Ironwood Maine Web Update

“Families are the compass that guides us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.”

Brad Henry

       This Update is going to be about the Family Weekend which just took place on Friday, November 13 and Saturday, November 14, 2020. Here at Ironwood Family Weekends are a big deal for the staff, residents, and all of you parents. Having Parents come on campus for Family Weekend takes a lot of preparing. As many of you may already know but some may not, the Thursday before the first day of any Family Weekend is one of the biggest deep cleaning days of the year. Residents spend many hours cleaning, tidying, and organizing all three campuses to make sure that they are to the highest standards. We spend the whole day making sure everything is neat for the families that come in the next day. Every time, many families are impressed by how beautiful the campus looks. All residents help in the deep clean to make sure things are up to the highest standards even if they may not have family coming or are having an Orange Family Weekend (OFW).

          During Family Weekends, many emotions surface that don’t typically come out on a regular day to day basis. These could be emotions of sadness, anger, regret, disappointment, frustration, happiness, pleasure, love, joy, fulfillment, contentment, sanctification, and hope. Residents being with their families in Family Therapy, groups, and downtime have the chances to talk about different things like what life is going to be like when the resident comes home, or what some expectations are that might be taking place at home.  Sometimes residents who are at Frye have a writing goal that they would like to share with their parents or family such as the Letter of Accountability or the Ten Rules for Emotional Health. I believe that Family Weekends are great times for Frye residents to share these kinds of goals because the residents can be right in front of their families physically and can share their pieces of work directly instead of sharing virtually on a device. Level 3 and 4 Farmhouse residents have the opportunity to share different goals or work of theirs with their families. A Level 3 resident can share their Family Roles Letter or another goal in their folder, (and for some of you parents who might not know what some of these goals are, you will find out when your child gets to that point in their program). Level 4 residents have more different goals or topics of discussion that they can cover with their families. Level 4 residents can talk about their Home Contract that they have been working on and what the next steps are in that, a goal in their folders that they would like to share with their families, possibly a Home Visit or an Ironwood Graduation date. Over this Family Weekend, my family and I talked a lot about our Home Contract and how we are starting to wrap it up, as well as what a Home Visit might look like in a couple of weeks. At some point in your child’s program, you will work through many of these concepts and what each one means to your family.

         Overall, many residents during Family Weekends have  opportunities to take accountability for things that they have done in the past, and to repair their relationship with their families face to face. Family Weekends are really critical with the current world problem of COVID-19 because there still is a chance that families might not be able to come. I personally know how that feels because it happened to me while I was here. My family came for this year’s January Family Weekend and wasn’t able to come for another 7 months because of COVID-19. Having families visit is an important part of the Ironwood program.  It is something that most residents look forward to a lot. Also, many residents get a sense of motivation to get their work done and to stay consistent to be closer to coming home after seeing their families. Family Weekends are critically important to have for residents to strengthen the bonds that they have with their families, to get to spend more time with their families, and to have a great weekend overall with their families.

*Well said, young man!  Your Ironwood journey is in the homestretch and it was good to see you with your family, too!  Have a nice weekend and take care of yourself and those closest to you. 😊