Summer Update from the Aspirations Incubator Program

Aspirations Incubator Programs at our eight partner sites are focused on raising the aspirations of young people through the power of positive relationships with peers and adult mentors. Students attend planning meetings and participate in programming that emerges based on their individual interests and needs, and the goals of the group as a whole.

Don Carpenter, our Senior Program Officer, checked in with the Aspirations Incubator Program partners to see what everyone is up to this summer. Here are some of the plans we’re the most excited about:

Kieve-Wavus Education
Kieve-Wavus Leads

Using a group consensus decision making model, the students chose Community Service and Outdoor/Adventure Education as the Kieve-Wavus values they most wanted to pursue this summer. They’re now making plans to do service projects with programs like Graze in Peace, the Twin Villages Foodbank Farm, or Focus on Agriculture in Rural Maine Schools (FARMS). They’re also excited to get outdoors for a trip to the White Mountains in August, which will include a day climbing in North Conway, day hiking Arethusa Falls, a day of service with the Appalachian Mountain Club, and swimming at Emerald Pools. The cohort may also head out to Monhegan Island for a day of hiking and exploring.

Community Bicycle Center

After reviewing the results of his cohort’s Holistic Student Assessment (HSA) data, which is part of how we assess student progress in AIP, Program Manager Woodie noted that two of his students had strengths in an area known as “Action Orientation.” This is defined as “Students who have a tendency and desire to be in their bodies. These students like to be active, exercise; movement is important to them, and they often like working with their hands. These students are quick to take action and they need to move a lot.

Since then, Woodie has focused on finding activities that intrigued these students, but which they’d never had the chance to experience, in order to engage their active, curious minds and bodies in learning. Those students got to try salt water fishing and Frisbee golf for the first time, and they loved it. Other students have shared interests in visiting local skate parks, volunteering at the animal shelter, and hiking. Two of the girls in the T2C cohort are helping Woodie write up a story about a recent trip, and they will be helping him design a new logo for Trek2Connect. The group also hopes to visit the Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick, and to help out with a river clean-up in September.

The Game Loft
I Know ME

The Game Loft cohort recently spent a fun afternoon at Moose Point State Park in Searsport. Over the course of the program, I Know ME students will visit every state park in Maine and get their state park passports stamped. Earlier this summer, the 7th graders took their first overnight trip to the UMaine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Tanglewood, and they had an end-of-the-year cookout at Swan Lake. This “close to home adventure” was a big success, and helped students develop skills and confidence for future expeditions. In August, they’ll head up north for the Machias Wild Blueberry Festival, where they’ll volunteer and enjoy the festival. The group plans to camp out for two nights at Cobscook Bay State Park and explore Rocque Bluffs State Park on their trip back home. 

University of Maine 4-H Center at Bryant Pond

The Bryant Pond cohort recently returned from a trip to Acadia National Park and a day paddle down the Androscoggin River. They’re getting excited to welcome Program Manager Lyndsey's baby in early August with an event for their families at her house. She’ll be on maternity leave, but says she plans to be at school for their first day. Lyndsey also has some plans to check in with and make plans with students, including a trip to a local free concert, and some hiking, swimming, and photography at Step Falls Land Preserve.

Seeds of Independence

This summer, Program Manager Michaela is focused on small group work and individual relationship building. She took a group of girls to Popham Beach for the day and says they enjoyed getting to know each other better while swimming, walking, exploring, and building sandcastles. Some of the boys in the program are working on bicycles, and one boy is teaching another to ride a bike. Several students also spend a day volunteering at Graze in Peace, where they enjoyed a tour of the farm. The rest of the summer will be spent kayaking, biking, volunteering, spending time at the beach, and hiking, and Michaela has plans to volunteer with the Kieve-Wavus Leads cohort to learn more about how their program works.


Austin’s cohort at Chewonki is making the most of summer in Maine. So far, they’ve hiked Morse Mountain to the beach, and they visited the Patten Free Library (with a stop for ice cream). In August, they’ll go bowling at Yankee Lanes, and they’re planning to volunteer with Set for Success, which supplies every student in RSU 1 with a backpack and school supplies for the coming school year. The group’s first 8th grade cohort gathering is set for early September, and they’ll kick off the fall with a Chewonki Farm Day on September 8th.

Old Town / Orono YMCA
River Runners 

Program Manager Jessica has been training for her first half marathon, so she recently took a few students to Bangor, where the students helped her shop for new running gear after lunch at a Japanese hibachi. They were excited to see her wearing her new clothes in photos after she successfully completed the race! The cohort also went to a Portland Sea Dogs baseball game, where they were able to get out on the field with the team for photos with Tim Tebow. Jessica reports that the students were starstruck, and their faces lit up when he pointed and waved to them while he was warming up. The cohort is looking forward to some tubing and a camping trip in August, and they’ll do some community service and team-building activities. Jessica’s office hours at the YMCA have been busy this summer—she says that it’s rare for a day to go by without a visit from at least one of her students.

Maine Seacoast Mission

EdGE Journey kicked their summer off with their core trip to Acadia National Park. They camped out for 2 nights and 3 days at Seawall campground. The students participated in community service in the park where they dug/racked the ditches out on one of the park roads and learned about erosion. The students hiked, explored downtown Bar Harbor, and attended the Abbe Museum to learn about the Native American culture of Maine. This summer they will be adventuring twice a week on various trips throughout the summer. The students have gone for a beach day, hiking, and enjoyed kayaking with Mr. Harrington already. EdGE Journey will start its 8th grade year off in September with a trip to the ropes course as its first cohort meeting.

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