News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, May 15, 2014
Community Service Fair serves as a call to volunteerism

by Anne Berleant

Urging students to listen, reflect and act, George Stevens Academy Head of School Paul Perkinson opened the second Community Service Fair at the high school in April.

It’s goal was to “energize every GSA student to the call of service,” he said.

Students overflowed the gymnasium bleachers as they listened to representatives from 10 area organizations, before crowding the booths for more information. After, they would meet with student advisors to discuss and reflect.

“If you like to cut, slash and burn…or lugging boats” then the Nichols Day Camps annual cleanup is a good service fit, executive director Nan Fowler told the students.

On the softer side is planting flowers and hanging wreaths for the Blue Hill Garden Club or sewing and mending clothing for TurnStyle used clothing store, which supports the Tree of Life food panty. Or, unloading delivery trucks for the food pantry is another way to support the organization.

“By helping out at TurnStyle, I’m helping people eat,” said junior Claire Ciampa, who worked at TurnStyle for an Independent Study. “It was a really good feeling to help other people in the community, knowing that Tree of Life is [run by] all volunteers.”

Some organizations offered technology-related volunteer positions, such as Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, which needs summer interns to help patients sign up for a new online information system.

The Blue Hill Historical Society could use help digitizing historical items. “If you’re a techie, we need you,” said volunteer Jan Snow, whose announcement of homemade cookies at the BHHS booth received rousing applause.

WERU is always looking for radio show volunteers; it already airs shows run by current and former GSA students, said Volunteer Coordinator Chris Stark. And the Blue Hill Peninsula Chamber of Commerce needs help answering tourist questions, like “What is a reversing falls? Most people think the water goes up,” said the chamber’s executive director Kurt Stoll.

Blue Hill Heritage Trust and Great Pond Conservation Trust both need help on their trails. Great Pond also could use a hand—that holds a GPS—for its stream mapping project. And “there’s a lot of work to be done around this old house,” said Linda Hoskins, Jonathan Fisher House volunteer.

Pastor Rob McCall, of the Congregational Church of Blue Hill, set the tone when he asked the students, “Where would our towns be without volunteers?”

Community service, he continued “is the social fabric that gives meaning to our lives…And you know what else? It just makes us feel good.”