Authors’ Night supports camp for economically disadvantaged children | Local News
STONEHAM, Maine – You might be wondering why so many writers gave their time and energy for Authors’ Nights and Zoom Tours to raise funds for a summer camp.
It’s because they know Camp Susan Curtis has made a real difference in the lives of hundreds of young Mainers.
Located on the shores of Trout Pond in Stoneham (about half an hour north of Bridgton), its mission is to provide a camp experience that nurtures self-confidence and a sense of belonging in klds facing challenges. economic.
“We firmly believe that the future of every child in Maine has value and promise,” said Executive Director Kathryn Pierce.
“We know that access to opportunities and positive adult role models are powerful forces in enabling children to realize their value and promise. This is what we do at Camp Susan Curtis – we unleash the potential of Maine children with few economic resources – and the support provided by Evening with Maine Authors is essential to help us do this.
About 500 Maine children between the ages of 8 and 18, split equally between boys and girls, attend camp each summer.
The camp, which has been in existence for almost 50 years, offers two weeks of programming for every eligible low-income child. The programs are designed to develop leadership and other social skills, literacy, and educational support in a traditional summer camp.
Not only do the authors participate in dinner parties and auctions to raise funds for the camp, but many of them volunteer to come to the camp to talk to the children and lead them in writing workshops.
Long-time supporter of the program, novelist Bruce Coffin, who is the lead author of next week’s Evening with Maine Authors fundraiser night, visited the camp as an artist to lead a painting program. outdoors for campers.
While he has since hung up his brush for a pen, Coffin called the work with the campers inspiring and said: “Anything I can do to help them is in it.”
Last year Elizabeth Strout was the star of the Authors’ Night and also visited the camp to meet and work with the children, and author Caitlin Shetterly, who helps organize the author’s events, took to also went to the camp to organize writing workshops.
Shetterly is also a former junior camp counselor at Camp Susan Curtis and said she was moved and changed by her work with the campers.
“It’s a rewarding job,” she said upon seeing the campers, many of whom “for the first time in their lives, are eating three regular meals a day, and no one is going to hurt them and no one is going to eat. “worried about something all the time. They have fun, they learn skills and they learn that they are not alone. It makes them stronger.”
Those involved see the camp as a lifeline that changes people’s lives. The 46th season of the camp took place in 2020 and it will be held again this summer.
Pierce said in his 2020 Annual Report: “Each summer we are inspired by the persistence of our campers as they try new activities that challenge them to face their fears, rely on their peers and to broaden their vision of the world. It’s remarkable how much they grow through these experiences.
“This summer, we followed their lead and stayed true to our camp season despite the challenges posed by COVID-19. “
During their stay, campers who at home may face food instability, get healthy meals as well as outdoor activities that provide exercise and time in nature.
Many campers return year after year, as camp records show, and those attending four years or more are almost guaranteed to graduate from high school and most go on to graduate school or the military.
The Susan L. Curtis Foundation was founded in 1971 and is named after the daughter of Governor of Maine, Ken Curtis, who tragically died at the age of 11 of cystic fibrosis, an incurable lung disease.
Camp Susan Curtis is the most visible aspect of the foundation, which also offers programming throughout the year.
The foundation also provides learning opportunities for campers throughout the school year through CSC’s Leaders program.
It also added mobile teams and virtual programming to reach campers who couldn’t attend in person and provide activities throughout the summer and send campers home with bags of shelf-stable food.
The Night with the Maine Authors has become a key fundraising event for the camp, raising over $ 25,000 in 2019 (it was put on hold in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic). The was developed by architect John Cole of Arlington, Mass., And Fryeburg, Maine, and fellow board member Jon Deveaux.
The foundation’s fundraising is not focused on the needs of the camp facilities but on the children, and the dollars translate directly into stays at the camp.
It costs about $ 1,200 to send a child to camp for two weeks.
The lack of events like the Evening with the Maine Authors affected fundraising last year, but Deveaux and Cole did other email fundraisers to make up for this loss, and the event this year added a large charity auction to help as well.