How does communication work while the students are in the program?


Family Updates

We provide bi-monthly phone updates for families as a courtesy and so we are all on the same page as we progress with the student. This occurs on the first and third week of the month (typically Wednesday or Thursday).

For information necessary for all families, we utilize nwrr@northwoodsrr.com.

Each individual student is established with a portal through Simple Practice; this is the primary platform for communication with the therapist.  Families can utilize a messaging feature to ask questions, express thoughts, and even upload documents.

It is important for families to understand that our primary focus is the student. We completely understand that family is important, however in the initial programming, it is important that we put our emphasis on the student’s needs.

With the challenges of this process and recognition that the change occurring is not solely to the student, we highly recommend each family member seek  individual counseling to help them process their thoughts and feelings.

Family to Student Communication

Communication with students’ families and friends is encouraged and done by writing letters. This allows for time to process the information and give thoughtful responses rather than immediate emotions.

Important Note

As a general rule, we do not provide our personal cell phone numbers or information. It is important that when not doing work, we have time to recharge so we are able to continue to provide our students our best selves.

What activities are you doing during the winter months?

During the winter months, little changes.

We shift our fitness and sports related activities and participate in things such as basketball and skiing.

Our wilderness continues to include hiking and camping as the weather allows, and we add in activities such as snowshoeing and ice-fishing.

Farming focuses on animal care and pruning of the trees, along with various projects that are needed.


How much does the program cost? Do you take insurance?

Residential Program

Monthly tuition is $7,500.

Upon admission, the initial month is prorated based on the date of admission at $250 per day. For each month thereafter, payment is due on the 1st of the month.

Transitional Program

Transitional programming is broken into four steps and tuition is reflective of the level of support required for successful progress through each step. The tuition is listed below.

Step 1: $7,500 per month – Acquisition of employment and/or attendance in school

Step 2: $7,500 per month – Re-acquainting with phone and social media

Step 3: $5,000 per month – Independent living and budgeting

Step 4: $500-$2500 per month – Maintenance

Experience Africa

$7,500 — Please see the Experience Africa page for details on what is covered.

This is in addition to program tuition.

Family Counseling

$1250 per couple, additional $250 for all others per session. (3 Sessions per offering)

  • Please note:

Insurance is not accepted for our services at Northwoods. We do utilize insurance when available for outside needs, such as medication management/counseling.

We are able to provide documentation for therapy services and psychiatry so that you may seek reimbursement for those services from your insurance company.

What is the minimum stay?

Residential Program

Minimum of 90 days with additional stay as determined appropriate and necessary for sustainable change.

During this time, we assess each student, observe attitudes and behaviors, and begin working on the goals they developed during their intake.

Unlike other facilities, we know there is not a magic number in terms of student development and progress. Some students may only require 90 days while others may need more.

Be wary of facilities that require longer or more arbitrary time frames for students’ successful completion; since every student is different, so are their therapeutic needs.

Transitional Services

This typically requires a minimum of 3-6 months. This includes a slow progressive step toward independence, accounting for the needs of the student and seeking the highest likelihood of success.

Check out the Transitional Programming page for details of the process and steps we utilize.

What is your success rate?

Many folks ask us what our success rate is. We have always found this to be a challenge- to give a percentage or attach a number to the success of an individual and their various areas of struggle.

Do we do as many other programs do and pick one criterion? No.

What is that criteria? Holding employment? Reduced anxiety? Depression? And then from whose perspective do we view this? Parents? Family? The student?

Rather than looking at our students and choosing any singular area to judge their successes, we look at the overall progress and changes made and assess how long they have sustained those changes.

With this in mind, from our start in 2012 to now 2020, we have served approximately 120.

Of that number of students we have found less than 10% who do not meet our high standard of sustained change.

This means approximately 90% find themselves in a better position to continue improving their lives.

This is not to say that those students have not had bumps along their progress, but more importantly, they have pushed through and continued forward toward their life goals and stability.

There is so much more to factor in with an individual and that is the difference at Northwoods Ranch and Retreat.

Our students are not numbers. They are people that we come to care greatly for and are willing to go above and beyond to help.

