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Waban - Making a difference in the lives of children and adults with disabilities for over 40 years

Waban Timeline

Photos from the beginning


  •  In 1966 Waban was founded as a summer camp with a volunteer staff of 72, a rented prison trailer, two army surplus tents, and borrowed land.  Twenty-six day campers were served.
  • In 1967 the waterfront piece of property was purchased and the first camp session was held at the present location on Bauneg Beg Lake in Sanford.
  • In 1968 an additional 165 acres were purchased and additional buildings were erected.


  • In 1971 a vocational program for the 16- to 20-year olds was started.
  • In 1972 a program for 3-5 year olds with special needs was established.
  • In 1976 the Adult Development Center was started to serve adults with special needs over the age of 20.


  • In 1981 a $247,000 expansion was financed through the Farmers Home Administration and was used to add 2,800 square feet to the Adult program facility, 675 square feet to the Country Store, and a new septic waste system at the camp end of the facility.
  • In 1984 Brookwood, a nursing home for adults with developmental disabilities, was established to serve 10 individuals who were multiply handicapped.
  • In 1986 the Elm Street boarding home for six adults who have minimum needs was opened.
  • In 1988 the Wormwood Center, an all-purpose building, was dedicated.  The total cost of $300,000 was raised through a Capital Campaign by a group of volunteers.
  • In 1988 the School Street boarding home for six adults was purchased and opened.
  • In 1988 the Child Development Center was expanded to include a classroom for 3-5 year olds with multiple disabilities.  An assessment component was also added.


  • In 1991 two people moved from one of the boarding homes into a supervised apartment.
  • In 1993 two homes for people from Pineland were opened: The Morrells Mill Home, which was new construction, serves four older people; and the Windmill Farm Home, which was renovated, serves four people who needed a more active residential program.
  • In 1994 an Infant Toddler Program was added to the Child Development Center.  This outreach program offers therapies, parent-child playgroup, case management and other family support services to children age birth to two. 
  • In 1995 a three-apartment house on Main Street in Springvale was purchased so that five adults with special needs could live in a more independent living situation.
  • In 1996 the East One Home was built on Waban land for four adults with multiple needs.
  • In 1996 the sheltered workshop component of the Adult Development Center began operations as The Work Center and moved to new space at the Mid-Town Mall in downtown Sanford.
  • In 1997 the Cove Street apartments in Sanford were opened to serve four people who are able to live semi-independently.
  • In 1997 a small house next to the Main Street apartments in Springvale became home to two women able to live with a minimum of supervision.
  • In the fall of 1997 the Waban Coastal Children’s Program was started in Arundel and serves 16 children age 3-5 who have special needs.
  • In 1998 a house on 2 Day Street in Kennebunk was donated to Waban by Bob Fortier, a local businessman.  Four adults who are able to live semi-independently occupy the two upstairs apartments.  Four people who previously lived in Waban’s nursing home live in the downstairs.  Brookwood was renamed Cottage Hill and is home to four adults with multiple needs.
  • In 1998 an Infant-Toddler Program was added to the Coastal Children’s Program in Arundel.
  • In 1998 an in-home program, now know as “Habilitation Services, where staff go into the home of the child to provide services, was added to the Child Development Center Programs.
  • In 1998 the Lenox Street Home and the Old Mill Road duplex were purchased to make available housing for seven adults with special needs.
  • In the winter of 1999 the construction of a 4,360 square foot office building was started.  In addition to providing much-needed space for administration, additional staff training and therapy areas were made available.

