BRUNSWICK, Maine — A new fund has been created to help children in financial need participate in the Parks and Recreation Department’s summer vacation camp program.
And the fund is being named after a former participant in the program who passed away nearly 2½ years ago.
The Alex Labbe Fund was created by unanimous approval of the Town Council on Monday, at the request of Parks and Recreation Director Thomas Farrell on behalf of Labbe’s parents, Peter and Judy.
Farrell said he knew Alex Labbe personally as a “spirited young guy who participated actively in our summer playground program” and faced a heart condition that ultimately took his life in 2010 at the age of 13.
“He was the type of child that was recognized not only by adults but his peer group. [They] really had a sensitive, genuine, caring, compassionate attitude towards Alex,” Farrell said. “He was a vivacious kid, great bright personality, respected by the staff and his peers and I know many, many in the School Department as well.”
Farrell said Labbe’s parents had already raised funds to help needy children attend the summer camp in the past two years.
“We’ve been meeting for a few months and we feel collectively there’s potential to raise considerable money, to help far more children being able to access this program,” Farrell said.
He said Labbe’s parents have already indicated “a willingness to spearhead a communitywide entertainment event that could generate significant dollars.” Funds could also be raised through a Web-based system, he added.
Farrell said the Parks and Recreation Department receives about 10-20 requests a year for financial assistance in paying for the camp program, which can cost more than $500 depending on the length of attendance.
After some questions from councilors about how the funds will be handled, the council passed a resolution to create the fund in a 9-0 vote.
The resolution also creates the Alex Labbe Scholarship Summer Vacation Camp Award Committee, which will be made up of Farrell, Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Troy Smith and Labbe’s parents.
In other business, the council scheduled separate public hearings on a proposed rewrite of the ordinance governing the downtown review process, and on a management plan for land conveyed from the U.S. Navy.
The public hearing for the ordinance overhaul of the Village Review Zone, which will make major changes to how development proposals are reviewed within the historic downtown district, will be held July 8.
The public hearing for the open space management plan will be held June 17.