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Sun Journal (Lewiston, Maine)
AUBURN -- The YMCA of Auburn-Lewiston recently received a $110,000 grant from the Island Foundation to further develop its Outdoor Education & Learning Center in Auburn.
Funds will be used to expand the existing trail system, build pavilions for outdoor education classes, create grass fields and improve vehicle access onto the property. These enhancements will allow the YMCA to transition its summer day camp program, Camp Connor, to the center full time by 2018, doubling the number of campers to 300 per week.
Situated along Stetson and North River roads in Auburn, the 93- acre OELC is being developed as a four-season community recreation and education site. Work began on the property in spring 2015 with the construction of rudimentary trails along Bobbin Mill Brook. Current plans call for the addition of outdoor classrooms and fields, a sustainable trail for all abilities, archery range and community gardens. All construction will be to state park standards.
The Island Foundation supports projects in Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island with an emphasis on alternative education and projects that promote environmental and global impact. The YMCA proposal was one of a handful of invitation-only special projects under consideration by the board of trustees.
In August, teens from St. Mary's Nutrition Center's Summer Youth Gardener program were among the first groups to participate in team building and trail service activities at the property.
The OELC is overseen by Wil Libby, YMCA camp and safety director. In addition to managing the Y's American Red Cross training programs and summer camp, Libby is a licensed Maine Guide, wilderness first responder and a trained trail maintainer.
FMI: 207-795-4095, [email protected]
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