Ironwood Maine Web Update

It’s prime peeping season in New England! The air has chilledand the leaves have turned to their fluorescent display of magic spectacle. Fall has officially arrived here on the Ironwood campus and we couldn’t be enjoying the atmosphere more.

Early in the week, students took a trip off campus to visit afamily farm that was acknowledged as one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a Sunday “in all the land”. Students leisurely strolled through the orchard rows and hand pick a variety of ripe apples. Courtland, Macintosh, and several other types of fruit found their way back to campus for future snacks and desserts to be enjoyed over the next few weeks.

In-between school hours and scheduled group sessions, students have taken up the fall-favorite sport of leaf-catching. It’s about as silly a game as you could imagine, as residents see just how many falling leaves can be caught before hitting the grass below. To make things more interesting, some students have even been awarded merits for the most impressive leaf catches.

I was able to experience another special moment during a dinner on campus this week. Beyond the garden-picked greens, home-made macaroni and cheese and fresh baked banana bread, there was another contributing factor to this gathering. One of our residents prepared to return home and we all took a moment to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts and accomplishments made, while at Ironwood. A funky memoir of sorts started the dinner as our “Master of Ceremonies” Alicia, read the Dr. Seuss classic, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go”. Afterwards, our large family table of nearly 30 staff and students took turns speaking about inspiring characteristics and supportive words, wishing this student well.

To end the week and further celebrate this season, Ironwood held our annual campus wide Harvest Festival. All students joined up in a full day of fun activities, meals around a campfire, Halloween candy, apple cider, and even a spooky movie! There was a “Spooky Adventure Race” in which students had individual timed trails with a course that included a rat toss, pumpkin run, and hay bale jump. Another station allowed students to show off their crafty sides creating fun foam cutouts glued together to make strange creatures. The upstairs barn turned into an improv theater where students not only dressed up as whacky characters, but also took turns acting out theater skits with their unique personalities. In the barn, students took turns completing another Race in which they had to work together to label all the parts of a horse and saddle. While the students were rushing to complete the task thinking they were being graded on time, Our Barn Manager was actually grading each team based on their teamwork, problem solving skills, ability to ask for help, and also their level of mutual respect. And of course, a pumpkin carving station for the creation of scary (or funny) jack-o-lanterns.

It was an especially fun week here at Ironwood. While its obvious we’ve been able to enjoy some of the classic new-England fall traditions, each of our students have also managed to stay focused on their individual goals as well. Truly embodying our “work hard, play hard” philosophy

We wish you the very best this weekend and hope that all is going well at home.