Archive for December, 2014

2014 Year in Review Highlights

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

A Few Highlights from our 2014 Year in Review

January & February

January and February brought all sorts of winter adventure, including sledding, ice skating, ice carving and this:

toboggan 14

The 2014 National Toboggan Championships!

We were also invited to be one of three national pilot sites for Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project, in collaboration with host site Bay Chamber Concerts. Here we are recording our lullabies at Hearst Studios. One of our lullabies was later selected for performance by Carnegie Hall musicians in New York!  Read more here: Lullaby Project in the news


Later in the month, we also worked with artist Eric Leppanen in his Belfast studio. belfast-artist-eric-leppanen-hosts-camden-students-at-his-studio and we received this nice write-up in the Justice Diary:Wayfinder Schools: An Educational Model Worth Studying

March & April

rock center 2

In March, the weather warmed up a bit and it was time for our annual trip to The Big Apple!  MoMA, The Met, Grand Central Station, The Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, Central Park, The Natural History Museum…read all about it here: NYC Student Blog

In April, we continued with our academics, our volunteer work, our daily apprenticeships, and our household responsibilities, like cooking and daily chores. And, our artwork was displayed at CMCA!


We continued to make art and music, to tour colleges and art galleries, to go camping and hiking and work in the gardens. Then suddenly it was time for our 3rd annual Earth Day celebration

peter wheelbarrow

and our 2nd annual inter-campus prom!


Meanwhile, Washington County Passages student Niomi Johnson was featured in the Quoddy Tides for her successful school wide anti-bullying workshop at Shead High School. Student Niomi Johnson in the news

May & June

May was a very busy month, including our final Experiential Learning Expedition of the year-to Cobscook Bay State Park, our annual white water rafting trip,


the completion of Passages graduation projects and this…Dancing with Local Stars!

wayfinder schools DWLS 2014


In the middle of all this, we studied math, science, reading and writing, art, American Sign Language, budgeting, documentary film and more and before we knew it, it was time for GRADUATION!  This year we graduated 23 students, including our first-ever Mitchell Scholar!

  shama and carlos   2014 graduate zac conley  ibraheem

2 white gowns  and still more kisses  passages lewiston grad

And then as the days grew longer and our school year was coming to a close, there was this fabulous fundraising event-A Conversation with authors Ann Patchett & Richard Russo!  Patchett and Russo event for Wayfinder Schools, WCSH Channel 6


July and August

In July and August we were busy planning for the coming school year and getting ready for the arrival of new students, including holding our annual staff and board planning meeting at Camp Kieve.

jos, don, fred, alex

Meanwhile, our CEO and Head of Schools, Dr. Dorothy Foote, was named by Maine Magazine as one of 50 people shaping the state of Maine

Dot Old Port Summer also meant time for building our new outdoor classroom, taking care of the chickens and ducks, and raising enough produce for our own culinary program and to distribute to local seniors in need.

spindly chard   Corn!      yellow chard

September & October

In September we welcomed new students and dove right into the academic year.

camden wayfinders day one!

You can read all about it here: Fall Academic Highlights

We went hiking and rock climbing,

eth and fist

we held our first Wayfinder Harvest Supper & Lantern Parade at Opportunity Farm

lanterns at the ready   pumpkins  faith's flowers

we celebrated the annual Farm to Sea Auction in Portland

F2S table    Micki Colquhoun and Sheila Peabody

Wayfinder Farm to Sea Auction, by Maine Magazine

And Board Member Susan Koch was one of six Mainers to receive a Leaders & Luminaries Award from Bank of Maine!

john everets dot susan 2

November & December

All throughout the year we hold Passages group workshops, including this amazing November writing workshop with author Lily King!

lily writing

This workshop led two of our students to write posts for our blog that they later turned into speeches for our Women for Wayfinder event.

lindsey and selaina tree

We also celebrated our 6th annual Global Thanksgiving in November: and continued our collaborative projects with 317 Main & The Circus Conservatory. As always, we are plugging away at academics and our apprenticeship sites, while volunteering with Tree Street Youth, The Garden Institute & others.

faith at tree street         morgan at tree street

happy fall

And here we are, back in the winter months again, enjoying outdoor activities and the spirit of the season-friendship, togetherness and gratitude-as we travel together on this journey toward high school graduation. We couldn’t do it without you.

Thank you for your support!










30 Days of Giving

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Thirty Days of Giving-Your Support Makes a Difference!

December 1: We’re kicking off our annual appeal today.  Look for yours in the mail or visit!

December 2: It’s Giving Tuesday!  You’ve heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but December 2 is all about giving back-to your favorite charity!

December 3: As the weather gets colder, our students need all sorts of winter gear: hats, mittens, coats, snow pants, warm socks, water proof gloves, long johns, boots, you name it!

