A lot happens during a day at RLC

RLC classes and one-on-one tutorials are offered on a variety of topics: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday between 9 and 3. On Fridays we schedule trips and workshops. RLC is closed on Wednesday. The schedule is a reflection of the interests of current teen members and the interests and expertise of our staff, and volunteers. In addition, we support teen members to lead classes for their peers. Rather than attempt to fulfill any particular curriculum, we ask our teachers to share the topics that excite them.

Everything we do at RLC, including our classes and one-on-one tutorials are optional and open to every member; most are scheduled for one hour per week, with the option to meet more often if needed or desired.

A Selection of Classes at RLC


with Lori McMahan. A 2-hour class held in the church kitchen where we make sweet and savory food items to be shared at Gathering! Instruction is provided in proper use of kitchen tools, safe food handling, planning a dinner party, following recipes, and various cooking techniques. And along the way, we share the cultural and ethnic background of the foods being prepared.

An all-group meeting to check in with the community, talk about any shared concerns or significant matters and plan for upcoming events and activities. All members are encouraged to attend.

with Greg Ogden. In this class we bring together instruments of all kinds to make music! No musical ability necessary.  We work on many aspects of music-making: how songs use lyrics, poetry and storytelling; learning chords, scales and rhythms; and sharing and discussion of music from many genres.

with MaryBeth Healy. Members work at their own pace on customized math lessons in one or more of the typical math subject areas: pre-algebra, algebra I, geometry, algebra II, etc. We use both online tools, such as Khan Academy, as well as textbooks to support our study. In class we discuss questions and problems as they arise for people in their individual studies.

with MaryBeth Healy. During this hour, the center is a quiet place conducive to independent study. Each member works on a study topic of their choice, for example work related to a class they are currently taking, a subject they are interested to explore more deeply or a hands-on project. In the process, we offer guidance in meaningful use of time toward exploring interests and moving toward goals.


with Greg Ogden. A study of the big ideas in life science: cellular processes, genetics and information transfer, feedback processes, communities, and evolution, including substantial opportunity for hands-on lab-type activities. Members are encouraged to identify a particular area of interest related to life sciences, through which they can expand their understandings.

with Joel Hammon. A discussion based class on various topics in the news. We attempt to provide some historical context to the events that happen and understand the larger societal forces at play in shaping events and the news coverage of events. Students are encouraged to stay current with recent events and bring items to discuss each week.

with Kara (RLC member). Come enjoy making art. We explore different topics from week to week, for example, drawing in perspective, photography, mixed media art, timed sketches. We invite guest artists to the class to share new techniques with us and lead us in creating art in many different styles and formats.

with MaryBeth Healy. This class gives participants a chance to learn about a wide range of professions and careers through conversations with local community members. We invite a successful member of the community to a weekly informal lunch conversation that covers what they do in their professional life, their educational background and the habits, routines and mindsets that they feel help them to be successful. Often these conversations lead to shadowing, volunteering or work opportunities for class participants.

with Harry Parker.  In this class, we start from the beginning to learn the basics of how computers are programmed. Using Scratch, the web-based visual programming environment developed at MIT Media Lab for middle and high school students, we explore concepts such as scripts, variables and definitions, inputs and outputs, incorporating media, and how to animate objects.

with Harry Parker. An advanced computer programming class where participants study C++, a general purpose, object-oriented programming language that runs on a wide variety of hardware platforms including Raspberry PI and Arduino–based boards. In this class, we combine instruction in programming techniques with hands-on projects that deepen our understanding of the concepts. Topics studied include control structures, arrays, functions, classes, objects, file handling, and simple algorithms for common tasks.


with Greg Ogden. In this class, we examine the classic problems in philosophy including the mind/body connection, the problem of free will, morals and ethics, personal identity and continuity, and logical paradoxes.

with MaryBeth Healy. In this class we use our everyday experiences of the world around us to focus our study of the fundamental principles and processes of the physical world. Topics include basic concepts of motion, forces, energy, heat, electricity, magnetism, and the structure of matter and the universe. We use hands-on lab activities, live demos, and online simulations to deepen our understanding of the concepts.

with Greg Ogden. In this class we explore making different pieces of art using different mediums and methods, such as calligraphy, block and stamp printing, paper-making, screen-printing, wood-burning, and puppet-making.

with Bob Flisser. Participants learn key concepts in creating websites. This is a project-based class where each person is working on creating their own website, and integrating the knowledge as they learn.  Topics covered include HTML programming, photo-editing, javascript and graphic design.

Friday – Trips and Workshops

Hunting salamander larva in a vernal pool.

At RLC we believe that getting out into the world should be part a young person’s education. With that in mind, we schedule trips to various locations on Fridays, such as museums, tours of restaurants, businesses, and farms, local artisans, and hikes in local natural areas. RLC members interested to lead a trip work with their mentor to plan and communicate about the outing.

We also use Fridays for Workshops. We invite local community members to join us for an hour, a morning, or all day to engage us all in learning something new.

At RLC we work with each teen member as an individual, building on strengths to create a meaningful and positive experience while also preparing for each person’s next steps. Teen members work closely with their mentors to determine their own ideal schedule, creating a combination of group classes and one-on-one tutoring sessions.

Many RLC members work individually with tutors to study a topic, where the tutor can tailor the study to that particular person’s needs.

The format of individual classes can vary significantly, depending on the vision of the leader as well as the input of the participants. Some classes will ask for and expect a considerable amount of work to happen outside of class time while others will be more limited. This is made clear in the class description and by the teacher and should be taken into consideration by the student deciding to join the group.

We encourage all RLC members to learn about and try as many classes as they can. Once a member decides to be a regular participant of a class, we expect commitment. There are no grades or punishments, but we expect class participants to communicate with the teacher regarding attendance and other issues and to fulfill any requirements such as readings, research, or other assignments.

Members may choose to participate in an early college program with their local community college or take on an internship, volunteer work, or paid work as part of their learning experience.

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Watercolor apples painted in Art class.