BUCKSPORT, Maine — Volunteers working to raise funds to send RSU 25 seventh-graders to a spring session at the Camp Kieve Leadership School have moved closer to their goal.
As of Thursday, the effort had passed the halfway mark toward the goal of raising $14,000 so that every seventh-grade student at the Bucksport Middle School will have the opportunity to attend the five-day program in April.
Camp Kieve has operated in Nobleboro since 1981. The program combines both group and individual work in a variety of interactive and adventure-based activities that address issues that youngsters face daily.
“Kieve helps kids entering their teenage years by giving them the skills they need to make healthy decisions for themselves,” said middle school counselor Stan Pelletier. “They work on things such as leadership, communication skills, decision-making and problem-solving skills. There are a number of skills that kids really need, in addition to the academic skills they learn, to be successful, not just in school or in their careers, but in general.”
The Camp Kieve trip has been a tradition at Orland Consolidated School for nearly 20 years, according to Pelletier. When Orland joined with Bucksport, Prospect and Verona Island to form RSU 25, parents wanted to continue to offer that program for students. All of Orland middle school students now attend classes at Bucksport Middle School.
“When we went into Bucksport, we decided to see if we could bring participation over to Bucksport from Orland,” Pelletier said.
There are about 70 seventh-grade students from the four towns attending the Bucksport Middle School and, at a cost of $195 per student for the five-day program at Camp Kieve, the total that needs to be raised is close to $14,000.
Although funding for the Camp Kieve program initially had been a line item in the Orland school budget, financial constraints eventually forced parents, students and volunteers to raise the funds separately. This year has been no different.
Pelletier said the group has tried to focus fundraising activities that involve the kids and the community.
They organized a 5k race and a fun run that attracted about 150 people, and the students raised more than $1,000 during a readathon. The most recent event was a community spelling bee that pitted teams of husbands against teams of their wives.
“That was a lighthearted affair,” he said.
While reaching the halfway fundraising mark has been a milestone, and the school board has given final approval to a contract with Camp Kieve for the five-day session in April, the group still has some work to do.
Pelletier said supporters have an ongoing bottle drive in Prospect, Bucksport and Orland, and in January, the group will provide the labor force for a regional cheerleading competition in Bucksport. There also are opportunities for donors to sponsor a student.
Anyone interested in donating or in learning more about the program can call Pelletier at 469-6647 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.