At the Mission’s EdGE Center on any given Saturday in the winter, you can find kids (and adults) strapping on skates for the first time and hitting the ice. Other families warm up while playing board games after spending time snowshoeing. With the skating rink up and enough snow on the ground, families have been traveling to the Mission’s Downeast Campus from as far away as Machias to enjoy the winter activities at the EdGE Center for the first time since 2020.
The Mission has offered winter activities before, but this year for the first time, the Mission’s Community & Family Engagement Program Manager, Stephanie Moores, has been there each weekend to meet with families and let them know about the resources available to them. “I have a table set up for folks to see the programs and resources we have available,” Stephanie says. “We feel it is important to be there to make connections with families face-to-face. Nothing is formal, but if a family does have a need for resources, we set up a private time to meet and discuss. Many tell me they did not know the extent of the programming we offer here at the Mission.” Stephanie has helped a few families sign up their children for the EdGE afterschool program and has offered for others to shop at the food pantry just across Weald Bethel Lane from the winter activities.
Both Stephanie and EdGE Primary Program Director Isaac Marnik say many visitors are excited to have a central place to go with free activities for a range of ages. Families greet and meet each other and stay the whole afternoon. “To have a positive place for families to stop in and have a good time brings people together,” Isaac says. “And we offer plenty of food and plenty of fun to facilitate that.”
Stephanie adds that some families come every weekend showing the need for free activities. Because of the popularity of these Saturday events, during school vacation week there will be similar day programming. The Saturday events will happen through March.