The Aspirations Incubator will incubate comprehensive mentoring-based pilot programs for youth in eight rural communities and small cities in Maine, with the intention of sharing the outcomes of this funding investment with philanthropic, youth development, and education communities.  

The Aspirations Incubator partner organizations and associated school districts are: 

Chewonki/RSU #1 - Chewonki is a school and camp based in Wiscasset that inspires transformative growth, teaches appreciation and stewardship of the natural world, and challenges people to build thriving, sustainable communities throughout their lives.  RSU #1 serves Arrowsic, Bath, Woolwich, Phippsburg, and surrounding communities.

Community Bicycle Center/Biddeford School Department - The Community Bicycle Center in Biddeford is a free, year-round youth program that provides kids of all backgrounds with a safe place to connect with caring adults through bike rides and repairs.

Old Town-Orono YMCA/RSU #34 - The Old Town-Orono YMCA is a community centered organization that serves all ages by promoting healthy living, nurturing the potential of every individual and family, and fostering social responsibility. RSU #34 serves Alton, Bradley and Old Town in Penobscot County.

The EdGE program of Maine Seacoast Mission/SAD #37 - The Maine Seacoast Mission founded the EdGE program in 2002. Through after-school, in-school, and summer programs, EdGE offers children from Gouldsboro to Machias the opportunity to challenge themselves, engage with their communities and the outdoors, and explore college and career options.  SAD #37 serves the Washington County communities of Addison, Columbia, Columbia Falls, Harrington, and Milbridge.

The Game Loft/RSU #3 - The Game Loft, based in Belfast, promotes positive youth development through non-electronic games and community involvement. RSU #3 serves the Waldo County towns of Brooks, Freedom, Jackson, Knox, Liberty, Monroe, Montville, Thorndike, Troy, Unity and Waldo.

University of Maine 4-H Center at Bryant Pond/SAD #44 - The University of Maine 4-H Center at Bryant Pond is dedicated to helping young people reach their fullest potential through affordable hands-on learning in the outdoors, in the classroom, and beyond.  SAD #44 serves the Oxford County towns of Andover, Bethel, Gilead, Greenwood, Newry, and Woodstock.


Empowering local leaders and other youth advocates to play a vital and supportive role in raising and nurturing the aspirations of young people growing up in their community is integral to the Aspirations Incubator concept. In addition to investing in Aspirations Incubator community partnerships, the Lerner Foundation also is funding the creation of the Trekkers Training Institute for Youth Development, which provides the leadership development component of the Aspirations Incubator program. Each of our grantees completed extensive leadership development and professional training rooted in the Youth Programming Principles developed by Trekkers. Now open to practitioners in youth development, mentoring, and education of all kinds, the Trekkers Training Institute offers training modules focused on its Youth Programming Principles, and provides a full immersion training experience. Participants get to see the Principles in action and consider how to incorporate or adapt the Principles into their own programming and activities.  






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