Archive for January 2019

Ironwood Maine Web Update

After a renewing new year celebration, all of the students are now stepping into what they want their new year to look like. Students have made resolutions and expressed things they were grateful for in the year of 2018. The year of 2019 has started off with a bang. Students are motivated and wanting to do the best for themselves. Everyone is getting into the motion and putting their best foot forward for a fresh start. I took the time to interview a few residents and here is what they had to say.

“It’s a new year! I am looking forward to my Birthday at home with family, finishing my sophomore year of high school, and enjoying everyday life. I was so miserable last year and now I look forward to the new opportunities and a fresh start with my family and friends.”

“The new year usually doesn’t mean a lot to mean, but this year is different. I am motivated. I see a lot of changes coming. I am actually making a plan for my future, which I never thought I would do.”

“I am looking forward to completing the Ironwood program, spending time with family and going to college. I am also planning to put more effort into staying in shape and exercising, perhaps I’ll join a soccer team. I think I might even get a job, I am so excited for all of these things!”

During educational groups, students are practicing how to identify struggles within themselves as well as within the group. Students have made headway with these goals and are open to learning new things about themselves that they did not know before. These types of groups are always exciting and inspiring, but I wanted to get a more in-depth perspective. I choose to interview Lily about one of her recent therapy groups. 

Q. What was the intent/goal of The Tin Can Foot Pass activity?

A: The goal of this activity is to highlight the strengths and challenges of the group; how does the group support each other, is communication respectful and is it clear? Often the strengths and challenges that come out in the activity are present outside of it as well. 

Q: What do you think is the most important part of the experimental group?

A: The most important part of the experiential is for residents to challenges themselves and push themselves outside of their comfort zone. When this happens resident often realize they are capable of more than they first thought. 

Q: What is your favorite part of leading these groups? What is the most challenging?

A: My favorite part is watching the group work through a difficult activity and find a creative solution through effective communication and problem solving. The most challenging is knowing a solution and allowing the group to struggle. 

The new year is a year of discovery and growth. It is a year for change and acceptance. Students are ready to keep progressing as is obvious from the multiple graduations and level promotions already this year! 2019 is the year of growth and illumination for all students at Ironwood, and it is underway!  Have a great weekend.

Ironwood Maine Web Update

“There are far far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

C.S. Lewis

Over the past several days, the entire Ironwood campus has managed to partake in many productive, exciting and fun events. While we have all been away from our family, it has been easy to recognize that we are never alone. Our friends and staff have been supportive, our memories are still with us and the hope and opportunity that lies ahead provides the most comforting of thoughts.


As the new year neared, each of our students had some time to reflect on 2018. Students were asked to take pride in what they had accomplished, acknowledging their challenges and all that has been overcome. We spent time sharing precious memories and past events that made many smile. It was easy to recognize for many that 2018 was a year to be proud of.


Students also spent time pondering what they wanted most out of 2019. Not only did everyone share their own individual resolutions like “Continuing to learn Japanese…creating a better relationship with my family and waking up with a smile everyday”. They also spent time thinking about ways to support the follow- through of these important goals. Later, students viewed a movie about a young man who struggled to return home after being separated from his family. He finds a similar lost wolf companion in the forest and starts a friendship that would change his humanity. “Alpha” is the movie, if you’d like to view it over this weekend.


In between groups, school, chores, and snow shoveling, there has been plenty of opportunity to enjoy the snow, as well. Epic snow sled races down the Beaver Pond hill, makeshift snowboarding (on sleds), snowman making and a “revolutionary war style” snow ball battle that was hilarious to observe.


During a social group, students had the opportunity to learn about different styles of leadership…Democratic, Authoritarian, and Laissez Faire. Students split into groups and took turns being their own leader of the group and picking one of these styles of leadership. Then, the stage was set for a 3 way game of capture the flag. After each game, the students discussed what was beneficial about each style and when it might be appropriate to use this in a general life setting.


While there has been plenty to celebrate, the mission of the Ironwood campus has remained focused on individual growth, accountability, and progress. Highlights of student hand rolling sushi and a night sky filled with fireworks to welcome the new year has not distracted our students from what is most important, making the most out of their day and accomplishing their individual goals in preparation for a return home. All of us at Ironwood are excited to see how much our students can accomplish in the months to come. Happy New Year to everyone and we wish you a most pleasant weekend!