Help Support Sweetser's Mission in Maine

FOCUS Testimonials from Students and Teachers

FOCUS Program- Adventure-based, Experiential Education

Testimonials from Dyer Elementary School, South Portland

Dear Mrs. Murray, I truly appreciate all the work you’ve done to help improve every fourth grade student’s social skills, responsibility, respect, safe fun, compassion and to not exclude others in activities. You really made fourth grade fun will all the physical activities you taught us that required team work communication, respect and many other skills that will help us as leaders. My experience during Adventure-Based learning was incredible,. I say that because all the frustration and happiness really helps you understand other people’s emotions. I really wish we could do this again in the fifth grade to take it to the next level and really improve. Unfortunately we can’t, but I will always remember my experience with you! Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity!

Lydia - 4th grade student,
Dyer Elementary School, South Portland

Dear Mrs. Murray, Thank you for coming and teaching us how to work well as a team. It was a great chance to learn something we don’t normally learn in school. I think you helped me the most to learn how to work well in a group. I learned that I should stand up and say my ideas without yelling out. At the beginning of the year I would not stand up and say what I thought, but you taught me that I can stand up to say what I think. My favorite thing in ABL was everything. It was all fun for me and I would love to do it again! My favorite part of the ropes course was the Flying Squirrel.

Erica - 4th grade student,
Dyer Elementary School, South Portland

Dear Mrs. Murray, I really appreciate all that you have done for us. I have a great time this year with you. Adventure-Based Learning was really fun. I really learned how to work in a group much better than in the beginning of the year when it was really hard. I really think Adventure-based learning was a big opportunity for me to learn how to be respectful and having safe fun and the five finger contract. I think ABL made it fun and learning too at the same time. Thanks for helping us out his year. You did a lot for me!

Joseph - 4th grade student
Dyer Elementary School, South Portland

Testimonials from Brown Elementary School, South Portland

I think the ABL program is so "right" for our kids – developmentally, socially, physically and in every other important area of their lives. Thank you for doing such great work with our kids this year!

Jane McNeely - 4th grade teacher
Brown Elementary School, South Portland

Adventure-Based Learning was an amazing experience! Being able to watch how the students matured and grew was incredible! Thank you so much for working so hard with the kids! I’m looking forward to being able to work with you again next year.

Kyla Hoffman - 4th grade teacher
Brown Elementary School, South Portland

Dear Mrs. Murray and staff, I loved the whale watching boat with Julie because I learned that if you want stuff to go easier then you need to help out and not just stand and watch what other people do and have fun.

Hayley - 4th grader student,
Brown Elementary School, South Portland

Responses from 6th Graders at Wescott Jr. High

Asked if they would you recommend FOCUS to next year's sixth graders? Why/Why not?

  • FOCUS taught me to trust people that I never thought would have been trustworthy. It's really important to learn to work together, to trust each other and learn to make a commitment.
  • FOCUS helps children make the right decisions and work together as a team. We learn the importance of teamwork, helping others and helping yourself! It also helps you in the long run and I think it should be shared with every class. It teaches you to accept people and not criticize them.
  • FOCUS is so fun and it teaches you how to solve problems and how to use teamwork.
  • FOCUS is a good experience to help us be a team and work together. I would not want any class to miss it. I love this program.
  • FOCUS is fun and it helps with teamwork and gives us better communication skills.
  • FOCUS makes you think and work together like a group of friends, even when you are not friends.
  • FOCUS teaches patience, teamwork, good sportsmanship and listening skills while doing really fun activities.

Testimonials from Wescott Jr. High Teachers after their day on the low ropes course in October

My group had a great time yesterday and I finally felt that we did, indeed, 'come together.' The kids all raved about the experience and they want to return on a weekly basis. In any event, I feel that we can grow together and appreciate this opportunity to work with you all. Mark was both a fun and effective facilitator and we're eager to show him our 'stuff' in the spring. See you soon. I'll let you know how our plans to meet more frequently work out.
- Daria McNamara

I wanted to take a minute to let you know how presently surprised I am with the success of this program for kids as well as for staff. I think I was a bit leery of the some of the activities that I would be asked to participate in and to lead myself, but the response of the kids has been great. It is nice for both teachers and staff to see each other in an non-academic light and take risks to form group. Thank you for the opportunity as well as all of your team's hard work yesterday.
- Kristin K. Drottar

Testimonial from teacher after the Winter Expedition

I do know that after the day in the snow my group of kids thought they were finally working together and had lots of fun due to this fact. They seem to now know there is a need to listen to one another and not try to run the whole show by his/herself. No one can be the boss all the time. They have to take turns. It's a group act. They are more respectful of one another also and have used praise to make each other feel like part of the group. FOCUS is worth the time.
- Colette Gagnon

Testimonial from The Diversity Leadership Institute

The Diversity Leadership Institute (DLI) is an organization of students from a variety of Maine high schools who are committed to teaching others to reduce prejudice, discrimination, and hate crimes. DLI is supported by The Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine. The success of this program depends entirely on the tone set by the young leaders and the relationships the students build with each other.

For the past 8 summers, the "FOCUS Through Adventure" program has provided a full day of group building and problem solving activities on the first day of the DLI summer conference. The excellent facilitators deliver a program that is a key factor in the success of DLI. With awareness and sensitivity,they set the tone and develop the foundation that all else is built upon during the remainder of the conference. It is here that our students begin to develop connections with complete strangers. It is here they begin to understand and value each other as unique individuals. It is here they learn to communicate with trust and respect. Many thanks for this exceptional program.
- Maggie McKinney, Guidance Counselor/Advisor Coordinator

Contact FOCUS today and see how your group can benefitContacting FOCUS

The FOCUS adventure-based learning program provides a unique opportunity for students to work in small groups and develop key life-long skills. More information on FOCUS.

For more info or Ropes Course reservations, please contact:
Donna Murray, Director


What Our Clients Are Saying

We want all of you to know how very grateful we are for your care of M--. Your entire staff deserves great credit for doing their job so well. Certainly, we know the challenges to safety and sensibility that M-- can create. Everyone needs to know that there are places where crises can be managed...

Full Story | More Stories of Excellence

Executive Office: 50 Moody Street    Saco, Maine    04072-0892    Phone: 1-800-434-3000    Copyright © 2014  Sweetser