A sense of community was always carefully nurtured. Inclusiveness was encouraged, along with respect for others and their differences. We fostered a team approach to the tasks at hand and made sure students had input into decision making. We held regular group meetings to organize activities and deal with issues.
Group responsibilities such as grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and property maintenance were shared by all. Community projects were undertaken by all students. Making activity props for our Earthkeepers program, teaching new activities, designing t-shirts or working on the semester yearbook are examples.
Culture in any community evolves and it was no different for BCP. Environment and outdoor adventure were the original hooks that moulded the ethos and values of the BCP community, and both of these remained strong throughout our history, but in the end there was much more than that. Students experienced a sense of involvement and belonging to a group trying to make a difference in the world. For many, this new sense of belonging was being experienced for the first time outside family.
We took on nature names, at firstly to provide anonymity when working with kids, but these assumed names took over the identities of all of us, staff included. Even back in home schools these names often continued, which amongst other things, led to a bonding between students from different semesters. They became bonded in a shared experience, even when in different semesters or sites. We eventually began holding monthly, what we called, coffee houses at Sidrabene, our last site where, students from many semesters, came together for an evening of music, poetry and companionship.
We did become aware that at some schools the Creeker vets, became a bit of a clique, separating themselves from the rest of the school. We never thought that was healthy and considered dropping the nature names, but in the end they were too entrenched, and on the whole were more beneficial than not.