Living in small town Maine means time to commune with nature, to sample the great outdoors.
But it also means getting to know the neat people who live in the smaller populations spread out pretty thinly in this vast state of Maine. Less time spent in traffic, we do talk to strangers. We don’t worry about gangs, crime, person safety in Maine.
We have time for our passions and hobbies. And the circles we travel intercept and overlap each other. Often because our kids have a play in the introductions. Like AYBL (Aroostook County Youth Basketball League) basketball, SAMHA (Southern Aroostook Minor Hockey Association) hockey, Dutch soccer, soap box derby, etc for sports as just a few examples. Of the small town activities where you and I will probably be attending and it’s how we get to know each other.
By working alongside each other because the events are home grown, hands on, self run by the non profit volunteers. Who add the sparkle to small Maine town living. These individuals are the small town flavor and spark. There is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer in Maine. Especially if kids are involved. We love to watch them progress up through the ranks to adulthood.
Just got back from three youth basketball games today at Southern Aroostook Community School that drives home the point about it really does take the entire village to raise the kids in it.
The coaches, referees, parents, all the folks who run the snack shack. Collect money at the gate. That put in countless hours to instruct and instill the rules, the respect for the game. The kids remember first hand someone lit the fire under them as a youngster introducing them to these activities. The ones that shaped their lives. That started the passion to take hold, to burn and roll along and take on different progressive levels.
Downhill skiing, someone got you to the slope and back. Not always Mom and Dad. Somebody helped keep your snow sled running and taught you about mechanics to know how to fix what is wrong. An individual is to blame for introducing you to horse back riding and showed you the ropes on how best to take care of the horse or pony.
Remember who sponsored your little league baseball team? Who played catch with you and was at batting practice at the local playing field before the summer games at the ball diamond in a small Maine town. Who instilled confidence in you and taught you to play as a team. Reminded you there is no “I” in “TEAM”? Be that person to play it forward. Remembering what it was like to be a kid in a small Maine town.
Camping, hunting, fishing, boating, hiking, swimming, farming, anything outdoors in Maine. The activities, the sport and pleasure of it all is just a variation on a theme that kicks you in the butt to slide off the couch. To motivate all ages to get outside. Or to dig deeper to gain the skill and exercise inside. For all we do for fun and relaxation in Maine. For our physical, our mental health that strengthens and defines the small community in Maine.
There are a lot of grown adults that are really big kids in small town Maine.
That help guide the so many youth oriented programs available in small Maine communities. Everyone has a job as a music booster for the community concert, the show choir, jazz band and there are always competitions that get hosted on the local level. With each community taking turns to roll out the red carpet, make some money, put in some long man hours of planning and the hard work to pull off the events.
The parents, grandparents bring in baked goods, sew costumes, donate their skill set. The local businesses donate at their cost or for gratis to get behind an event. To show their home town proud spirit of support.
Thank you to the host school Southern Aroostook Community that opened up the doors to the purple painted walls of the gym. To host the AYBL basketball round robin for 9, 10 year old boys this weekend.
The food was something else too. More than just pizza slices bought many hours ago and steamed hot dogs, cheese nachos and popcorn. Way more than the standard fare of grub you find at a high school sport’s venue.
No no, they had fire made on stone pizza. Hand tossed, garlic sprinkled with you pick the topping crafted right on the premises. Served up fresh, piping hot right out of the oven every eight minutes. Baked beans in the crock pot, chicken stew loaded with veggies with dough rolls. Or let them ladle out a dish of chili, lasso a large soft pretzels, munch on a home made cookies. Or maybe a couple. Hey it’s for a good cause. Yes, I did over eat and the friendly well staffed snack bar helped make the school some money and to feed the many families wandering in and out of the lobby at SACS in Dyer Brook ME. Friendly folks, most you soon get to know that turned out to climb up into the purple bleachers to watch, cheer loudly for their young home town team. The fans and players that were wearing their school colors. And the teams very small, young, low to the ground for the refs to school on the art of basketball rules and regulation introduction.
In a small Maine town, you are related to many of the names spelled out on the back of the player jerseys.
All the fans came out in groves to watch the home town basketball teams this weekend. It is like old home week and the kids are the reason you showed up. They are the entertainment, the future of our small Maine towns. The games of hoop and orange ball are fun to watch, get you out of the house. And you can not help but think how far this player out on the court will go. Maybe he or she will help bring home a gold ball, some other awards for the glass lobby trophy case in about six to nine years when sporting a little larger sized varsity jersey.
I am lucky to live in a small Maine town and proud of all the local individuals out front, or that stay behind the scenes in the shadows. They don’t need the recognition. There is not a big ego needing to be stroked. That’s not the motivation. For putting in the time, energy and money to create all the neat activities, the programs found built from the ground up in our communities. Those programs that would not be possible to hire out to be done year in and out.
There is not enough money to subsidize paid staff. That would not even come close to the level of effort these small town Maine folks put in when they roll up their sleeves that is over the top. And the same individuals perform the myriad of tasks year after year in small Maine communities. They sign on for life and next year’s events are always in the back of their minds being fine tuned to turn out even better next year. To crowd please and keep the momentum rolling in the small community that hosts the unique events. Without the volunteers, there would be no small community to call your home town in Maine. Last guy out turn off the lights.
Ever thought of living, moving, relocating to small Maine town?
It’s not crazy, you are needed. Your talents, your skill set will enhance the local fabric that is calling your name. Here for questions, your local insider to outline the steps and create the plan to make your return mail address one in Maine, Vacationland. The way life should be.
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