Sunbeam Award Gala Celebrates 20 Years of EdGE

by | Sep 2, 2022 | News

The Mission celebrated our 2022 Sunbeam Award Gala at the Bar Harbor Club on August 18. This year’s Sunbeam awards were presented to Les Coleman and the Mission’s Downeast school partners, who were both recognized for their work with the Mission’s EdGE programming. This fall marks 20 years since launching the EdGE program in Washington County. 

Today, EdGE has grown to be the Mission’s signature youth development program Downeast and serves around 700 students in kindergarten through eighth grade and their families each year through afterschool and leadership programs and summer camps. EdGE programs include outdoor recreation, tutoring, STEM, as well as nourishment, support, and coaching for students and their families through the Mission’s Family Engagement program. 

John Zavodny, the President of the Mission, says, “It was such an honor to be in the room with the very leaders who started EdGE, a truly transformational youth development program in Downeast Maine. Seeing the standing ovation for the awardees is a moment I will never forget and a real highlight of my time with the Mission.” 

Zavodny welcomed guests to the Bar Harbor Club and introduced Mission Board Member Robert Mancini, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Wyman’s of Maine, a Platinum sponsor of the Gala. Following a video honoring Les, Connie Greaves Bates, the wife of the late Ed Greaves for which the EdGE program is named, introduced Les, and presented him with the Sunbeam Award. Les, who was an early proponent of EdGE programming and a key figure in its development said in his remarks, “When talking with people in the Washington County community where we have seasonally resided for over 50 years, I am often reminded by parents, grandparents, and former EdGE students who are now adults of the positive impact EdGE has had on the lives of many Downeast youth.”  

Connie Greaves Bates, 2022 Sunbeam Award Recipient Les Coleman and Mission President John Zavodny
Sunbeam Award Winner Les Coleman (center) with Connie Greaves Bates and Mission President John Zavodny

Zavodny then introduced David Woodside, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, which is another Platinum Sponsor of the Mission. Following a video that highlighted the Mission’s Downeast Partner Schools, Gary DeLong, the Mission’s Executive Director from 1999 to 2010, presented the Sunbeam Award to the principals from Beals Elementary, Cherryfield Elementary, D.W. Merritt Elementary, Harrington Elementary, Jonesport Elementary, Milbridge Elementary, Rose M. Gaffney Elementary, Narraguagus Jr/Sr High School, and Sumner Memorial High School.  

Ron Ramsey, superintendent of MSAD 37 who was the principal of Harrington Elementary where EdGE first started, praised the work of EdGE and the Mission in his remarks, “EdGE grows the seeds of success in our students. EdGE provides experiences and opportunities for success that gives our students the confidence to see their future selves being successful. They do this through building trust while constantly challenging and stretching the students comfort zone. EdGE is a perfect complement to our regular school expanding on and pushing past where we regularly go in school.”  

Gary DeLong, former Executive Director of the Mission, (far left) and John Zavodny, Mission President, (far right) alongside the Downeast Partner Schools

Zavodny also took a moment to thank Wendy Harrington who has “semi-retired” after twenty years at the Mission. The evening ended with closing remarks from Mission Board Chair Daniel McKay.  

The Mission generously thanks the Sunbeam Award Gala’s Corporate Sponsors for their support. This year’s Platinum Sponsors were Bar Harbor Bank & Trust and Wyman’s of Maine; Bronze Sponsors include Cross Insurance, Eaton Peabody, First National Bank, and Maggie Keohan, Goldman Sachs; and Copper Sponsors were Billings Diesel & Marine, Birchbook, Brookings-Smith, Acadia Bike & Coastal Kayaking Tours, Front Street Shipyard, J.T. Rosborough, Inc., and The Snowman Group.  

To find out more about the 2022 Sunbeam Award Gala winners click here.

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