Ironwood Maine Web Update

“The interaction of many minds is usually more illuminating than the intuition of one.”

Theodore C. Sorenson

Recently at Ironwood we have experienced a drastic change in weather and color of the leaves. Similarly, our group dynamics are also rapidly changing. With the increase of student promotions to the Farmhouse, residents have been able to exhibit a great deal of flexibility and teamwork with both staff and peers. As you can imagine with a boys group of 15, we have quickly had to demonstrate our communications skills to work effectively as a team. 

This week, students all over campus have been enjoying the crisp cool fall weather before our Maine winter hits. On Sunday morning, we were able to hike up and beyond the Sunnyside Cemetery just off campus in the Frye Mountain Wildlife Management area and enjoyed an afternoon picnic. Later in the day, we were able to play a classic field game of “tug-o-war” between the Farmhouse and Frye campuses. I was glad that we were able to combine campuses and interact with many students that I had not yet met.  

In this week’s experiential group, we discussed themes that we see in the group. We each wrote a struggle and success of the group on a slip of paper, crumpled it up and threw it in a pile. Then we all picked out a random paper and discussed common themes. When we discussed the successes almost everyone agreed that we are doing exceptional with efficiency and teamwork during chores. This is no easy feat with the amount of work that we have and our large group. It is clear that we have all committed to contribute to this daily responsibility. We found that a focus point for us is situational awareness. With such a large group, it is easy to create a lot of noise and moving parts. I hope we can internalize the value of higher awareness and apply it to our community for the better. 

Every Wednesday a meeting is held for residents at the Farmhouse. This “House Meeting” is a non judgement place for staff and peer feedback and general housekeeping announcements. This is also where most promotions happen. This week we welcomed a new farmhouse boy and two returning Farmhouse residents. We also had a promotion to level 4! These are some of the most exciting moments and greatest opportunities for growth in one’s programs. I am always grateful to share these types of experiences with my peers and I am inspired by all of their hard work and perseverance. 

Change is difficult for many people. It is an alteration of the world as we know it and it never happens without challenges and inconveniences. Change can be sudden and very hard to adapt to. I initially thought that the size of our group would cause issues, however that hasn’t been the case. I am inspired by how residents have embraced all the changes and reaped the rewards that change has to offer. I hope you enjoyed the weekly update. Have a great weekend and embrace all the unique changes around you too!

A big thank you to this level 4 resident who is clearly internalizing the positive changes that unfold at Ironwood. It is incredible to watch these transformations take place when not long before, these amazing young people arrived with a strong resistance to change and a negative mindset. Futures grow brighter each day and their efforts, along with the efforts of family members back home, are bearing fruit!  Have a great weekend.