Wow! The first day of Family Weekend is a tremendous whirlwind of activity launched by a Welcome Orientation with a motivational presentation. Parents even got to experience a bit of the unexpected challenges that a day at Ironwood brings by having to navigate the start of mud season! After the initial orientation, the day is set in motion with reunifications, smiles, laughs and yes, tears. All of the emotions you could imagine after not seeing your child for 12 weeks, or longer. After that, the families head off for a day of family therapy, experientials and some quality family time together.
These weekends are a great opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the significant effort and growth of the family throughout their Ironwood journey. All students are involved in a variety of activities here on campus that range from a facilitated creative writing, exercise, Ironwood centric Jeopardy, group therapy sessions and a large, picnic style lunch with slideshow photos to view!
This always leaves the question as to what happens to the new residents with whom the families are not able to participate in Family Weekend. Rest assured that our staff plan a good mix of activities, exploration and time to converse with peers and staff. Today gave them an opportunity to step up their effort of support by taking on all of the campus barn chores and spending lots of time with the Ironwood equine team. Some “soon to graduate” students spend extra time in school while others take the opportunity to Mentor residents at Frye and participate in Family Therapy group sessions. These students are paired with a staff who are excited to create adventures and unique opportunities to challenge and reward the residents not participating in the Family Weekend experiences.
While we are all making the most of these special moments here on campus, there are several family members not able to attend these weekends. This dynamic is a powerful reminder to be appreciative and intentional with the time we do have with those we care about…the most.