This is why Northwoods is the best option for young men needing a chance to change and improve their lives.

What is a normal day like?

6:30 am: Wake-up

6:30 – 7:30 am: Breakfast

7:30 – 9:00 am: Gym/physical fitness

9:00 am: Animal care/house chores

10:00 am: Project/activities

12:00 pm: Lunch

1:00 pm: Project/activities

5:00 pm: Dinner

7:00 pm: Evening chores

8:00 pm: Rest/downtime

10:00 pm: Lights out

Each day varies at Northwoods.

Days include agricultural projects, sports activities, group and individual counseling, wilderness outings, and a variety of both physically and mentally beneficial activities.

As a small individualized program, we are able to adjust what we do to fit the needs of the students, better targeting the areas of concern and guiding them through the process of change.

How many other young men will be in the program with my son?

Northwoods Ranch & Retreat strives to maintain a low student to staff ratio.

Max Residential Students = 8.

At times of transition while current students are moving to their next venture and new students come to the program, this number may vary.

As part of our unique program, we understand the more personalized attention each student receives, the greater their opportunity for success.

Can students get a job during the residential program?

Students may not obtain a job during the residential stay.

Can students have electronics?

Personal internet accessible devices are not permitted at Northwoods Ranch & Retreat (iPods, iPads, PSP, etc.).

Phones are not permitted at Northwoods Ranch & Retreat during attendance in residential services along with Step 1 of their transitional programming.

Students are encouraged to write their families regularly to update them on their progress.

Once students enter the Transitional Program, they may have a cell phone, as well as all electronics (limited during initial transition).

The residential period is a crucial time for us to understand the inner processes, socialization, needs, and development of our students. It is our experience that this is complicated by outside influences and distractions. In order for us to achieve the most comprehensive and thorough assessment possible during this time, complete attention to our curriculum is required.

Do students get to go home for visits?

Home visits are not permitted during residential programming.

Students continuing into our Transitional Program may be permitted to return home for visits after discussion and determination by the family and Northwoods Counseling Services.

This depends on job search, work schedule, and health of family dynamic.

Can families visit?

During the residential programming, visits are not permitted.

After approximately 75 days into the residential program, families are invited and encouraged to attend the Family Counseling.

This may be later than 75 days if it is determined that a student or family is not ready for the necessary work or that it would be detrimental to the student’s progress.

Are there any disorders or behaviors that will disqualify a student from enrollment?

Yes, due to the unique nature of our program there are disorders and behaviors that are not conducive to the therapeutic environment provided by Northwoods Ranch & Retreat.

We will not accept students who exhibit behavior that has the potential to diminish that environment for other students.

Our Student Submission is one tool we utilize to gather necessary information for admission, and is designed to help us determine if a student will benefit from our program.

If Northwoods Ranch & Retreat is not a fit for your son/family member, we will be happy to recommend a program that may be more appropriately suited for his or her needs.

Can I send a package or letter?

Student mail is sent to: P.O. Box 793 Newport, Maine 04402. All mail must be labeled In Care of Northwoods.

All mail for Northwoods Ranch & Retreat can be mailed to P.O. Box 793 Bangor, Maine 04402.

Packages mailed through UPS or FedEx can be mailed to a separate address that will be given when package is approved – No packages will be accepted without prior approval, this is for all mailing services.

Online, you will see our address as 283 Dow Rd, Orrington. This is our ranch and the home of Devin & Melissa.

We do not list the address to the retreat to maintain privacy of our students.

What is the difference between Northwoods in Maine vs Georgia?


The main difference is that of location, while much of the same platform is utilized throughout.

Maine vs Georgia


ME = Donkeys, Chickens, Goats, and Gardening

GA = Horses, Hogs, and Gardening


ME and GA utilze the available landscapes to hike, swim, canoe, and in the case of GA horseback ride.

One other similar but important difference is that of the sports and physical fitness.

In Maine we go to the gym regularly while in Georgia the physical component is more related to larger farm work.

Both programs volunteer, however there is more of an emphasis on this in GA.


What do the students eat?

Students get a balanced diet of foods that are both healthy and realistic to what they would eat in the real world.

Please click below to see an example menu.

Meal Menu