Ironwood Maine Web Update

From the day students arrive on campus through the day they leave, there are two consistent expectations; to be respectful, and to engage.

It is always a treat to see the unique characteristics of our students in their individual strengths, interest, and abilities. Within the intricately designed weekly schedule, we find ways to incorporate a variety of activities in an effort to peak interest, curiosity, and passion. This week, not unusually, was filled with an abundance of creative and intriguing events.

To start the weekend off excitingly and to officially welcome the consistent warm weather, we had a huge field day in what we call “Spring Fling”. The entire campus came together to participate in a gauntlet of activities lead by a variety of staff members. Teachers, therapist and behavior staff all took turns overseeing stations of fun in which groups of students rotated through. The groups were intentionally split to include members of both the Farmhouse and Frye campus to build some cross-campus rapport as well as to create some leadership and role-modeling opportunities.

There was a boat building station with a random assortment of materials used to construct a make-shift boat. The engineering and construction was then put to the test at the pond where each boat had to successful float across the body of water. A tie-die station allowed for our artist and fashionistas to mix and match colors and designs to create their handmade shirt. There was an obstacle course to intrigue our competitive athletes in a timed event of running, throwing, and climbing their way to the finish line. For our crafters, there was a station of birdhouse painting and sculpture making to be placed in the garden to ward off in unwanted intruders. There was even a barn group that challenged students to convince a horse to walk backwards!

All of our students thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to engage with the whole campus in these creative activities, but perhaps the most distinguishable feat of engagement was our talent show. After a cookout and huge group meal around a fire, students were given the opportunity to perform at this years first Ironwood Talent Show! We had performers sign up to Sing, interpretive dance, play guitar, tell jokes, impressive corn-toss,and beatbox. It was impossible to crown a Talent-show winner as each proved to be so unique.

Later in the week, each campus had the opportunity to get out of the classroom and participate in a few place based science lessons. A trip to the planetarium offered a change in perception of our students and the world around them. Several individuals remarked how small they felt after learning more about the universe and stars. A few exclaimed their interest in wanting to work for NASA in the future. (I think we’ve all been there at least once) During another example, students learned about a frog’s life cycle. They took a trip to a local water source to observe wildlife in its different stages of life in its natural habitat. There was also plans to collect some tadpoles and watch the transformation take place back at campus, but I think all that was captured was a few leaches.

While our residents may not leave Ironwood as experts in any particular field, they certainly have plenty of opportunities to gain new skills and try new things. From natural science, yoga, camping, singing in front of a crowd or gardening, every single student is able to engage in at least one activity that is new for them. We can all set goals for ourselves and the people we love. And we can do our best to support those goals. But, the most we should really expect and strive for, is that we are engaged and giving this life our best try.

Thank you for putting your trust in Ironwood and we hope you have a great weekend!