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FOCUS Program - Experiential Education for Schools

FOCUS Program- Adventure-based, Experiential Education

"I think this 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
» Read more testimonials

FOCUS means Finding Our Community, Understanding Self.Adventure Based Learning can be fun!

FOCUS is an adventure-based, experiential education program that students engage in all year long. The program is built on a progression of life skill development and aims to help students enhance the development of key life skills and incorporate them into their everyday lives in and out of the classroom.

The Director of FOCUS is Donna Murray, and is run under the auspices of Sweetser located in Saco, Maine. The FOCUS Program will provide a unique opportunity for students to work in small groups to help develop key skills they will need for the rest of their lives.


Students will participate in a program to develop their Life Process Skills. The program is built on a progression of life skill development; each session will provide different goals and objectives and build upon the previous session.

Outcomes - Life Process Skills effectively incorporated through this program include: 

  • Building health interpersonal relationships
  • Building trust
  • Active listening and communication
  • Anger management / conflict resolution
  • Problem solving / decision-making
  • Self responsibility and health choices
  • Leadership development
  • Setting individual and group goals 

Students will develop and enhance Life Process Skills by:

  • Defining common values through a common language (Individual School Codes of Conduct) and continually practice these values;
  • Creating a level of trust among peers through emotional and physical safety;
  • Verbalizing how their behavior and attitude affects the successes of the group and the larger school community;
  • Respecting and verbalizing how the efforts of the group members contribute to positive group decisions in accomplishing tasks;
  • Learning how to give and receive constructively framed feedback about the behaviors of themselves and peers;
  • Defining conflict resolution and problem solving strategies and continually utilizing them as needed.

FOCUS program designs - which fits your needs best?

  1. FOCUS consultants train educational staff in an established Experiential Learning Curriculum. Over the course of a school year the educators will teach the curriculum to their students, under the consultation of FOCUS facilitators. FOCUS facilitators will provide three different expeditions: a fall and a winter expedition at the school's location, and a spring culminating expedition at the FOCUS Challenge Ropes Course site in Saco, Maine. Educators receive the curriculum, monthly consultation, and preparation sessions from the FOCUS facilitator and can utilize FOCUS props. This program has been provided at Westbrook Middle School and Saco Middle School.
  2. FOCUS contracts with schools for eight to twelve (the number of sessions depends on the client's need) two-hour sessions over the course of a school year with a culminating day on the FOCUS Challenge Ropes Course site in Saco, Maine. FOCUS facilitators deliver the experiential learning program within the school's setting for each session. This program is currently being provided at Greely Middle School 4-5, Skillin and Brown Elementary Schools in South Portland, and at the Dayton Consolidated School.  

Focus Adventure Learning takes place year round.

  • Sampling of clients (read our testimonials):
    Skillin Elementary School, South Portland
    Brown Elementary School, South Portland
    Dayton Consolidated School, RSU 23
    Greely Middle School 4-5, Cumberland
    Saco Middle School Behavioral Program, Saco
    Old Orchard Beach High School Alternative Education Program, Old Orchard Beach
    Bonny Eagle 8th grade Alternative Education Program, Standish

Contact FOCUS today and see how your group can benefit

Contacting 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

Stories From Our Ropes Course Participants

I always look forward to a trip to Sweetser. The ropes course is an adventure, presenting new challenges that always get harder. No matter how many times I go to Sweetser, I always leave with new growth as a leader. The ropes course brings a team together, making it more of a family at the end...

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