Archive for November, 2014

Our Global Thanksgiving Celebration

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Our Opportunity Farm campus was buzzing with festivity again last week as we celebrated our 6th annual Global Thanksgiving.  The community room was filled with people, food, music and celebration and our students took center stage for what’s become one of our most treasured Wayfinder traditions.

This year’s event kicked off with a Contra Dance in the barn with our wonderful neighbor calling out the steps while student and staff members Rose, Ian and Dylan provided guitar and fiddle music.

contra dance

After the dance we all gathered back inside for the ceremonial exchanging of the napkins.  This year, students on each campus tie-dyed beautiful cloth napkins for their peers on the other campus. The Opportunity Farm students sang as they presented their napkins to the Camden students, while the Camden campus students played fiddle and danced as they presented their napkins to the Opportunity Farm crew.  Here are the beautiful napkins:    more napkins                                napkins     Then it was time for the food! china

Each student selected a different country to research and then planned and prepared a traditional meal from that country.

They also researched income, literacy rates and more for each country.                           graphs


Then they presented their research to the crowd:

jack and rose              morgan     papi  faith presenting People said what they were thankful for, including “friends, family, food, running water, Wayfinder Schools and second chances.”  And everyone had a great time!    happy baby  oren and alexis  jim and mary ellen  zoe and nephew

Here are some of the countries we studied:

Rose studied Greenland and made a fabulous cod dish

Ethan researched Mali and made a spicy rice dish

Fiston studied Italy and made a Putenesca

Elijah studied Bosnia and made stuffed peppers

Erika studied Equador but helped make two of the Chinese dishes: spring rolls and egg rolls

Shaunte studied France and made ratatouille

Rakeem studied Australia and made a curry

Faith studied China and made almond cookies (plus she sang a song in Chinese during her presentation!)

Alex studied Bhutan and made spicy rice

Morgan studied Poland and made a delicious cheesecake

Shannon studied Mexico and made chicken empanadas

Papi studied Turkey and made Falafel and hummus

Jack studied India and made fried banana balls and sweet almond milk

And they all did an amazing job!

more everyone Back Row, L-R: Faith, Morgan, Shannon, Rakeem, Elijah, Alex, Erika, Jack, Rose, Papi. Front Row: Shaunte


Our November Newsletter

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Check out our November news here:

November News

An Interview with Camden Student Rakeem Sullivan

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

A Wayfinder Schools interview with student Rakeem Sullivan, Camden

 rakeem jumping rakeem boarding

October 2014

WS: What made you decide to come to Wayfinder Schools?

 RS: I wanted my diploma and regular high school just wasn’t cutting it. I met with Joseph and Pam from Wayfinder and it seemed like the best way for me to get a real diploma.

WS: What have you enjoyed most about your Wayfinder Schools experience so far?

RS: Getting to know different people and making new friends. It’s just awesome that all these people from different backgrounds can come together, find something in common, and make a lifelong connection.

WS: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned so far this year?

RS: The most interesting thing I’ve learned this year is about the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and how America has a dark history of mistreatment of the Indians, but most American school systems never really focus on that.  They focus more on what Germany did to the Jews.

WS: What’s your favorite class and why?

RS: Probably American Sign Language, because I’m really good at it, and because being able to communicate with someone who can’t hear is pretty amazing!

WS: What’s the favorite meal you’ve cooked so far at school and why?

RS: Shepherd’s Pie, because it’s really good and I’ve enjoyed it as long as I’ve lived and I finally learned how to cook it!

WS: Where is your internship and what do you like best about it?

RS: My internship is with the dance studio Kinetic Energy Alive, and my favorite part is probably learning different styles of dance.

WS: How did you choose it?

RS: I’ve had a love of dance ever since I started dancing three years ago, and finding someone in the community who does Hip Hop pretty much made up my mind that that’s where I wanted to go.

WS: What’s been you favorite trip at Wayfinder and why?

RS: Probably Acadia. Because I really enjoyed being able to go rock climbing, and the campground was beautiful, and I love nature.

WS: What’s been you favorite volunteer project and why?

RS: Probably stacking wood for Arifa in Damariscotta because we were able to get our star charts read afterwards. Astrology has been one of my biggest interests and my reading was completely accurate.

WS: What do you hope to get out of your experience at Wayfinder Schools?

RS: A diploma and better social skills.

WS: What are your hopes and plans for after graduation?

RS: I want to go to a college that offers a sports medicine major and a dance minor so I can own my own dance studio one day.

WS: How did you get into dance?

RS: I was walking past Tree Street Youth after one of my Army Cadet meetings and the door was open and I saw people dancing.  So I walked in and joined. I enjoyed it so much that I kept at it and apparently I have natural talent, so that helps, too!

WS: What would you like people to know about Wayfinder Schools?

RS: It’s a really awesome program. It can be hard at times, but the benefits of overcoming those challenges are way worth the struggle.

WS: What would you like the world to know about you?

RS: I’m a determined, hard working dancer who fully intends to achieve his dreams.

