New Hampshire, especially the Lakes Region, offers so many ways to connect with nature,” Ms. Cooper explains. “And it’s not just being able to get out on Lake Winnipesaukee—although that is a regular weekend activity for us. We also set up nature walks and beginner hikes alongside more challenging mountain adventures and ice climbing.” The Student Life team partners with our in-house outdoor experts and aficionados for many of these excursions, including Mr. Browher, Mr. Fouser, Mrs. Found, and Ms. Rafalowski. “It’s all about connecting with the area in which we live and go to school. Hiking, skiing, use of the water…we do it all!” Ms. Cooper adds. 

“On the weekends I go to the mountains and ski at Gunstock,” says Maverick Bennett ’25. “I like exploring new trails and meeting new people on the slopes.”


New Hampshire is also known for its role in national politics. With its first-in-the-nation primary status, this little state is traditionally seen as a litmus test for Presidential candidates. They cover the state thoroughly, and our students have often had the chance to hear the candidates speak and shake their hands at Wofleboro’s Town Hall, just steps from campus. It’s a unique experience not many high school students can claim.


James Reilly, Assistant Head of School for Student Life, explains why giving students options for their weekends is so important. “At Brewster we know our student body has many different interests and our Student Life Team works with our student leadership to offer a variety of options for all students to be engaged and connected during the weekends,” he says. “Although we can all use some time to rest, the ability to participate in purposefully planned activities provides our students with the opportunity to create common experiences. These activities and events  sustain our positive climate and culture within our student body. Boarding school is about the full experience, and our weekends provide a fun and positive environment for all students to have a chance to embrace all there is to do.”


With Brewster’s large international student population, weekend activities also serve another purpose: To help students from around the globe acclimate and experience aspects of American culture. Getting to travel to the University of New Hampshire, for example, and take in a college hockey game, is an experience that expands students’ view of American higher ed culture. “Our international students get to go to Portland, Maine to eat a Maine lobster and visit the ocean…and the Sandwich Fair is a huge hit in the fall,” Mr. Reilly says, adding that even staying on campus and being a superfan at the Prep Basketball games is a great truly American experience our students enjoy. 


Ms. Cooper shares that any activities where there is a significant number of our community members having fun together are her personal favorites. “We have a huge blow-out spring fest at the end of the spring term where I rent lots of bouncy houses and food trucks and create a long slip and slide for students,” she says. “I also really love any event that has to do with Winter Carnival, as it allows our students to really shine in all areas of their talents—creativity, leadership, athleticism. It's so fun and rewarding to watch.” 

It’s not just about filling students’ time on the weekends, Ms. Cooper explains: “It’s about giving them experiences to share with their friends—and meeting new people they may not already know from their teams or dorms. Those memories are going to stick with them long after they’ve left Brewster.” When alumni return for Reunion and reminisce about a waterfall hike they did at Castle in the Clouds with their classmates, or a Saturday they spent working on a community service project with local children that really lights them up, I know we’ve done our job.”

 


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