REAL School wins outdoor challenge

The REAL School of Brunswick was the top performer of the Teens to Trails’ Life Happens Outside Challenge, launched in October to foster an appreciation for the outdoors and its many wellness benefits for Maine youth.
Twenty-two middle and high schools from across the state participated in the week-long challenge, tracking and logging their outdoor activities for a chance to win $1,000 for the most outdoor hours recorded in proportion to their school size. The cash prize is offered by Arcadia, a climate crisis–fighting tech company.
Greely High School of Cumberland placed second, followed by Brunswick High School.
REAL School education tech Melissa Cleaves said that activities included a staff and student hike up Rattlesnake Mountain in Casco, a meditation walk, classwork and jigsaw puzzling outdoors, dog-walking, yard work, and warming up by a bonfire.
Cleaves said her students have a lot of ideas about spending the prize money, including a return of overnight camping trips to Tumbledown and Katahdin, purchasing gear for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, or a trip to the Boston Aquarium.
For a full list of participants, visit

Travis Mills Foundation seeks volunteers
The Travis Mills Foundation is seeking volunteers for its Veterans Retreat, that provides an all-inclusive, all-expenses paid, barrier-free experience for 9/11 veterans and their families in the Belgrade Lakes Region.
Year-round volunteer opportunities in Rome include serving meals, housekeeping, yard work, family and children’s activities, fishing, boating, snowshoeing and more! For more information or to fill out an application, visit or contact Volunteer Coordinator John Romac at

Christmas Toy Drive deadline Friday
Friday marks the deadline for donations to the 2021 South Portland Christmas Toy Drive, benefiting community children in need during the Christmas season.
In 2020, the program helped more than 280 South Portland children with new warm coats, boots and toys.
Now in its 10th year, the drive collects hundreds of toys, boots and coats, that are distributed to the identified families with the help of local police officers. Businesses, groups or individuals are being sought to “adopt children” for the drive.
Donations of new, unwrapped toys, art supplies, teen items and gift cards also are appreciated and can be dropped off at the following South Portland businesses: Maine Roofing Inc, 24 Bishop Ave.; South Portland Police Department, 30 Anthoine St.; South Portland Fire Station, Cash Corner/360 Main St; South Portland Community Center, 21 Nelson Road; Port Harbor Marine, 1 Spring Point Dr.; People’s United Bank, Millcreek- 15 Hinckley Dr.; South Portland Snap Fitness, 747 Broadway; and April Cohen Team, 382A Cottage Road. Make checks payable to: SPPPA Community Needs Fund Checks and/or gift cards can be dropped off or mailed to:
Maine Roofing- 24 Bishop Ave, South Portland ME 04106
To donate, go to or to the Venmo account @so-po-christmas-toy-drive.
The annual toy drive party will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday at Evie’s Ferry Village Watering Hole, 121 Sawyer St. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy.

Garden club’s wreath tradition turns 50
In early November, members of the Camden Garden Club gathered at the American Legion Hall to make bows and assemble the 98 fresh balsam wreaths that now hang on lampposts along Elm and Main streets in the downtown area.
Since the 1950s, the club has provided holiday decorations for the town. The tradition of fresh wreaths, decorated with puffy red bows and lights, began in 1971. This year marks its 50th year.
The club purchased the fresh balsam fir wreaths from Evergreen Farms of Damariscotta, using funds raised during the its annual garden tour. Members contributed over 100 volunteer hours to handcraft red velvet bows and wire multiple strings of lights to the wreaths. The Camden Public Works Department installed the wreaths.

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