Ironwood Maine Web Update

When you are hit with life – disrupting events, you will never be the same again, you either cope or you crumble; you become better or bitter; you emerge stronger or weaker.”

Al Siebert

Welcome Ironwood families! I am honored to be writing this week’s weekly update of the week of 4/5/21. In this update, I’ll be giving you guys an overview of the week and what has been going on inside the community at the Farm House! 

There has been quite a bit of change going on, which can be difficult for many people to handle. The quickest way to get accustomed to change is by simply embracing it and focusing on the present moment. The boy’s group dynamic always has its ups and downs. But I’ve started to see some change in the airflow recently. The mornings have always been a struggle for us, and for many people outside of Ironwood. I for one am not a morning person in the slightest. If you are the level 4 blue assigned to the grain chore for the horses, which I am, you have to wake up at 5:45 A.M. This is earlier than the rest of the Farm House who arise at 6:15-6:30. Since I am the only blue at the Farm House, I haven’t been with the boys group during the morning or during other chores. However, I have seen snippets, and been able to witness my peers showing more initiative and actually working with each other instead of against each other. I think they’re starting to realize that swimming with the current is a lot easier than swimming against it. Same goes for the girl’s group, this morning I saw everyone hustling to get their chores done so we could get to school on time! 

Some other recent changes; buds are starting to appear on some of the trees again, giving us a change in beautiful scenery. All of the snow has melted, but don’t be fooled, last year we had a big snowstorm in April, which gave us around 10 inches of snow! You just never know in Maine, they say if you don’t like the weather, wait 20 minutes! The outdoor crew has started back up and has been doing lots of hard work preparing the garden for the growing season! Soon enough everyone will be outside in the heat working in the garden for one of the enrichment groups. Currently for the enrichment group, we have been doing dog training. The staff at Ironwood can bring their dog(s) in for the group on a leash. This happens every Monday in the indoor arena in the barn. There are about 7 dogs that join the class. One of the staff members here leads the class who has a lot of experience with dogs. One of the most important things to remember when training a dog is repetition, consistency, being firm, and rewarding the dog for good behavior. It is a very fun and funny group to watch and be part of. We’ve worked on teaching the dogs to sit, stay and proper leash behavior. In the most recent session, the dogs worked on being obedient and we took the dogs through an obstacle course which was pretty amusing. In some ways, the dogs are like teens themselves. 

For the therapeutic group DBT, we focused on the subject of apologies. We started off by checking in using a feelings word for how we were feeling. Then did an exercise of writing on one side of a paper a meaningful apology we said to someone. Then on the other side of it, we wrote a meaningful apology we had received. Then we were paired with our neighbor and did an interactive worksheet with a scenario on it. Then we took turns sharing our answers. 

Well, it is time for me to wrap this weekly update up! I hope you enjoyed reading this update, have a good weekend.   

THANK YOU to this week’s author, who is approaching graduation very soon.  We appreciate his effort to share some of his perspectives of life around Ironwood and his ability to connect (with humor) the similarities between teens and our dogs “in training”.  This canine group truly is fun to watch and your family members seem to truly enjoy it!  

This young man also quoted Al Siebert, who was best known for his research on psychological resilience and the inner nature of highly resilient survivors.  Good choice!…and we are hopeful that he will take these quality skills from Ironwood when he heads back home to his family.

Have a nice weekend…