ENCorps eNews - May/June 2015 - In This Issue:
Highlights from the 2015 Summit
at the Wells Conference Center,
University of Maine
The 2015 Encore Leadership Corps Annual Summit was held at the Wells Conference Center at the University of Maine in Orono on May 18-19. Sunny skies and mild temperatures provided a warm welcome to campus for all!
The summit began with keynote speaker, Lorain Francis, Senior Program Director of the Maine Development Foundation, who talked about the crucial work being done in many Maine communities, and the ways that MDF partners with various community endeavors.
An ice breaker activity and conversations over lunch gave members an opportunity to reconnect and get to know one another. In the afternoon, three choices of workshops were offered. Leigh Tillman engaged members in an interactive workshop on ways to tell impactful and effective stories, while Eric Rolfson, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations at the University of Maine, discussed relationship-building techniques to foster success in fundraising. Betty Egner, a Certified Business Counselor from Maine Small Business Development Centers explained the steps to turning a passion into a small business, from key decision points to developing a clear business plan. Off-site trips later in the afternoon included the choice to visit the Maine Forest and Logging Museum, the Emera Astronomy Center, and the University of Maine's Littlefield Garden. Dinner and a cocktail hour gave way to a rousing evening of acoustic music and dancing with the band, Old Grey Goose International.
On Tuesday, Barbara Stellar kicked off the day with a session of Tai Chi that was both calming and restorative. After a hearty breakfast, members attended morning skill building workshops. Barbara Kates discussed ways to plan a successful meeting and how to handle common pitfalls in meetings. Strategies for building engaged and effective teams was the focus of Leigh Tillman's second summit session, while a workshop on public speaking and developing a well-crafted speech was led by Donna Accettullo from the Bangor Toastmasters Club.
Members gathered for a group photo, then were off to attend tours of various labs on the University of Maine campus: the Virtual Environment and Multimodal Interaction (VEMI) Laboratory, the Advanced Manufacturing Center, and the Advanced Structures and Composites Center. Members learned about the cutting edge technologies being developed on campus to assist older adults in remaining in their homes and make driving safer, as well as engineering projects that are promoting university-industry partnerships and expanding economic development in Maine.
The focus of this year's member panel discussion was on the challenges and opportunities in rural volunteering. Our four panelists included Alice Bolstridge from Presque Isle, who spoke about her advocacy work for people with mental health challenges and for social justice issues; Norma Rossel from Troy, who is the project coordinator for the Troy-Union church restoration; Frank Ober from Whitefield, who is currently serving as a town selectman, and has a long history of involvement in town planning efforts; and Alice Morgan from Millinocket, who is the volunteer coordinator for the Millinocket downtown revitalization committee, and grows produce to donate to the local food bank, among other endeavors. Each panelist has made a significant difference in their communities by volunteering in different capacities, yet they all agreed that the personal satisfaction from volunteering is the greatest reward for their work!
At the closing of the summit, a moment of silence was held for Nancy Teel, a long time ENCorps member who passed away in June of last year.
Thank you to all of the members who came to the Summit and helped make this event a success by sharing your work and ideas with others. We hope you came away inspired and encouraged to continue to make a difference in your communities!
To view photos from the summit, click here!
Top of Page
VOLUNTEER IN ACTION
ENCorps member Alice Bolstridge is a retired teacher and a fierce advocate for social justice issues. Born and raised in Portage Lake, she uses her volunteer energy to protect the environment and improve conditions for people with mental illness. Alice earned a master's degree in English at the University of Maine, and raised her daughter and two sons in Aroostook County. She then moved away for a number of years and earned her doctorate in English Literature at the University of Oklahoma, and taught creative writing at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. Eventually she returned to her Maine roots to be closer to her children and grandchildren.
In the early 1960s, Alice recalls being outside during an aerial application of the insecticide DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane). She had just read the book Silent Spring (now classic on the dangers of DDT) and became inspired to advocate for environmental issues. In the last several years, mining pollution has been a major focus of Alice's environmental concerns and volunteer efforts. She explains that mining operations not only require the use of chemicals, but they also release toxins from the ground: "when sulfur is exposed to the air it produces sulfuric acid, which is very corrosive to the surrounding waters -- and arsenic, which is contained there in the mountain, can get released into the local waterways," threatening fish and wildlife. In Aroostook County, there is serious concern for the ecology of the Fish River and Fish River Chain of Lakes, and the impact that mining could have on the renowned brook trout fishing in the area. Mining can also impact human health, contributing to gastrointestinal illnesses, cancer, and an increased risk for chronic diseases (US Center for Disease Control).
Since 2012, Alice and has been working with three other volunteers and the Natural Resources Council of Maine to strengthen mining regulations. Using her literary expertise, Alice writes Op Eds and Letters to the Editor to bring public awareness to the dangers of mining, she calls and writes letters to legislators, and she testifies at the State House at hearings. She says, "the more people understand the dangers and the environmental risks, the less people support it for the sake of jobs, because the jobs are really minor in relation to a catastrophe" that could occur. In 2014, Alice and a team of three other passionate volunteers (which includes her daughter, Shelly) won a Leadership Award from the Natural Resources Council of Maine for their work on mining pollution (for more, visit: http://www.nrcm.org/about-nrcm/2014-conservation-leadership-awards/). This month, a bill titled LD 750, An Act To Allow Regulated Metal Mining in Maine, which intended to weaken mining laws, was defeated in the House of Representatives by a vote of 109-36, thanks in part to the efforts of Alice and her team! (for the Portland Press Herald's coverage of the vote, visit: http://www.pressherald.com/2015/06/04/maine-house-delivers-big-blow-to-metal-mining-bill/).