December 4: Did you know that our Passages Program for teen parents offers home visits for parents and babies in 8 Maine counties?  We always welcome gas cards or any contributions toward our travel costs.

December 5: Speaking of travel, each year our Residential students spend 5 days in NYC, experiencing the sights and sounds of the big city, visiting museums and historic sites, seeing live theater performances, navigating the subway, trying new foods and even volunteering with Meals on Wheels. Your contribution will help get them there, and ensure admission to The Natural History Museum, MoMA, The Met and more!

December 6: Did you know each of our Residential Program students holds a part-time job in the community?  And they learn to complete job applications, write resumes and practice mock interviews. Your support helps ensure our students get all the support they need to find future success in Maine’s workforce!

December 7: Not only do our students hold part time jobs, they also learn to plan and prepare meals on a budget.  Your help will support culinary instruction, healthy meals for our students, practical skills development AND lifelong healthy eating habits for young people in Maine.

December 8: Have you ever been to our Opportunity Farm campus? We’re on the highest point in Cumberland County, overlooking fields and woods and rolling hills. It’s beautiful! And this year, our gardens are beautiful, too.  We grew corn and kale and peas and tomatoes, garlic and pumpkins and more. We canned our own produce and raised chickens and ducks and learned skills that will last a lifetime.  We even shared some of our produce with local low- income seniors, and we’re ready to do it all again next year! We’re always in need of seeds and soil and garden supplies, and your donation can help keep us growing into the future.

December 9: As the weather gets colder, we’re super happy to have our new wood gasification burner, donated by ReVision Energy and installed by ReVision Heat.  But even though we’re cutting our oil use in half, we can always use help with our winter heating costs.

December 10: Each day we transport our students to their work sites, to doctor’s appointments and to countless other activities, including weekend camping trips, visits to art galleries and more.  This puts a lot of wear and tear on our school vans, and we are always looking for people who can help with auto maintenance costs.

December 11: Did you know our Passages Program for teen parents now serves students in 8 Maine counties?  It’s true!  And one thing those parents really need? Diapers.  Also blankets, hats, mittens and other baby supplies.

December 12: On the road to success, we want our students to be able to secure their driver’s licenses.  But many of them need help paying for driver’s ed classes.  You can help!

December 13: Help us spread the word by “liking” us on Facebook and sharing our posts!

December 14: For the past few years, we’ve taken a weekend trip to Boston to visit museums and see the sights. Your support helps provide cultural experiences like this-and creates memories that will last a lifetime!

December 15: We are always in need of volunteers, including evening math tutors!

December 16: Even though the work we do is new and innovative and exciting, it sometimes requires some pretty basic supplies: photocopier copier paper, stamps, you name it, we can use it!

December 17: We also rely heavily upon technology.  Your support can help cover computer and internet costs, including mobile “hot spots” for Passages students.

December 18: Keeping our 350 acre Opportunity Farm campus running means a whole lot of mowing, plowing and building maintenance. Your support helps keep our farm looking beautiful.

December 19: One thing we do a lot of is camping.  We camp at Acadia, we camp at Cobscook State Park, we camp all over Maine.  And we’re always in need of tents, sleeping bags and other outdoor gear.

December 20: Did you know that our Residential students tour colleges throughout Maine and New England as part of their post-graduation planning?  Your support helps get us there!

December 21: On weekends you can often find us sledding, skating, swimming, hiking or enjoying other beautiful (and free) Maine experiences.  But once in awhile, we need spending money for trips to the movies, the bowling alley or out for ice cream.  You support makes our weekend adventures even better!

December 22:  Books, books, books & more books. Even though our students consistently describe us as “more than just a school,” we are, indeed, a school, and we can always use help purchasing  curriculum materials and supplies!

December 23: Did you know each of our Residential students studies American Sign Language? Your donation can help support this program.

December 24 & 25: Merry Christmas from all of us to all of you!

December 26: Even though our Passages students receive individualized instruction in their own homes, they also attend monthly workshops with other teen parents and children.  Workshops focus on music, play, cooking, literacy, safety and more, and each workshop requires food, transportation and childcare.  Your donation will help provide all three!

December 27: It’s all about the education.  And not just for our students but for our staff, too. Your support can help provide trainings and workshops for our wonderful teaching staff.

December 28: This year our students are learning to cook and sew, to play music and make amazing art.  They are studying theater and and they’re even working with the new Circus Conservatory in Portland! Your donation will help support our growing arts curriculum.

December 29: There are a lot of expenses involved in feeding and housing teenagers.  Every little bit helps!

December 30: Don’t forget to make your year end tax deductible donation!

December 31: Happy New Year from Wayfinder Schools!

Thank you for your support!

