Ironwood Maine Web Update

In the coming weeks. we will be rotating “authorship” of the Family Weekend Update to one of our senior level residents, hoping that this altering perspective will be appreciated by all of you, back home. For this week, we are including the format that will be shared as a guide to our future, resident reporters:

QUOTE: This quote should be both meaningful and related somehow to a “theme of the week”

Empathy – (n.) the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions.

INTRODUCTION: This should be a brief summary of what you plan to talk about, explaining the theme of your processing of events.

All throughout the week here at Ironwood, we’ve had a variety of opportunities to grow by way of others. Just living in this residential setting, we are exposed to a wealth of experiences that teach us about the world around us, our peers, teachers and ourselves.

CAMPUS OVERVIEW: This first section should cover a general overview of the week at both Frye and the Farmhouse campus. Group dynamics, recent changes, or seasonal fun as examples. Not a lot of detail is needed, but try to give a good overview of points of interest.

The winter season holidays are still in full effect here on the Ironwood campus. There has been a consistent drizzling of snow to support our efforts in making Ironwood as cheerful as possible. Students have been decorating their trees, making wreaths, engaging in snow ball wars, and participating in Hanukkah. All students are encouraged to participate in the cultural immersion of the holiday, while campuses partake in the lighting of the Menorah. This experience offers a great opportunity for each of us on campus to gain a deeper insight and respect of alternative heritages and perspectives.

THERAPEUTIC GROUP(s): Pick one group that had a significant impact on you or a student that you “interview” this week. (Peer groups, Experientials, EAP, DBT) Explain the session concept and activity. Share what you felt was impactful and how it relates to the theme of the weekly update

In our therapeutic experiential group this week, the students participated in a blind drawing activity in which each was given a drawing to describe using lines and shapes only to the chosen artist. The artist could not see the group and the group could not see the artist. The challenge was that directions could only be dictated one word at a time and each member of the group needed to contribute. This activity brought some conflict to the surface in the boy’s group as some residents became impatient and intolerant of others, who had difficulty with the activity. Discussion then followed around how to respectfully engage in conversation when feeling frustrated or annoyed by another person, along with the problems associated with assuming what another person is thinking or feeling.

ENRICHMENT ACTIVITY(s): Pick one or Two of the enrichment groups that had the most positive effect on you this week. (culinary, exercise, music, nightly meditation, wilderness, etc.) Explain in detail the activity or event. Why it was so remarkable to you and/or the other students, and how it relates to the theme of the update.

This week in character development with Ethan, we dove into the quality of Empathy. Like most of the traits covered already, this is one that I think is essential for our students. Through a variety of examples, it was hoped that students could understand and acknowledge the differences between Empathy and Sympathy and when it is best to utilize each. Empathy is an essential trait to help us interact with others in our world and to maintain strong relationships with the people in our lives. In an effort to help teach these concepts, this week’s role model was Helen Keller. She was a great example for us all to see how to overcome obstacles in our lives.

In Social Skills group, the students engaged in a sort of Class Debate expressing opposing points, using critical arguments to support their position. Topics that were debated ranged from whether or not students should have hot apple cider every Sunday, the name of the outdoor bathroom facilitates, to more lighthearted topics such as, supporting or opposing whether Ironwood should become an underwater campus. After some lively debates, students discussed their process in which they formed their arguments, how they elected to contribute to the discussion and if they felt that they were listened to (respectfully) during the debate.

CONCLUSION: In a few sentences, try to summarize the entire post in relation to a particular theme. Express how you hope the readers can utilize the shared insight in their own way.

The opportunities this week to learn about ourselves and the people around us were copious this week. In this time of holiday spirit, it is ever so obvious that being able to put ourselves in other people’s shoes is important for our own success. We hope that each of you have had similarly rewarding experiences this week and will be able to enjoy a restful December weekend.