–2010 The first activity was a week-long day camp for a co-ed, multiage group of youngsters from the community who lacked the opportunity to go to a summer camp or otherwise participate with other young people during summer vacation. Charlene, Tim McLaughlin, Barry Aruda, Jeff Sawyer and Kevin Mason volunteered their time. Participants learned to drum on plastic buckets, tie dyed T-shirts, decorated a float and participated in a community parade as well as enjoyed hiking and inner tubing on the Ossippee River.
Based on the success of this effort, Charlene was granted funds from MSAD55 to start TGIF. With Jeff Sawyer as co facilitator, this became the model for ARC “After School Adventures”.
A Board of Directors was formed and an application for nonprofit status was submitted
—2011 A nonprofit status was granted and an application for funding was submitted to the Maine Community Foundation. ARC “After School Adventures” began and continued through 2015. At this time, the focus was preventing school drop-outs. ARC worked closely with school administrators, social workers and counselors who identified youngsters who might benefit from “After School Adventures”. What made this program unique is that barriers to participation were avoided. For example, lack of transportation prevents some youngsters for participating in programs outside school hours. Our participants were picked up directly after school, taken on the “adventure” and then, after a communal meal, driven to their home. Furthermore, as ARC is not a school program, participants who might be suspended or truant are encouraged to participate with a goal of keeping them connect to healthy options. We have never, in three years, expelled a participant nor have any of our members dropped out of school.
—2012 ARC “After School Adventures” continue. Typical “adventures” included learning to rappel by working with a White Mountain guide, learning about building a sod house, visiting the Museum of African Culture, learning to throw pottery on a wheel, riding a ferry to Peaks Island, tackling a ropes course, swimming, snowboarding visiting a lighthouse, making a movies, shopping for groceries and preparing a healthy, economical meal and learning about logging with horses. Community service was an important component of the program. Participants volunteered at a wolf sanctuary, an animal shelter and a local library. Many of the “adventures” were hikes in the mountains that surround our lovely river valley.
—2013, 2014 With funds from the Roxanne Quimby Foundation, Bangor Savings Bank, the Sacopee Recreation Council, Jobs for Maine Graduates, Maine Community Foundation and an annual appeal, ARC Adventures continue.
—2015 The summer, week-long day camp model was revisited with a “Farm Art Camp” for middle school girls and a coed “Adventure Camp”. Middle school boys had an opportunity to spend the night at the camp of a Maine Guide and, during Christmas vacation, youngsters rode a train and visited an art exhibit.
—2016 ARC received a grant from the Maine Department of Corrections to provide programming for high school students identified by Christy McAllister, School Resource Officer. ARC collaborated with Silas Hagerty of Smooth Feather Productions and utilized the old movie theater in Kezar Falls which Hagerty purchased and is restoring. This “opened the door” to an opportunity for ARC to broaden service to the community and youth, in particular.