Our Passages Holiday Party in Washington County!

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

4ZSjWVVsTg4x2R4cNFlym3TrZnf-NHjcX4UxYZcVDl7JMWVk-ehNQUZ_7DfeTLA5M8RaWw=s190 Music, dancing, cupcake decorating, arts & crafts and more at The Washington County Passages Holiday Party!  What fun!

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Women for Wayfinder

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

lindsey and selaina tree On December 2, over 50 people gathered at The Portland Country Club to hear Wayfinder updates from Head of Schools Dr. Dorothy Foote, Passages Program Director Martha Kempe and Residential Program Director Joseph Hufnagel. The occasion was the winter gathering of Women for Wayfinder, a group of generous southern Maine women who have come together to support Wayfinder Schools and the students we serve. Among the beautifully decorated tree, the food and drinks the chance to mingle and hear from Wayfinder staff, the highlight of the event was when Passages students Lindsey and Selaina shared their stories of early teen parenthood, and how Wayfinder has helped them find their way.  Read their stunning speeches here:

Selaina’s Women for Wayfinder Speech   

Lindsey’s Women for Wayfinder Speech

l and s closeup  susan joseph martha  cindy, l and s  cheese  food  more food  veggies  crowd


An interview with student Jack Dehlinger

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014


 jack baking On December 16, we caught up with Residential Program student Jack Dehlinger in the Camden Campus kitchen, where he was baking cornbread and making his famous microwave recipe, Cookie in a Cup. We talked about books and gardening and more, and he shared his Cookie in a Cup recipe, which you’ll find below.  But first, more about Jack!

A Wayfinder Schools interview with student Jack Dehlinger, Camden

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

JD: I’ve liked meeting all the new people and exploring living in a residential situation with people I might not have otherwise met.

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

JD: I learned all about Sea World and Orcas and how dangerous they can be, but a lot of their dangerous side comes from the way humans treat them and how badly we treat them.

WS: What’s your favorite class and why?

JD: My favorite class is probably reading, because the book we’re reading, The Things They Carried, is really wonderful. It has a theme of person versus reality that you don’t often see in most writing, especially these days.

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

JD: Boiled dinner with kielbasa, green beans, potatoes and carrots. It’s something I would always have at home, and cooking it for everyone here made me really happy. The kitchen smelled like home and I like associating that with this space.

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

JD: I work at both Dream Local Digital and shadowing Dwight Collins at The Camden Herald.  What I like a lot about working at Dream Local and the paper is that I get to pursue something I want to do in the future, which is writing. I get to figure out how my skills fit in.  

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

I liked going to Boston.  It was really fun even though I didn’t really care for the Chinese food. I tried a lot of things but my tongue didn’t cooperate. We went to The Science Museum and it was my first trip with the whole group. It was really nice.

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

JD: I think working with Jeanne Hollingsworth at the Garden Institute. It’s really interesting to see a bunch of people using their knowledge that some people might think is obsolete in this day and age.  A lot of people don’t think gardening is a necessary knowledge anymore because of the ease of going to the grocery store, but to see someone so into it is really cool, and to help out with it.

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

JD: I’m hoping to attend college and to follow my many varying passions, especially writing, and learn more how to stay involved in the stuff around me.

WS: What kind of stuff do you like to write?

JD: I like to write poetry and fiction, but I prefer to read non-fiction.

WS: What’s a favorite book you’ve read recently?

JD: I read the book, Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws by LGBT advocate Kate Bornstein. I like people who can combine creativity and art and reaching out to an audience to help them by being an advocate.

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

JD: I’d like them to know about it because it’s so important so if there’s a young person who wants to be able to explore it, they’ll have that knowledge around them.

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

JD: That I am secretly a pink cloud.

Fourteen facts about you:

Where you were born: Rockland, Maine

Your favorite color: White

Your favorite food: Mozzarella sticks

Your favorite sound or smell: Cardamom powder

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

Your favorite possession: A necklace

Your favorite book or movie: The Tale of Despereaux

Your favorite snack: Cookie in a Cup

One place you’d like to travel to: Iceland

Something you’re proud of: My hair

Something new you’d like to try: Learning Russian

Who would play you in a movie: Ellen Page

Your favorite spot in Maine: Probably Snow Marine Park in Rockland

The one thing you’re most passionate about: Social Justice Issues

Jack’s Recipe for Cookie in a Cup

Put 1 TBSP butter in a mug and melt in the microwave

Mix in:

1 TBSP each white and brown sugar

2-3 drops vanilla

1 egg white

3 TBSP flour

Chocolate chips

Microwave everything for approx. 2 minutes

And there you have it, Cookie in Cup!

Old Port Magazine’s Model Citizens features our very own Dr. Dorothy Foote!

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014