JASON CARTER, a physical-education teacher with Regional School Unit 1, gives the go signal to kids lined up for a dog sledding race at Phippsburg Sportsmen’s Association Winter Youth Field Day on Jan. 13.

JASON CARTER, a physical-education teacher with Regional School Unit 1, gives the go signal to kids lined up for a dog sledding race at Phippsburg Sportsmen’s Association Winter Youth Field Day on Jan. 13.

PHIPPSBURG

Dog sledding, search and rescue, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing were just a few of the events that brought 60 kids and their families out on a foggy, gray Sunday for the fourth annual Winter Youth Field Day sponsored by the Phippsburg Sportsmen’s Association Jan. 13.

Hannah Nelson, a fifth-grader at Fisher-Mitchell School in Bath, participated for the first time and enjoyed the search-and-rescue workshop the best. “We ‘got lost,’’ she said, making air quotation marks over her head with her fingers.

Really, the kids took turns hiding so that Pepsi, a blood hound with the Maine Warden Service, could find them.

“It was my favorite because I liked Pepsi,” Hannah said. “Pepsi was nice.”

Kids were divided into four groups that cycled through the event areas in one-hour increments. The workshops were led by Phippsburg Sportsmen’s Association members and volunteers.

Blaine Carter, a professional dog trainer in Brunswick, provided most of the dogs for the dog sledding workshop led by his son, Jason, a physical-education teacher in Regional School Unit 1.

“I kind of look at dog sledding as skateboarding on snow,” Blaine Carter said. In demonstrating how to help the dogs move the sled, several kids used their skateboarding skills to practice.

“The outdoors is a learned skill. Not all kids are going to be athletes, but there are things they can do outside. These kids have an opportunity to get out of their comfort zones,” Carter said during a break for lunch — free hot dogs, potato chips and cookies served by Phippsburg Sportsmen’s Association members.

Penny Faulkingham, who helped organize the field day, said, “There’s so much to do in Maine in wintertime. This is a way we can get kids off their butts and out doing something even though it’s cold outside.”

“We’ve always done a youth field day in the summer and a few years ago we thought we ought to do a winter one, too, ” said Phippsburg Sportsmen’s Association Vice President Troy Wallace.

Each year, more and more kids and families show up.

In addition to the field days, the association — which has 250 members and considers itself a “very youth oriented club” — raises money to send kids to conservation summer camps, gives away lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, hosts turkey calling contests and ATV rodeos, and other activities.

On Sunday, Feb. 10, the club will host the 14th annual Dickie LeMont “Take A Kid Fishing” Ice Fishing Derby from sunrise to 4 p.m. For information about the derby and other Phippsburg Sportsmen’s Association events, call 443-9426.


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