LEWISTON/AUBURN — Thanks to the generous sponsorship of a foundation created by a group of local runners, four area teens had the opportunity of a lifetime this past summer to attend the Appalachian Mountain Club Teen Wilderness Program.
The Bridge Run Foundation was created to promote a healthy conscious community by using the proceeds from the L-A Bridge Run to sponsor area teens to several different camps this summer. These unique outdoor opportunities provided local youth with experience in backpacking, canoeing, kayaking and rock climbing adventures
“It is our hope that we can provide opportunities for children in our community to experience unique programs that foster an appreciation for the environment, develop self esteem, promote teamwork and friendship and instill a spirit of adventure,” said Mike Lecompte, of the Bridge Run Foundation.
The foundation has been sponsoring teens attending the AMC outdoor wilderness adventures for the past several years. New this year, the foundation sponsored two teens from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine Auburn/Lewiston Clubhouse.
The two teens sponsored by the foundation represented the Twin Cities this year as the 2012 Youth of the Year and Junior Youth of the Year winners. This competitive program includes being nominated by staff, completing a detailed application, two essays and panel interviews. Lecompte served as one of this year’s judges for the clubhouse’s Junior Youth of the Year competition.
“This was an incredible experience for our members,” said Andie Hannon, unit director of the Auburn/Lewiston Clubhouse. “This opportunity broadened their horizons and offered them a chance of a lifetime. We hope to continue this partnership in the future and that the Bridge Run Foundation will continue serving as a judge for our annual competition.”
Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine aims to inspire and enable young people, especially those most in need, to reach their full potential as caring, productive and responsible citizens of their communities. The program emphasizes academics, healthy lifestyles and character development. This year’s Youth of the Year was 17-year-old Roger Charest of Auburn and the Junior Youth of the Year was 15-year-old Christien O’Brien of Lewiston. Both members embody all the key elements of the program’s mission and serve as young leaders in their club and community.
Also new this year, the Bridge Run Foundation paid the registration fees for all children 14 years old or younger who ran in the Triple Crown 5K runs. The foundation was also one of the sponsors for the Kid's Obstacle Course at the inaugural Bands on the Run event.
The Bridge Run was the last race in the series. Lecompte said the foundation hopes to involve more members from the Boys & Girls Club in next year’s Triple Crown race series, either running in the events or serving as volunteers.