AUGUSTA – Members of Boys and Girls Clubs in Maine, including the Auburn/Lewiston club, were invited to participate in a special day at the State House.

Staff and board members, along with Peter Haynes of Yarmouth, the past national chairman of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, accompanied club members on the day dedicated to educating state representatives on all the work Boys and Girls Clubs do in communities. It was also an opportunity for club members to learn more about government.

Bob Clark, executive director of Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Portland and Auburn/Lewiston, said, “This was a very successful day on a number of levels for our young state alliance. We had a chance to meet with a number of friends in both the legislative and executive branches and hopefully make some new ones as well.

“The governor’s belief in and commitment to the work of Boys and Girls Clubs in Maine is impressive. And for the 16 youthful representatives of our clubs across the state, it is a day they will long remember.”

The day started with displays in the Hall of Flags, set up for those commissioners and legislators invited to visit with Boys and Girls Clubs’ representatives. A variety of club programs and services were featured, and members had the chance to meet and greet their state senators and representatives.

Later that morning, all club members were invited to serve as pages in the House and Senate. They were introduced in the House and Senate Chambers, and their sponsoring representative or senator was announced. Members learned the basics, then were “on duty” to deliver messages and documents to and from legislators and senators during the sessions.

The group toured the State House, led by a local historian who provided facts about the Capitol. Lunch was held in the cabinet room where Gov. John Baldacci addressed the group and provided opportunities to answer questions about their experiences and government. Other lunch-time visitors included Senate President Beth Edmonds and Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap.

The last stop of the day was the Blaine House, where First Lady Karen Baldacci hosted club members on a tour and served cookies and punch. She shared facts about the history of the house.

Club member Elizabeth Cormier of Lewiston said, “I learned more than I ever knew about state government. And I must say that I didn’t have a favorite part – I liked the whole day.”

Boys and Girls Clubs in Maine are independent affiliates of Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the nation’s oldest and largest organization with a primary mission of providing services to youth from disadvantaged circumstances.

Locally, the club serves 500 children and teens, helping to inspire and enable them to realize their full potential. The Maine Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs provides a mechanism for joint decision-making, communication, cooperative action and distribution of funds among clubs in the state.

For more information on the club, call 874-1069 in Portland or 795-6713 in Auburn.

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