Fifteen facts about you:

Where you were born: Alabama

Your favorite color: Blue

Your favorite food: Lasagna

Your favorite sound or smell: Nature

Your favorite hobby or thing to do in your spare time: Dance

Your favorite possession: My dancing glove

Your favorite book or or movie: The Percy Jackson series

Your favorite snack: Pretzels

One place you’d like to travel to: Greece

Something you’re proud of: Getting into Wayfinders

Something new you’d like to try: Surfing

Who would play you in a movie: Will Smith

Your favorite spot in Maine: Rangley

The one thing you’re most passionate about: Dance

Anything else you’d like us to know: I’m also a musician and I play three instruments: Flute, Piano and Percussion

Our Day at Camp Kieve

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

It’s been a busy start to a very busy year here at Wayfinder Schools.  You can read some of what we’ve been up to here: September & October 2014.

Last week, we were lucky enough to be able to bring our Camden & New Gloucester campuses together for a day of leadership and team building at Camp Kieve.  We started off the day with group problem solving exercises on the ground, and by the end of the day had worked our way to the highest elements of the high ropes course.

Along the way we worked on problem solving, overcoming fears and building trust. “I’m so proud of these kids,” said Residential Program Director Joseph Hufnagel. “They worked hard and they worked together to come up with some really great ideas. At one point they called their own resolution circle to talk through a problem they were having difficulty with.  The two campuses worked well individually and together, and every single one of them tried the highest rope course elements. What a day!”

Or as student Ethan put it, “It was awesome.”

everyone pullingfaith

noah and ethan  the guys roasting marshmallows  ian, rose, alexis    jos, moragn, papi  jack  trees    more wonderful group papi leapingplatform

Our writing workshop with award winning author Lily King

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Last week we were lucky enough to have award winning author Lily King come to a Passages workshop, where she spent several hours writing with our students.  We started with a list of prompts to write about…a red dress…a funeral…a really good sandwich.

more writing  lily writing Writing

Later, we were asked to write about a specific spot in the home we remember most.  In another exercise, we were asked to write two truths and a lie, the lie being the most challenging part for many in the class.

lily hands more students

But it was when Lily read to us from the new Telling Room anthology that the class lit up most, especially when hearing the words of another teen mom, in a story called The Bump. Students then took turns sharing their own stories, including these:

 Labor, by Selaina

By Lindsey

It was a wonderful day, full of beautiful words and stories in the lovely, light-filled rooms of The Inn at Bath. Thank you so much to Passages Teacher Joy Knowlton for organizing this workshop, to Innkeeper Elizabeth Knowlton for sharing her space with us and providing delicious food, to Lily King for so generously donating her time and wisdom, and to all the students who so generously shared their words.

cousinsLily, Elizabeth & Joy

food   The Inn at Bath

writing Writing!

everyone Everyone!

Perfect Chemistry: Science and Art come together during our trip to Waterfall Arts

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Last Saturday our Camden crew visited Waterfall Arts and their new exhibit: Experimental Comminglings

alix, papi, sabryna

Waterfall Arts, based in Belfast, describes the exhibit like this: “This a hands-on installation by Bethany Engstrom and Siglinde Langholz: a hybrid of science lab and art studio, the artists invite the audience to fully engage with, alter and transform the materials. The focus is on experimentation with natural materials and liquids in a variety of containers, with constantly evolving options due to the interaction of participants. Engstrom and Langholz are interdisciplinary and installation artists who are currently exploring ways to create new engagements with the audience by extending the way we all observe, understand, and relate to contemporary art.

typewriter    papi jars
In these pictures you’ll see Wayfinder students creating experiments/ miniature compositions with materials in the exhibit, entering data to the exhibit catalogue, printing off take-home postcards of their explorations and adding their work to the wall’s archive.

papi and emily   everyone table
It was a blast!

hanging dishpapi

Our Harvest Supper and Lantern Parade

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

The day before Halloween we held our first annual Harvest Supper and Paper Lantern Parade at Opportunity Farm.  Kids in costume filled the field as the soccer ball was kicked around, pumpkins were carved and lit, marshmallows were roasted and Faith strummed her guitar and ukelele.

soccer light   butterfly  dr. who and prom queen  carving  pumpkins   shante and tataInside at Anthony House people took turns at the piano, made art work and enjoyed bake sale goodies while down the drive at Kendall House, Fiston helped Lee Landry of ReVision Heat demonstrate our new wood gasification boiler, donated by ReVision Energy and installed with the generously donated time of the folks at ReVision Heat.  Now we have five cords of wood stacked and more to come, and our oil costs will be cut in half!

faith's flowersart     cookies  fiston  lee and josBack outside, kids swung on the tire swing while dinner was being prepared at Anthony House. On the menu: homemade bread plus veggie soups and beautiful salads from our gardens. Delicious!

tire swing   salad beautiful salad  garlic  food line


After a few words from staff members Joseph and Oren, student Shaunte, and longtime friend and supporter Tim Stewart, it was time to light the lanterns and parade through the field.

lanterns at the ready    parade start  fence lightscity of lights  crowd

It was a stunning sight on a fall night in Maine.  As we walked a spiral maze toward the center fire and gathered around to warm ourselves, Oren asked us all to mention what we are grateful for.  People were thankful for the food and the stars and the garden, but mostly for friends. And family. And Wayfinder Schools.

fall hill

Check out the complete album here: harvest supper photo album!

The latest Passages Press!

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Click here for our latest Passages Press newsletter!

October 2014 E-Newsletter

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Click here for our October 2014 E-News!