Our Philosophy

The “No Discount” policy means that a person cannot put themselves or anyone else down. When someone puts another person down others say “no discount” or “no dis.” This policy provides a safe and positive environment in which students, as well as staff, feel free to take risks and challenge themselves without fear of being laughed at.


Challenge by Choice is an idea that we use on the challenge course but it also permeates through the rest of the program. It gives students:

  • The chance to try a potentially difficult and/or frightening challenge in an atmosphere of support and caring.
  • The opportunity to “back off” when performance pressures or self-doubt become too strong, knowing that an opportunity for a future attempt will always be available.
  • The chance to try difficult tasks, recognizing that the attempt is more significant than the performance results.
  • Respect for individual ideas and choices.

Upward Bound is one huge “Challenge by Choice.” We try hard to create a balance between group pressure to challenge each other on and off the challenge course and respecting students’ desires to know their own limits.

From Cowstails and Cobras II A Guide to Games, Initiatives, Ropes Courses, and Adventure Curriculum by Karl Rohnke, 1989, Project Adventure Inc.

Summer Food Program

UMF Upward Bound participates in the USDA Summer Food Service Program.  Meals are the same for all students and are provided to all students free of charge, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

To file a complaint of discrimination, write to or immediately call:

Director, Office of Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410
(800) 795-3272 or (202) 720-6382 (TTY)

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


Bridge Program


Of the 100 students that the UMF Upward Bound project serves during the summer program, 12-18 are Bridge students.

These students have:

  • been in the program for at least one year,
  • graduated from secondary school,
  • been accepted to a University/College for the upcoming fall semester.

The Bridge Summer Component provides participants with services and activities that aid in the transition from high school to post secondary education. It is closely affiliated with the regular Upward Bound Program with several differences.

  • Academic Component
  • The purpose of the academic component is to specifically prepare the students for college. Bridge students attend a college writing class for which they receive four college credits. In each class, students are responsible for attendance and homework.
  • Social/Cultural Component
  • The bridge student residential experience differs from that of other UB students. Bridge students are given more control over what they can and can’t do in order to foster responsibility and to simulate a true college experience.

Bridge students engage in cultural and recreational activities in the same way as other UB students. In addition, bridge students plan and participate in a weekend cultural trip to a large city. Past trips have been made to Boston, New York, Montreal, and Quebec City.

Academic Component

Taking Classes

Classes at Upward Bound

The academic component of the summer program meets the following goals :

  • To motivate participants and to provide them with the opportunity to develop higher level academic competencies.
  • To identify and pursue possible fields of interest.
  • To generate the motivation to succeed.

These are accomplished through required classes, enrichment seminars, study sessions and advanced classes, all design to simulate a college experience. All classroom learning is characterized by a relaxed and supportive atmosphere.

  • Required Classes
    Students are required to take classes in Science, Math, English and Foreign Language. Each student attends 20 hours per week for each class during the summer session.
  • Study Sessions
    The purpose of study sessions are to teach study skills, to allow students to receive tutoring, and to give students a space to complete assigned homework.
    Study sessions are run by academic staff who are available to supervise and to provide assistance. Formal study sessions are held approximately six hours per week for a total of 36 contact hours per participant.
    Students also have full access to UMF’s 24 hour computer lab during supervised study sessions and during free time.
  • Enrichment Seminars
    During the summer, various enrichment seminars provide students with lectures, symposia, debates, and discussion on various topics of interest and importance to high school students that will also help to prepare them for success in college.
    Seminar topics have included self-esteem, endangered species, alternative healing and stress management, the Vietnam Era, date rape and The Human Genome.

Career Component

Maria at work

Career Experience at Hanlon’s Pet Haven


Amanda at work

Career Experience at Franklin Memorial Hospital


The career component of the summer program meets the following goals :

  • To motivate students to plan and pursue career and college paths.
  • To allow students to gain career experience and develop good work habits.
  • To allow students the opportunity to combine a needed income with their Upward Bound education.

The career component is divided into two parts, success seminar and the career and job-shadow program.

Success Seminar:

Success Seminar meets five mornings a week in rotation with the academic classes. The purpose of the success seminar is to advance career, college, and personal development. Seminar activities address student concerns ranging from the personal to the vocational. The activities themselves include films, discussions, speakers, cooperative learning and role playing.

Career Program and Job Shadow Program:

The purpose of the job shadow program and the career program is twofold : to use career experience as a motivator for planning and to allow students to make money.

Before the summer program begins, students are made aware of the kinds of jobs that are available and given a chance to indicate a preference through a questionnaire. Students work up to four hours an afternoon, four afternoons a week.

Students also have the opportunity to job-shadow. Student interests in job shadowing are identified before summer begins. For one or two days these students are able to shadow a professional in an occupation of interest to the student. This gives students the opportunity to gain concrete insight into an occupation while evaluating a career possibility.

Social/Cultural Component

kineowatha park

Swimming at Kineowatha Park

The social/cultural component of the summer program meets the following goals :

  • To expose students to group living and encourage positive interaction with others.
  • To motivate students to manage their time wisely.
  • To introduce students to the arts and other activities not usually available in their communities.


Dorm Life

Dorm life simulates college living. Participants live in a university dorm with males and females living on separate floors. All staff members live in the dorm with the students.



Activities are varied. During all the evenings except Sunday, something is planned. During a typical week, evening activities are as follows :

Monday : Travel Night.

Tuesday : Arts Night.

Wednesday : Advisor Group Night

Thursday : Special Interest Night


Ropes Course


Outdoor Leadership


In an effort of instill leadership, self-confidence and decision making skills in participants, the UMF UB project focuses many of its summer program activities around outdoor challenges.

At the beginning of the summer program, students visit the Dect. Giles Landry Ropes Course in Greene, ME. It consists of a series of obstacles which are the focus of several group oriented tasks. They are designed so that each group must attempt to work out its own solution. As the students work on the problems in groups, taking into account the mental and physical strengths of individuals, each student is given the opportunity to move beyond their limits. While there, students learn valuable leadership skills, group problem solving skills, and increase their sense of personal confidence.

Other outdoor leadership activities include optional summer camping trips that take place on the weekends. Staff supervise the trips, but students are responsible for planning for food, equipment and activities. Trips that have been taken in the past include hiking, biking, and white-water rafting.


Canoeing the Androscoggin

Advisor Groups

Students are divided into groups of seven or eight and are assigned a staff member who acts as their advisor. Each advisor group meets regularly during the summer and helps students develop a sense of belonging.

Every Wednesday is Advisor Group night. This is a time set aside for activities involving just the advisor group. Activities have included speakers, films, and community service.


Advisor Group Lobster Night

Advisor Group Lobster Night