Trescott learning center celebrates 10 years

By Sharon Kiley Mack, BDN Staff
Posted Sept. 29, 2009, at 11:24 p.m.

TRESCOTT, Maine — Tuesday was Stewardship Day at Cobscook Community Learning Center, and the air was filled with the sounds of hammers, saws, machinery and the smell of fresh paint.

But overriding all were the sounds of laughter, excitement and optimism.

CCLC this week is celebrating 10 years of serving Greater Lubec and Cobscook Bay, with an event or gathering every day.

From a well-attended music and pizza night Monday, to a day of traditional arts Friday, to guided hikes and paddling adventures, to an all-day concert and feast on Saturday, each event represents the goals of the center.

Part education, part enrichment and part community gathering place, CCLC is a many-faceted organization whose main mission is hard to define, according to Penny Guisinger, director of development.

Rooted in creating a safe and nurturing environment, CCLC does everything from working with pregnant teenagers to help them complete high school, creating a community garden, firing up the wheel in the pottery studio, to holding an outdoor concert.

Trying to define CCLC is like trying to grasp mercury: It’s beautiful, rare yet functional, but unable to be nailed down.

Guisinger used the old tale of five blindfolded men touching an elephant as a metaphor.

“Each man felt something different — a trunk, a tail, an ear,” Guisinger said. “That’s what CCLC is. Something different for every participant. CCLC is what our community wants it to be.”

Want to learn to cook Thai food? CCLC will try to find a teacher.

How about needing a computer room to study in? There’s a library and computer center right next to the children’s care room at CCLC.

Need to rent a commercial kitchen to develop a blueberry jam recipe? There is one at CCLC.

How about a retreat for a dozen at-risk teenagers? Guided hikes and canoe trips may fit the bill.

The campus includes three educational and enrichment buildings as well as a caretaker’s home. There is a bandstand and stage; miles of hiking trails that abut state conservation lands and an extensive trail network; workshops and classrooms.

“I think people come here to catch their breath and recharge,” Guisinger said.

Charley Martin-Perry, director of Passages, a CCLC program that supports pregnant teens who want to finish their high school education, said, “A lot of people come to CCLC for specific reasons. One person may come for the music. Another may come for the fiber arts classes, paddling classes, weaving. But the one thing they all find here is community.”

Alan Furth called the center a seed bed. “You can look at any facet of CCLC and know that it accepts and supports those aspects of community that bind the participants with love and respect,” he said. “This is a beautiful place to gather.”

CCLC provides bridges to and from the greater community, Martin-Perry said. “People come here to receive and end up offering,” she said. “All of the programming that is here now is because someone asked for it. This is a community-driven initiative.”

CCLC focuses not just on the personal experience of a visitor, but rather on the greater good. “It is a circle for social change,” Furth said. “This model is fresh and unique and can be a model for other poor, rural communities to help develop healthy environments.”

CCLC supports itself through grants, foundations, sponsors and The Friends of CCLC, and is just about to kick off a major capital campaign. The money will be used to construct a lodge complete with a large conference room, special classrooms and dormitory rooms.

The lodge can be used for retreats, immersion classes, Elderhostel stays, youth camps and many other purposes.

CCLC soon also will establish “The Community Year,” a one-year alternative program for high school students that will provide for-credit experiences in community building.

“In 10 years, where do we want to be?” Martin-Perry asked. “Thriving, engaging and connecting. That’s where we want to be.”

This week’s 10th anniversary celebration includes guided hikes of Commissary Point at 10 a.m., noon and 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30; a canoe and kayak paddle at noon Thursday, Oct. 1. Reservations are requested at 733-2233.

Traditional arts, such as blacksmithing, pottery, weaving, timber framing and music will be offered 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3. A dinner, dessert and dialogue party will be held at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, $5 per person. An all-day concert and feast will be held 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, with a fee of $10 for all you can eat, music free. Performers include Laurie Jones, Michael Cooney, Gary Cook, the Black Socks String Band, Kelly Bryand, Mark Tipton, David Wilder, r.e. bell, Warren Foley and more.

CCLC is located on Route 189 between U.S. Route 1 and Lubec.

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http://bangordailynews.com/2009/09/29/news/trescott-learning-center-celebrates-10-years/ printed on August 1, 2014