CAMP holds summer outing, volunteers needed

Carolyn Hildebrand Special to The Star-Herald, Special to The County
17 years ago

    PORTAGE LAKE, Maine – Twenty-seven mentors and mentees from the Central Aroostook Mentoring Program gathered on one of the most perfect summer days Sunday, Aug. 12 at Portage Lake for swimming, boating, and great nutritional food provided by ACAP’s Tobacco Grant. Charlotte Wilson from the Cooperative Extension Service provided a Nutritional News Break, at which time the mentees talked about what food categories the lunch they had eaten fit into.

Providing mentoring is an investment in the future of our community. Altering the life course of just one child could save taxpayers over $1 million during that child’s lifetime. The savings could expand if poor choices lead to huge medical bills, serious crimes are committed, or if current children in need of mentors are not helped and they grow up and continue the cycle with offspring of their own.
The Central Aroostook Mentoring Program (CAMP) is changing the future one child at a time, and we need your help. There are presently 180 children enrolled in CAMP, with 140 still waiting to be matched, 46 of those from Presque Isle alone.
CAMP serves youth ages 7 to 18 living in central Aroostook County who may be “at-risk” for any reason. Mentors are recruited by speaking to civic groups, businesses, churches, and schools, by business-sponsored TV advertising, through media coverage of the program, and word of mouth. Mentees are referred by schools, social services, juvenile services, DHHS, physicians, parents, and other family members.
Potential mentors are screened through FBI, Motor Vehicles, DHHS background checks, five personal references, and an in-home visit. Two hours of training is completed prior to a mentor being matched to a mentee using shared activity interests and parent preferences. A summary sheet about each mentor and mentee is completed describing the information attained during the intake process, and consent to share forms are signed by the mentor and parents accordingly. The summary sheets are then exchanged between the assigned mentor and mentee for approval. Once mentor, parent, and child approve of the choice, a match meeting is held with all present, supervised by the CAMP Program Coordinator. The coordinator makes monthly contact with mentors, mentees, and parent/guardian for the life of the match. The coordinator also provides ongoing support to everyone involved as necessary.
Three types of mentoring opportunities are offered: site-based, school-based, and community-based. Site-based workshops are offered periodically for all mentors and mentees currently enrolled with CAMP. Workshop topics include building self-esteem and social skills, journal writing, nutritional snacks, bullying, and so forth. Mentees attending site-based programs may not be matched one-to-one with a mentee.
School-based mentoring is currently offered to elementary and middle school youth in Presque Isle, Caribou, and Fort Fairfield; expected participation of 25 mentees and 25 mentors this school year. Each school department provides a meeting site for their CAMP activity. High school mentors meet with the mentees in a supervised school setting one day per week for one hour after school. During this time, the mentees, matched one-to-one to a specific mentor, receive help on homework, play games, and/or complete craft projects, depending on what the child needs or wants to do. Mentors act as role models for the mentees, helping to encourage a positive attitude toward school and community.
Community-based mentoring matches a trained adult mentor or mentoring couple from the community with a mentee. They spend 3-5 hours per week together doing activities of mutual interest in a friend/role model relationship; mentors must commit for at least one year.
If you spend an average of 3-5 hours a week doing activities you enjoy and can share that time with a child, please call 764-4005 for more information about how you can help!