For over 50 years, we’ve provided essential services to thousands of adults and kids.
In 1966 Camp Waban was founded in Sanford, Maine. Its first year, the camp hosted 28 campers with 32 volunteer staff members. The camp was envisioned as a retreat, where children with intellectual and developmental disabilities could have fun, share experiences and learn about nature. Over the years, Waban has adapted its programming and services to best meet the needs of its community, evolving to set the highest standards of care.
In the 1970s, Camp Waban began to transform into a more expansive social resource, starting with the launch of a young adult vocational program in 1971 and, the following year, a developmental therapy program for younger children. In 1976, Waban began providing adult day services.
The 1980s saw a large number of new kids and adults participating in Waban’s programs, as the nonprofit continued to expand its offerings. In 1982, the Country Store was opened to serve Waban’s users and the community. In that year, a larger adult services building also opened. Two years later Brookwood was launched, Waban’s first group home for adults with disabilities. A second group home, Elm Street, was opened in 1986 and a third, School Street, in 1988.
In the late 1980s, the social enterprise Wormwood Center, a banquet facility on the pond run by and supporting Waban’s program users, was inaugurated and the child development center was expanded.
support and independence
In its third decade, the organization focused on meeting the most fundamental needs of their community members: independence, purpose, advocacy and resources.
In the early 1990s, Waban opened its first supervised apartments to offer more independence to residential users. In 1993, two new group homes were opened for former residents of Pineland Farms.
A year later, an infant and toddler program was started at the child development center. The following year three new residences in neighboring Springvale, Maine, followed by a residential program in Kennebunk, were opened.
By the turn of the millennium, Waban had further expanded its child services, had 13 residential projects and group homes, and was working on a new main office building in Sanford.
Focusing on family
The organization’s programming shifted significantly in the early 2000s, as Waban recognized the immense impact of early intervention and family support in the long-term well-being of those with disabilities.
In 2000, Waban launched their children’s case management services. Over the next three years, as a new group home was opened annually, the organization continued to promote its family and child resources.
In 2004, a new family support services building was opened on the main campus.
Two years later, Waban began offering in-home support to adults, further bolstering the independence of its program users.
In 2007, work began on the TREE Center, a four-seasons, experiential learning program taking advantage of the natural setting of Waban. Waban also launched onsite therapeutic rehabilitation services, opened two new group homes in Kennebunk and Springvale and expanded their infrastructure on the waterfront.
In 2010, Waban began a new social enterprise, SecureRMS, a secure document destruction company. A number of adult Members of Waban work at Secure RMS.
In 2011 Waban developed its first universally accessible hiking loop and, in that same year, opened a second home for adults with severe autism. The following year, two additional group homes were launched, experiential environmental programs started at TREE Center and a new vocational program for young adults began.
In 2013 a third home for adults with severe autism opened. A year later, staff and volunteers finished work on the establishment of two and a half miles of universally accessible hiking trails.
In the mid-2010s, SecureRMS expanded its business and moved into a new, 15,000-square-foot building.
To respond to the expanding presence of autism, Waban expanded its focus on the Fraser-Ford Child Development Center. Now an expansive facility and valuable resource for children with intellectual disabilities, the center includes new autism classrooms and the adaptation of the ACE autism curriculum. As Waban continued to open new residential programs for adults, a $1 million capital campaign enabled the creation of an autism therapy wing at the child development center.