Ironwood Maine Web Update

Tonight, I shared dinner with one of our groups on campus. The meal was legitimately incredible. A salad with handpicked, student grown greens, freshly harvested mashed sweet potatoes and chicken marsala. Upon entering the room, I was appreciative of the invite to join from the student body, quickly realizing what a treat it was.

The dinner conversations proved to be equally rewarding. One student shared their excitement of nearing high school graduation…a thought that not long before, seemed unlikely. Another shared their grit and fortitude in relation to battling with a stubborn cold. I shared in the excitement and pride of two students who were proudly showing off their new, “level-up” colors.

I also monitored a conversation where a student engaged with another, asking what had previously been done to create upset? It was an honest effort approach for relational growth, asking for and receiving feedback, and taking ownership in prior actions, even though there was no ill intention to begin with.

While we all have moments of mistakes, regressions, and instability, it is clear that most of our students are trying to look inward more, allowing these daily experiences to shape themtowards a better future place.

Inward:

Early this week, Frye students participated in a class exercise to identify their strongest and weakest attribute. They were asked to sketch out a puzzle piece in a way that represented that attribute while not using words…only imagery. The studentswere given 2 puzzle pieces to decorate, one for the strongest and one for the weakest.

At the end of the session, they were asked to share their artwork and explain each attribute, to include why they chose them. After they spoke about their puzzle pieces each student incorporated their piece into the group’s puzzle. Once everyone had finished sharing, the group discussed how each of their individual attributes effected the group as a whole.

Expansive:

This week’s Gentleman’s Group managed to enjoy a scenic walk through the colorful forest. On the way to the designated location at the Beaver Pond, the young men were encouraged to reflect on how amazing the world around them is. Classical music was played, during this exercise.

When the group arrived at their destination, they discussed the structure of a haiku. The boys were invited to find inspiration from the short journey just taken, or from the landscape of Frye mountain directly in front of them.  After a short time, the group took turns sharing their versions of Poetry.

Eye-opening:

Early in the week, several of the students had the opportunity to participate in the Triangle of Life. This group initiative places the student’s in a state of being stranded on three separate islands at the Beaver Pond, designated by three stone seats. The objective was to figure out how to get three essential items (food, water and a radio) to each island in order to survive until the group could be rescued. The group was given a rope and three buckets, but the items were spread between the three islands and an island in the middle. Residents could not throw any items other than the rope and there could never be any more than four items on each island.

At first, the group was chaotic; with each island making separate plans, talking over one another, and competing to get all three items. While some of the participants attempted to speak up and get the group to work together, it was generally unfocused.  While they ultimately completed the task, it was clear there were things to work on. Discussion followed about the current state of the group and some of the students were quick to voice their frustration with the lack of focus and respect among the group. This initiative ended with each resident offering a way in which they could improve the environment in the boy’s group.

Inspiring:

This week the young ladies on campus participated in an activity designed to acknowledge and communicate respect to one another. Each of the girl’s names were printed on a piece of paper. The group was instructed to write something kind about their peer on the paper. They were told it could be an inspirational quote, something that they admire about the person, a characteristic that was positive, or a creative drawing that reminded them of a positive quality. Once each paper had been written on by all, the students were allowed a moment to process what their peers had written about them. Afterwards they each were asked to share something that they learned about themselves.

Our campus is a busy place and so many of our residents are showing us exponential growth.  We hope that family members back home are also finding inspiration for positive internal change.  Have a nice weekend and stay safe.

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