Wayfinder School
First Report of Opportunity Farm
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This house, though comfortable, is far too small.  An ell should be added at once.

The barn is intolerable, and if the boys get their just dues, they will have a new one in the

near future.

For stock, we have a fine horse, two cows, two pigs, and a flock of hens.

Our desires are so large that perhaps it would be well to wait a year and then mention a few of them. But our plans are ready for big improvements, and you are invited to

have a share in them now.

The Beginning

We commenced operations with a few small boys and a wheelbarrow on land where pine, birch, and blueberry bushes reigned supreme. We found the sod tough and potatoes scarce, but the wheelbarrow worked overtime, and the boys “multiplied and waxed happy.”

Naturally our friends became more interested and new friends brought enthusiasm, so that progress was assured.

The season just past was the time of our second effort to farm. The possession of a good horse, cultivator and farm wagon made it possible for a dozen boys to put seed and phosphate on thirteen acres.

Weather conditions caused a deficit in our farming account this fall. However, the land is now ready for serious business, and good profits are likely to result next season.

It is true that many of our boys come from overcrowded city districts where idleness and

unfortunate companions rob them of ambition and self-respect. Others come from country towns and homes broken by misfortune. In every case they need someone to interest them in work, and the possibilities which they themselves possess.

Not all are destined to become farmers.  Some may choose a profession or a business in

preference to a trade, but each boy will be studied carefully and every effort made to guide him to the place he was made to fill.

While we believe in work and the value of a task well done, we do not forget the

benefits of recreation. Numerous camping trips help us to know more about our

State and each other. After each trip the boys seem more loyal and zealous for the prosperity of Opportunity Farm.

Evenings spent around the camp fire are evenings long remembered and the friendships

of a journey are the friendships of a lifetime.

While the garden received first attention, we have remembered the wood lot and the pasture. The shop as well has added to our earnings and helped the boys to act and

think for themselves.

If you know how much we need a forge, anvil, lathe, drill, and band saw, you would

hasten to supply one or more of them.

Boys are keen on making things, especially when they share in the profits.

Our printing press speaks for itself, and will be heard from as time goes on.

Young fellows enjoy a sawdust pile, particularly when there is a brook and swimming hole

near by. There is nothing like keeping boys happy when you want them to grow sturdy

and quick witted.

Summer days are not made for work alone and the man who can romp with the boys

discovers a new world of inspiration.

When the boys come back to the house at supper time their appetites find no fault

with farmer’s fare.

The contrast between these boys now and when they first arrived would convince the most skeptical the value of country life, straightforward and unafraid they challenge your


There is no manner of doubt that they will many times repay the cost of their education.

Their school work has been thorough, and to that has been added a desire to act the man at all times and under all circumstances.

                                    SCHEDULE IN 1912-1913

Our schedule for each day is intended to be practical and is necessarily varied with the

seasons. The subjects taught each boy are selected to fit his particular need. Academic work begins the first Monday in September and ends the last week in May.  There is a three days’ recess at Thanksgiving and at Christmas.

Boys rise at 6 a.m.

Setting up drill             6:05 - 6:15

Chores                         6:15 - 6:50

Morning Devotions     7:00 - 7:15

Breakfast                      7:15 - 7:45

School                          8:00 - 12:00

Dinner                         12:05 - 1:00

Recreation                   1:00   -1:30

Work                            1:30 - 5:00

Chores                          5:00 - 5:45

Supper                          6:00 - 7:00

Reading, Study,

or Games                      7:00 - 8:00

To bed and lights out    8:10

Terms:          Parents furnish all clothes and pay $10 per month

                      tuition until the boy is “commissioned” (this takes

                      the average boy one year), tuition is then $5 per

                      month until the boy becomes a Captain (this takes

                      the normal boy two years more). He then pays his own

                      tuition.  During the remainder of his course, which

                      will generally require three years, a boy may save

                      enough to be of considerable help as he begins for

                      himself.  We always deal with each boy, not as part

                      of a class, but individually. His progress and the

                      time of his graduation depend upon his ability.


The photos and text on this webpage appeared in the First Report of

the Opportunity Farm Association, which was published in 1914. Hope you enjoy learning a little about the beginning days of Opportunity Farm!