2000 - 2005

  • In January 2000 The Work Center moved to new space on Pleasant Street in Springvale for its expanded services in providing in-house work projects, supported employment and community job placement.
  • In the summer of 2000, the Case Management Program was started to assist families in reaching goals particular to their child with special needs through the use of family and community resources.
  • In June 2001, Riverview Street apartments in Sanford were opened to serve three people who are able to live semi-independently.
  • In July 2001 The Work Center on Pleasant Street in Springvale acquired additional space to accommodate its increased operations and to be able to serve more consumers.
  • In May 2002, the Country Club Road home in Sanford opened to serve three adults able to live independently with supervision.
  • In June 2002, the Dubois Drive home in Sanford opened to become home for three adults with developmental disabilities who have varied needs for support.
  • In July 2002, the Work Center acquired additional space and expanded its operations on Pleasant Street in Springvale.
  • In March 2003, the Essex Street home in Sanford opened to serve three adults with developmental disabilities.
  • In March 2004, an apartment was added onto the Country Club Road home to allow 1 adult to live semi-independently.
  • In July 2004, the Adult Development Center and the Work Center were combined in the newly renovated Life Works building located at 102 Pleasant Street in Springvale.  The program was designed to help adults with developmental disabilities live their lives to the fullest extent possible and offers opportunities for all to explore new avenues of learning, acquire new skills, spend quality time with peers and to be active members of their community. Life Works provides opportunities for learning in four distinct areas:  Health & Fitness, Independent Living Skills, Community Integration, and Employment.
  • In October 2004, the Family Support Services building which houses Case Management, Habilitation Services and the Residential offices opened on Dunaway Drive.
  • In March 2005, the North Avenue home in Sanford opened to serve 4 adults in 2 separate apartments.
  • In May of 2005, Life Works received a 3 year national accreditation from the Council on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). 

2006 - 2010

  • In the spring of 2006, the Independent Support Services program was started.  This program helps support adults with developmental disabilities to live by themselves or with roommates in the community and in their own apartments.
  • In the winter of 2007, a collaboration with the University of New Hampshire and NorthEast Passage resulted in the on-site presence of a graduate student in therapeutic recreation and  the early stage development of a Therapeutic Recreation program based out of Camp Waban.
  • In 2008, Waban took over the operation of the Colby Lane home in Kennebunk and provided ongoing residential care to 3 adults.
  • In the spring of 2009, a 4-unit building in Springvale,520 Main Street, was purchased thereby providing single bedroom individual apartments for 4 women who are supported through the Independent Support Services program.
  • The grand opening of a 4-season, fully accessible, and energy efficient Bathhouse, that provides full restroom and shower facilities adjacent to the waterfront, took place in 2009 and completed Phase 1 of a 3-phase plan to transform Summer Camp into a 4-season therapeutic recreation and experiential education learning center.
  • In 2009 a new classroom at the Child Development Center, which focused on working with children with emotional and behavioral issues, was opened.
  • A common space in the Child Development Center was remodeled and converted to another classroom for children with Autism in 2010.
  • Waban's first social enterprise, Secure Records Management System, that provides confidential information destruction services while creating jobs for people with disabilities began operations in 2010 with the assistance of a $40,000 Community Development Block Grant.In 2011, a $295,000 grant from Maine Housing led to the purchase and renovation of 5 Colby Lane in Kennebunk into 3 units of accessible housing enabling a young adult with severe autism to have safe housing and appropriate programming.
2011 - Present
  • A collaboration with Sanford Housing Authority leveraged $700,000 of grants leading to the purchase and renovation of 7 Riverview Street in Sanford into 3 units of accessible housing and the acquisition of 2 Whitcomb Avenue in Sanford that will be transformed into 5 units of accessible housing.
  • In September 2013, Whitcomb Avenue, a three bedroom semi accessible ranch located in a quiet neighborhood in Sanford opened.  Three individuals live there who have varied needs for accessibility and staff support.
  • In October 2013, Ridley Road, Waban’s 3rd home specializing in supports for adults with Autism opened.  The three bedroom ranch is located off of Shaw’s Ridge in Sanford.  Renovations began shortly after to convert one of the garage bays and the breezeway into a fully accessible bedroom and bath suite.  Three individuals with Autism currently reside there.
  • Wormwood Banquet and Conference Center, a lakeside banquet and conference center located in Southern Maine, comfortably accommodates both small and large groups of up to 150 people, situated in a lovely wooded setting on the waterfront of Bauneg Beg Lake in Sanford, now rents to the general public.  Click here  for more information on the Wormwood Banquet and Conference Center visit the website.
  • In July 2014, the new TREE Experiential Education Center, previously known as the Commons, opened and will serve as a 4-season hub for the TREE Program for Teambuilding, Recreation and Environmental Education. It will house the meeting and lab space for Environmental Education, rental space for recreational equipment, the “Commons Café” and staff offices, as well as display areas for program activities. Click here to visit the new TREE website!