Members of the Mountain Valley High School Outing Club in Rumford hold new sleeping bags presented Wednesday through a grant from Teens to Trails. Jean Christie, left, outreach program manager for Teens To Trails, addresses the school assembly as club Director Todd Papianou listens. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

RUMFORD — The Mountain Valley High School Outing Club received seven new sleeping bags this week and plans to use them on a trip to the woods of New Hampshire this weekend, club Director Todd Papianou said.

The equipment was purchased with a grant from Teens To Trails, a charitable nonprofit dedicated to promoting and supporting high school outing clubs across Maine.

The announcement was made at a school assembly Wednesday.

“We’re really excited to have this really fabulous Outing Club up here at your high school,” said Jean Christie, outreach program manager for Teens To Trails. She announced the award at a school assembly Wednesday.

“We were really pleased to get the grant application,” she said. “We hope you go on and join the Outing Club. Keep going on these really exciting outings. We at Teens To Trails think life happens outside.”

Teens To Trails has awarded $65,000 in grants to outing clubs across Maine since 2008, according to its website.

Papianou told the assembly there are two things necessary when going into the woods: “You need to be warm. You need to be fed.”

Last year, the club got a grant to buy a kitchen, he said. Now it has seven “real nice cozy sleeping bags.”

They’ll be used this weekend.

“We’re going to a couple log cabins up in the hills that have wood stoves,” Papianou said. “Picture an evening by the campfire, finishing up dinner and telling stories by the candlelight. That’ll be us this weekend. And then, we’ll come skiing down a beautiful trail off Doublehead Cabin.”

He encouraged students to consider joining the club.

“The Outing Club has always been a dream of mine to bring that added thing to the phys ed program, where we get to learn something in phys ed and maybe we don’t have time for a field trip, but maybe you have time to take that skill and take it some place in the Outing Club,” he said.

He said the club visited Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, “one of the nicest national parks in the country,” and canoed Umbagog Lake on the Maine-New Hampshire border last year. “The lake was glass, just flat and easy to paddle on for three days” over the Columbus Day weekend.

Also speaking at the assembly, Principal Matt Gilbert said, “Mr. Papianou has not just made a career out of doing stuff that he thinks you guys would like by taking on adventures outside the building, but he’s created a whole lifesytle, the Papianou lifestyle, about doing cool stuff that he likes and a lot of other people tend to like when you’re into the adventure-based programming.”

Papianou said students who want to join the club need only to “get a friend and go. Just sign up, show up and you’re going to have a great time.”

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