Wayfinder Schools
HOME PAGEUnique_Maine_Farms.html

Name:                     Wayfinder Schools

New Gloucester      Wayfinder School 

Address:                  P.O. Box 65

                                 215 Gloucester Hill Road

                                 New Gloucester, Maine


New Gloucester       207-926-4532


Camden Address:    Wayfinder School

                                   P.O. Box 555

                                   79 Washington Street

                                   Camden, Maine 04843

Camden Phone:          207-236-3000

Website:                     wayfinderschools.org

Facebook Page:         




Products and Services:

-Relational Learning Programs

-Restorative School Practices

-Alternative High School Diploma Program

-Residential Living Program

-Green Project Initiatives

-Experiential Learning Expeditions

-Passages: Home-Based High School Degree 

     Program for Young Parents

-Rental of Houses Available For Conferences

     and Special Events

What Makes Wayfinder Schools Unique?

Over the years, the Gloucester Hill Road property, where Opportunity Farm was located for many years in New Gloucester, has undergone many changes. The farm has always retained its beautiful pastoral setting and it has continued to welcome youngsters in need of a nurturing and safe home. For over one hundred years, the farm has focused on providing support for individuals, who for a variety of circumstances, are in need of a stable environment and a chance to succeed.

Opportunity Farm was established by F. Forrest Pease as a residential home for boys in 1910. Pease and Frank Winter had organized the Androscoggin Boys Club in Lewiston, and had witnessed firsthand about the critical need for some boys to have a safe place to live. The first youngsters brought to the farm were three homeless boys from the Lewiston Social Settlement.  The Opportunity Farm Association was organized in 1912.  The following year, they purchased a small farm for their program.  The size of the farm operation increased significantly in 1914, when Dr. Alfred Williams Anthony, and his sister, Kate Anthony, donated a nearby farm with several buildings and one hundred acres to the Opportunity Farm Association.

The boys who lived at Opportunity Farm in the 1900‘s attended public school and helped with the chores around the farm.  In 2003 and 2004, two new large beautiful houses, the Welch House and the Snowe House, were added at Opportunity Farm to house girls just down the road on the Short Bennett Road in New Gloucester.

The Community School in Camden was the very first alternative high school in Maine.  It was established in 1973 by Dora Lievow and Emanuel Pariser.  The Community School merged with Opportunity Farm in 2011, and welcomed young men and women in their alternative high school program at both the Camden and New Gloucester locations. 

In October 2013, the Community Schools chose Wayfinder Schools as their new name because it

was felt that it better reflected the mission of the

school. Their Passages program offered by Wayfinder Schools provides in-home educational instruction to young parents, from fourteen to twenty years of age, who are interested in acquiring their high school diploma. Academic, life, and parenting skills are taught.  Community service is included in the program and a final project called the Passage is required.

Today the Wayfinder School in New Gloucester has welcomed ten students in their nine-month residential program and eight students in their Camden school. Students are required to participate in several classes including Writing Group, American Sign Language, Diversity and Social Justice, Literature and Reading, Art Theory and Practice, Biology, Geology, Physics or Chemistry Labs, Math, Real Life Skills, and Documentary Film Studies.

Students from ages sixteen through twenty, who are enrolled in the program, are all at risk for not completing high school.  Restorative School Practices are implemented so that students are encouraged to form relationships within the

school community that are based on honesty,

accountability, and respect.  Weekly resolution circles take place at the school to strengthen the

school’s mission of providing “students with the skills and experiences necessary to discover their strengths, connect with their families, practice personal responsibility, and contribute to their communities.”

While living in the residential community, students are expected to actively participate in meal planning, food shopping, yard work,

cleaning, and cooking. There are many opportunities at the Wayfinder Schools for students to connect with the community.  All the students participate in student service projects. Residential students are required to find an internship in the community while attending school.  Their work placement positions

take place during Monday through Thursday mornings.  Once a month students participate in

Experiential Learning Expeditions throughout Maine and New England.  Recently students enjoyed a trip to New York City. Camping, hiking, and rock climbing expeditions have been enjoyed.

Rachel Lyn Rumson, a Social Permaculture Designer, has been hired by the Wayfinder Schools to help design an educational permaculture program at the New Gloucester property.  Incorporated into her vision for the

campus is a learning laboratory where students can participate in the establishment of low impact agricultural plots of land alongside permaculture pieces of land.  Students will be encouraged to make comparisons and enter discussions about the benefits of the various approaches to farming and gardening.  Topics that will be included in the permaculture curriculum include food production, food storage, food preservation, and issues of social justice in relation to access to food.  The potential for students to earn credits in various academic disciplines and in areas such as physical education is a possibility with the permaculture curriculum that Rachel Lyn will be helping to design.

A  Green Project Initiatives has been set in place at the Wayfinder School in Camden.  In 2010, the students worked with the Newforest Institute out of Brooks, Maine.  They focused on such aspects as gardening, collecting rain water, composting, and recycling.  Students were challenged to come up with ways that they could contribute towards making their school more energy efficient.  Some of the environmental topics that they explored including soil testing and water consumption.  Community service was incorporated in the curriculum by their assistance with preparing garden beds for seniors, serving a locally-grown lunch to school children, and conducting trail maintenance at the Tanglewood 4-H camp.

At the Camden Wayfinder School, several different gardening projects have provided opportunities for the residential students to assist individuals of all different ages and backgrounds.  Various collaborations have been formed with Senior Fare, KIDS Consortium, Merry Garden Estates, the Garden Institute, Community Service for Environmental Wellness, Tanglewood, and the Riley School.

With a new outreach office in  Washington County, the Wayfinder Schools have established a statewide presence in seven counties.  They have been working to help seventy students obtain their high school degree.  The videos that highlight the various Wayfinder School graduates that appear on their website are extremely moving.

It has been well known that young adults who do not earn a  high school diploma often face social and economic challenges that impact their entire future.  Thanks to the efforts of the Wayfinder Schools, many young adults in Maine are overcoming the barriers that prevent them from finishing their high school education.  They are moving forward as responsible, caring, and productive citizens.  Kudos go out to all the individuals such as F. Forrest Pease, who, had the foresight over one hundred years ago, to understand that some young adults needed the refuge that a community farm setting could provide.

Dr. Dorothy Foote is the CEO and Head of Schools of  Wayfinder Schools.

Joseph Hufnagel is the Residential Director of Wayfinder Schools.

Welch House 
Snowe HouseWayfinder-Welch_and_Snowe_House.html

Awaiting germination of the seeds

Students care for the chickens at the school.

Garden-Related Photos From FacebookWayfinder_June_2014.html
Old Photos
from Opportunity Farm for BoysWayfinder_Old_Photos.html
First Report from 1914Wayfinder-First_Report.htmlWayfinder-First_Report.htmlWayfinder-First_Report.htmlshapeimage_8_link_0shapeimage_8_link_1
June 2014Wayfinder_June_2014.html