The 20th annual Atlantic Plunge is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 2. This year’s event will be held in-person and virtual. The in-person event, 11 a.m. at Gooch’s Beach in Kennebunk, is limited to 40 people.

All money raised through registration, pledges, and donations supports Caring Unlimited’s programs and services throughout the year.

The Atlantic Plunge helps ensure that Caring Unlimited is able to provide critical, round-the-clock support and safety planning to family members, friends, and neighbors experiencing abuse in York County.

Registration is $25. Registration for the in-person plunge is limited to 40.  Online registration will close at midnight on Dec. 29. Day-of-event registration will not be available.

Pledges can be collected in person (cash or check), and turned in at the event on Jan. 2, or can be collected securely online by creating a personalized fundraising page when registering. For more information or to register, visit www.caring-unlimited.org/atlantic-plunge.

Kennebunk Savings grant supports launch of MARR’s training

Kennebunk Savings last week announced an award of a $5,000 grant to the Maine Association of Recovery Residences (MARR) for the development of an online training portal and courses for peer recovery supports.

“Our friends at MARR like to say that ‘recovery is contagious.’ And the efficacy of peer-based recovery supports is strongly supported by the data,” said Bradford C. Paige, the bank’s president and CEO, in a written statement.

The Kennebunk River on last week on a quiet morning. According to forecasts, New Year’s Day is expected to arrive with partly cloudy skies in the morning giving way to cloudy skies during the afternoon. Some mixed winter precipitation is possible. Cynthia Fitzmorris photo

A person with experience navigating their own recovery can in turn be a great help to others seeking it. According to the Recovery Research Institute, people in recovery with these “peer supports” experienced improved relationships with medical providers, reduced rates of relapse, increased satisfaction with overall treatment, and increased treatment retention.

An important peer role is that of the peer leader, sometimes referred to as a “House Manager.” Typically, a person in a recovery residence develops naturally and gradually into such a leadership role among a population, and learns on the job. But with their new training program, the first course of which is now available, MARR hopes to help aspiring peer leaders get a jump on the roles and responsibilities of such a position.

“We love empowering people to lead,” said Paige. “We’ve been coming at substance use disorders from many angles for the last several years, and we get particularly excited about programs which spread critical knowledge and experience among the people who can then directly apply that knowledge in their community.”

Kennebunk Savings’ Spotlight Fund focuses a portion of their charitable giving toward alleviating a single community issue. In 2020, the bank has committed to donating $150,000 to programs aimed at community education and reducing barriers to social determinants of health for those in recovery from substance use disorder.

MARR’s first training course, So You Want to Become a Peer Leader in a Recovery Residence, is geared at persons currently living in a recovery residence interested in becoming or better understanding and appreciating the role of peer leader. It covers the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed, and several experienced Peer Leaders share their personal thoughts and feelings. Future programs will cover specifics like the administration of naloxone, mental health first aid, and proper testing for alcohol and drugs. For more information and to register for a training program, visit www.mainerecoveryresidences.com/training.

Ornaments sought for Winter Wildlife Tree

Bring a wildlife-friendly ornament to the Winter Wildlife Tree at Kennebunk Land Trust’s Mousam River Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary is a 38-acre preserve with over 2,400-feet of frontage along the Mousam River.

Kennebunk Land Trust invites people to place wildlife-friendly ornaments on the Winter Wildlife Tree at its Mousam River Wildlife Sanctuary. Courtesy photo

The Winter Wildlife Tree is located on the left-hand side of the trail, just a few hundred yards from the trailhead. Kiosk information, created by KLT’s student-volunteer, shares facts about Maine birds who might visit the tree.

Ornaments must be placed/set in the tree or attached to a branch with biodegradable string. Artificial string and metal/plastic hooks are harmful to birds and other wildlife and should not be used. Pine cone feeders covered with peanut butter and birdseed, small suet balls, suet cakes, and un-salted popcorn are great ornament ideas.

This is a an opportunity to get outside, recreate locally, and learn about wildlife. The program will run through the New Year.

Directions to Mousam River Wildlife Sanctuary: From Route 1 in Kennebunk, turn onto Water Street and proceed .30 miles to the parking lot on the left side of Water Street, directly after the Kennebunk Treatment Plant’s administrative building. Land trust parking spaces are identified with a white sign and green letters. The trailhead is approximately 100 feet down Water Street on the left.

A tree near the Emporium in Dock Square Kennebunkport is decorated with a mariner’s theme. Dan King photo