With the mining bill at rest for now, Alice is refocusing her attention back to mental health policy issues. The mental health care system has been at the forefront of Alice's personal and volunteer work, as she has a son with a chronic mental illness. She says, "the quality of his care has never been very good - it isn't for anybody...and it's getting worse with all the cuts" in the state budget. She believes that the political arena is where her efforts can have the most impact on social justice issues such as this. Alice also co-wrote a book with her son called Oppression for the Heaven of It, an autobiographical account of their experiences with the mental health care system, which won the Kenneth Patchen Award for Experimental Fiction, published by the Journal of Experimental Fiction. She says that writing the first draft of the book took about a year and then six months were spent working on revisions, but the process of writing it was fun and very rewarding - "my son has a pretty good sense of humor!"
Alice has been a very active volunteer with the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), the Maine Democratic Party, EqualityMaine, and with Seniors Achieving Greater Education (SAGE). With SAGE, she has taught a wide variety of courses on topics such as Happiness, Conflict Resolution, Prejudice, Reading and Writing Formal Poetry, 2016 Election Issues, the Sweetest Dream (a novel by Doris Lessing with social justice themes), and Writing Persuasion about Social Justice Issues.
Alice is busy preparing for the next phase of her volunteer work. She says she doesn't know exactly what shape it will take, but she is exploring several ideas. In her spare time she takes courses at SAGE, gardens, and spends time with her family. One thing is for sure, whatever Alice does next it will focus on helping to make Maine a better place to live!
For More Information about Alice and her book on the mental health care system (written under the pseudonym Moore Bowen):
For more information about the Natural Resources Council and the effects of mining in Maine, visit:
Would you like to be our next Volunteer in Action?
Top of Page
ENCorps Members Norma and Greg Rossel Featured in the Kennebec Journal!
Norma and her husband Greg have worked tirelessly since 2009 to restore the bell tower of the Troy Union Church. The church is close to their hearts, as they have been members for the last 33 years. Their efforts are featured in an article titled,
Big hearts help little Troy Union Church by Amy Calder in the Kennebec Journal. Read about their campaigns to raise funds for restoration, their commitment to finding historically accurate materials, and their success in rallying other community members to help preserve this historic building! Norma credits the ENCorps program with providing grant-writing workshops to support her volunteer work!
Good Shepherd Food Bank
Do you love to cook? This is an opportunity to share your skills and strengths with community members living on tight budgets. The culinary instructor serves as an educator and role model, teaching key skills and inspiring participants to cook healthier, inexpensive meals at home.
Responsibilities: Teach low-income participants basics of food and kitchen safety, food preparation, and making healthy, low-cost choices and substitutions when cooking, according to the highlighted objectives of each lesson.
Skills/Experience Required: Professional culinary training or experience working in the food industry preferred but not required. Self-taught culinary enthusiasts are also welcome, granted they possess adequate knowledge of the subject matter. You should be proficient in knife skills, basic cooking techniques, kitchen safety, and basic ingredient substitutions.
If you are interested in this volunteer opportunity, please contact Kate Fayle at
Maine Commission for Community Service Board Member
The Maine Commission for Community Service builds capacity and sustainability in Maine's volunteer and service communities by funding programs, developing managers of volunteers and service-learning practitioners, raising awareness of sector issues, and promoting service as a strategy.
The Commission was established in 1994 by Executive Order and under state statute in 1995. The 25 board members of the Commission are appointed by the governor to three-year terms and each represents a specific segment of Maine's volunteer sector.
The board is Maine government's partner for the federal Corporation for National Service. For more information on this opportunity, click here!
Volunteer Maine - Bloggers Wanted!
The VolunteerMaine.org blog offers a conversational tone on any topic related to volunteer management. Several reoccurring authors (Featured Bloggers) write for our blog which contains new postings 2-3 days per week. "From the Field, Conversations in Volunteer Management" was launched in January 2008 and has grown substantially with well over 2000 visitors to the blog page.
We are looking for volunteer bloggers interested in submitting a one-time blog column (Guest Post). The post doesn't need to be lengthy in fact 300-700 words are best. You would not only be helping to support others in the field of volunteer management but would gain exposure in having your organization highlighted with a link back to your own site.
Some topic suggestions would be- offering tips and keys to success that one would offer a friend or their replacement, sharing insight into your organizations approach to volunteer management, how things have changed over the years-emerging trends, success stories, challenges, or things you've learned along the way.
by Julia Hathaway
Breezes ruffle my hair,
Taste like champagne,
And carry on them
The rich aroma
Of growing things.
Must be deterred
From their desire
To explore streets.
Newly risen crocuses
Raise yellow heads
And slender leaves
To the sun.
I point them out to
Are wide eyed with joy
Like children who find
The chocolate bunny
In the Easter egg hunt.
An older lady
Stays all squinty eyed,
All snotty voiced.
It's about time.
She goes on and on
About all the inconveniences
Recent snows caused her.
Still in her head
She's mired in their depths
Like a horse with blinders.
Wait, I tell her
Raising my hands.
Since we have waited
So very long
We should celebrate spring
With much more vigor
Than those who reside
In more temperate climes.
Who better than
The winter weary
To give that
Grand and gracious lady
Her due devotion
When she arrives
In splendid gown
Of greens and pastels,
The breathtaking prospect
Of new and abundant life.
Encore Leadership Corps
ENCorps is a program of the University of Maine Center on Aging in partnership with the Maine Community Foundation and with the cooperation of local, state, and national organizations. Funding in support of ENCorps has been provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Aging Initiative, The Atlantic Philanthropies, The Maine Community Foundation, Jane's Trust, Margaret E. Burnham Charitable Trust, Davis Conservation Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation.