HOULTON — It was an opportunity Andrea Nadeau and Kate Morneault couldn’t pass up.
Nadeau and Morneault, juniors on the Fort Kent High School girls soccer team, had a chance to work as counselors at Camp Sunshine in Casco earlier this month, and they both jumped at the chance.
“We were really interested in it, so we got to go as a group,” Morneault said recently. “There were about nine of us.”
Camp Sunshine provides respite, support, joy and hope to children with life-threatening illnesses and their immediate families through various stages of a child’s illness.
Nadeau and Morneault are part of a youth ministry in Fort Kent, and wanted to go last summer but couldn’t. They were joined by seven other local youths on the trip.
“You have to be 16 to go so neither one of us could go [in 2009],” Morneault said.
This time around, even though both players missed the first week of double sessions, they learned some valuable lessons.
Nadeau and Morneault even shared those experiences in an assigned paper they both wrote.
“One of the things I said in my paper, what we learned that week isn’t something that we’ve ever learned or we’ll ever be able to learn in a school,” Nadeau said.
The participants at Camp Sunshine range from babies to teenagers, and Nadeau said it will be fairly easy bringing those lessons to the soccer field as the Warriors drive for supremacy in Class C.
“We think about things a lot differently now and appreciate them a lot more,” Nadeau said. “Our small problems are nothing compared to their problems.”
The five days the players spent at Camp Sunshine were admittedly tiring, particularly the five-hour ride to and from the St. John Valley, but it was certainly worth it.
“[The kids] just smile all the time. We were just so happy to be there,” Morneault said.
It was difficult for Nadeau and Morneault to write about their experiences in their respective papers, which were assigned since they had missed a week of double sessions.
“Some people don’t understand what you learned, but our papers were a great way for us to explain how much we went through and how much we learned,” Nadeau said.
The players also enjoyed meeting campers and volunteers from outside of Maine.
Both Nadeau and Morneault will figure prominently in Fort Kent’s soccer plans this fall. The Warriors are off to a 2-0-1 start, with the tie coming against Class B contender Caribou, heading into Tuesday night’s home clash with St. John Valley rival and neighbor Madawaska.
Morneault said the experience at Camp Sunshine also helped both players mature a little bit.
“We learned a lot more just this summer than we did in our first two years of soccer,” Morneault said.
Caribou boys win MDI Relays
The Caribou boys cross country team, the two-time defending Eastern Maine Class B champions, showed that it hasn’t lost a step in the Mount Desert Island Relays over the weekend.
Junior Caleb Chapman posted the day’s fastest time over the 1.82-mile course at 9 minutes, 50 seconds.
More importantly, he also ran the final leg for coach Roy Alden’s club and that fast time enabled the Vikings to erase a 34-second deficit to York and claim the team title by three seconds.
Caribou’s four runners compiled a time of 41:43 to York’s 41:46.
The York girls wound up winning that race with a total of 49:40 while John Bapst of Bangor was 1:26 back.
Old Town’s Dacie Manion was the top individual, traversing the course in 11:36. Presque Isle’s Alecia Palmer was just a second off Manion’s pace, finishing in 11:37.
Sisters Adrienne Carmack and Mary Carmack, Maggie Bryan and Laura Donovan made up the Crusaders’ second-place squad. Adrienne Carmack notched the fastest time at 11:52, placing her fifth among individuals.
Caribou also went on to win the Mixed division, in which two girls and two boys alternate legs.
The Vikings’ foursome of Christian Sleeper, Dayna Michaud, Mary Jo Sheehan and Jesse Sandstrom collaborated for a time of 46:11.