After weeks of planning, preparation, and ,yes, some fretting, North Star Adventures officially set-sail with our Launch Party held on Saturday, January 27. One of my biggest pre-event worries was, “What if no one shows up?” Well, I was more than pleasantly surprised by the crowd that packed the cozy confines of the Waterfall Arts Center in Belfast. Unofficial numbers (several people in the audience counted) were around 70! The standing-room-only crowd certainly exceeded my expectations.
After I presented an overview of North Star Adventures and introduced our mission and website, the focus turned to a variety of artists who are partnering with me for the Adventures in Art Program. Ben Potter (drawing and printmaking), Stephanie Wade (writing), Rachel Littlefield (painting), Jim MacDonald (woodworking), and Cloe Chunn (nature journaling) spoke about their respective programs. Their passion and excitement for blending art and adventure was clearly evident. I am so grateful to be able to partner with this talented team of artists in our inaugural year, and maybe I’ll even be able to draw more than a stick figure by the end of it!
Of course, the Launch Party included some interactive components. Stephanie Wade created a writing prompt for folks, and Cloe Chunn shared some of her amazing Nature Journals. Gerry Saunders and Brandon Wright managed the Dutch Oven and Fry Bake station…making biscuits and chocolate chip cookies.
The wind was whipping outside and kept the outdoor events to a minimum. My husband, Gary, valiantly attempted to make hot chocolate and tea for those who chose to venture outside but, the wind wasn’t having any of it! The aborted hot chocolate mission was moved to inside. He did manage to get a fire going for S’mores. Freedom resident, Pete Mattson, took home the award for largest and messiest S’more. Nicole Caruso, Adventure Education instructor from Waldo County Technical Center, wrapped a few of the kids up in sleeping bags and tarps in an official “hypo” wrap. Anna Fiedler brought face paints and most of the kids and a few adults were adorned with beautiful artwork upon their cheeks and faces.
As North Star Adventures continues to unfold, I realize the work and intensity that it will require. I left the Waterfall Arts Center on Saturday, with a feeling of gratitude. I am so grateful for the number of folks that made the trek to Belfast to show support for my endeavor. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by such a caring community. The passion of the artists was inspiring to me and to everyone in the room. I can’t wait to work with them on our upcoming trips. I continue to be driven to make North Star Adventures a resource that will inspire folks to kindle their own sense of adventure, no matter what level, and experience the great outdoor opportunities that our wonderful state of Maine offers. The journey continues…