University of Minnesota
Philosophy Camp
myU OneStop

A Typical Day (Monday through Saturday)

Be sure to browse the photo galleries and movie page to get a look at some of the activities you'll experience.

Early morning: Some students are early risers and use the time to read, write, work out, run, or walk before breakfast. Others sleep as late as possible and catch a bite before the first group meeting.

Breakfast: A serve-yourself breakfast is available between 7 and 9 a.m. Those who are up early (often the instructors) make coffee, heat water for tea, and put out an assortment of foods including fruits, juice, bread, granola, yogurt, milk/soy milk, and peanut butter and jelly. Students are welcome to prepare eggs, oatmeal, or other foods on their own.

Large Group Circles: Students and instructors gather from 9:00 to approximately noon for the formal part of the day. We start with an acknowledgement circle; everyone has an opportunity to acknowledge positive experiences and to thank those who made them possible. Daily announcements are followed by a 5 minute break. We reconvene for either a learning circle or a community meeting.

Learning Circles take place in a space of trust and safety created and held by the instructors and students. The circle starts with a question; students and instructors are asked to share a story from their own experience. For example, "Dig back into your experience and think of a friendship that was important to you." Each person decides what and how much to share in the circle. Participants listen to each story without interrupting, saving comments and questions for later. Conversations begun in learning circles continue naturally and informally throughout the course. Learning circles work because all members contribute valuable knowledge and perspectives to the community. Learning happens with others.

At community meetings participants plan activities and explore topics of relevance to the community and its practices. The community meeting creates an atmosphere of safety and trust in which issues can be explored and decisions can be made. Examples of activities that have been planned include field trips, course celebrations, and provisions for guests and visitors. Topics for discussion have included late night noise and lights, group meals, dietary concerns, and alcohol use. Sometimes tensions and conflicts emerge. The instructors work with students to discover healthy ways to express and address issues within the community.

Lunch: The team that prepared dinner the night before is in charge of preparing a lunch the following day. Lunch is served buffet style and consists of dinner leftovers plus fruit, vegetables, salad or sandwiches, and other items as needed to round out the meal. Everyone eats together.

Afternoon: After the cooking team puts away leftovers and the cleaning group finishes dishes and clean up, students and instructors usually have the afternoon to themselves. We make our own fun: working on projects, reading, making music, going on grocery runs, organizing field trips, and taking naps. Student-instructor meetings may be scheduled during this time.

100 Languages: Twice a week from 4:30-6:00 p.m., the team that does not have meal duties meets in the studio with a small group of instructors and apprentice instructors to reflect on the course over the past few days. This time is set apart to opening awareness of the many modes of experience and expression, that have occurred and been espressed. Sometimes photos, images, stories, projects, or metaphors are created that produce "trails" of experience. As students turn their thoughts to what is next for them in the course, ideas or an intention may emerge in a way that guides or shapes their actions and interactions until the group meets again. Each group meets twice a week.

Dinner: A new cooking team's rotation starts with the evening meal. The team gathers in the kitchen about 4:30 to start preparing and cooking food. Menus are planned by the cooking teams and are often vegetarian or vegan with meat and dairy options. A Shalom Hill Farm staff member will assist student cooking teams in planning menus, locating locally grown meats, dairy, and produce, creating shopping lists that stay within the course's modest food budget, and using safe food practices in the kitchen. While one team cooks, another team sets tables, then washes dishes, and cleans up.

Evening: This is generally time available for making our own fun. Students and instructors have organized movie nights, group poetry readings, readings of favorite children's bedtime stories, and workshops on topics of interest. This is also time for working on documentation projects like posting photos or blogs on the Web site. Students occasionally plan a trip into town, carpooling to include all who want to join.

Sunday: No group activities are scheduled by the instructors on Sunday. Students are welcome to attend church services in the area. Brunch and dinner menus are planned and cooked by volunteers. The kitchen is open for snacks throughout the day.