Soldiers Continue Community Outreach
July 2014 » By Spc. Adam Simmler
For almost one hundred years, the YMCA of Maine Summer Camp in Winthrop has offered a fun, safe and affordable environment for children from around Maine to spend time learning new skills, meeting new friends and enjoying time in the outdoors. For almost as long as the camp has been around, the U.S. Army and The Maine Army National Guard has been there to help. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Adam Simmler.)
For almost one hundred years, the YMCA of Maine Summer Camp in Winthrop has offered a fun, safe and affordable environment for children from around Maine to spend time learning new skills, meeting new friends and enjoying time in the outdoors. For almost as long as the camp has been around, the U.S. Army and The Maine Army National Guard has been there to help.
On Sunday, May 6, the 136th Engineer Company (Vertical) from Skowhegan, began a two-week project to renovate bunkhouses used by campers during the summer months. This won't be the first time Maine National Guard units have lent a hand.
"The construction of our camp was completed in 1915, but our dining hall was replaced by the Army Corps of Engineers back in 1934, so we have a proud history of working with the National Guard," said Barry Costas, executive director of the state YMCA, and the YMCA camp director. "In the 70's the 133rd came back and built the dock system, the amphitheater, and 17 cabins for the boy's side of camp."
"As times change the facilities have got to be upgraded to make it more accessible, especially for some of the handicapped children that come," said Costas. "We make sure that the camp is up to code and that we meet all the standards of today's camping world."
Soldiers from the Maine National Guard have returned several times since then, working on projects such as building roads and athletic fields. This month, the 136th is returning to a project started in 2005 with the renovation of the cabins built in the 70's by the 133rd Engineer Company.
A lot of communities can't afford the projects they need to have done," said Sgt. Jason Richards, an interior electrician with the 136th, from Standish, Maine. "The National Guard makes it available for them to be able to complete these projects."
"We could never do this without the National Guard," said Costas. " It would take us years to raise the money that we need, just in the cost savings and labor to make this project beneficial to the children that are going to be using it."
The relationship between Maine's National Guard and the local community is mutually beneficial. Soldiers refine their skills by assisting the community and the real world hands on experience the soldiers receive during these two weeks will better prepare them for future operations, at home, and abroad.
We're very excited about the National Guard being here, concluded Costas. "The children that are going to camp this Summer here have no idea that the facility is going to be remodeled, it's going to be a complete surprise."
Maine Soldier Accepted into West Point Academy for Fall 2014 Semester
July 2014 » Story by Sgt. Angela Parady
Determined to earn one of the most coveted spots in a top military university, Angus Ferrell spent the summer before his senior year of high school training side by side with fellow recruits during Army Basic training. His family, who met him with warm hugs and cheerful smiles at the end of that long summer, is proud of his decisions, and his drive to succeed. (Photo courtesy of the Ferrell Family.)
Pvt. Angus Ferrell moved from New Jersey to Maine during his junior year of high school. The son of an Episcopalian minister, and oil artist, the athletic student began taking the steps that would lead him on a path he felt destined to follow.
"When I was younger, I went to a wrestling camp at Annapolis," said Ferrell. "There was definitely the wow factor. I saw all the cadets and midshipmen walking around in their uniforms, and they all just looked so impressive. I could picture myself being that person, that inspiring figure. I really looked up to the image, and it is something I want to be able to uphold for myself. It's just awesome, and it's very honorable."
What exactly does Ferrell hope to do? He wants to excel in one of the five military universities in the U.S. So, shortly after his family settled into their new home in Falmouth, Ferrell started to test out recruiters in the area, the Army, Navy and Air Force, and see what he could do to start getting ahead on preparing himself to apply to these schools.
Most high school students spend the summer before senior year working part time jobs and spending time with friends. Ferrell, who works part time at Ralph Lauren- Polo, packed his bags and spent his summer listening and learning from his drill sergeants.
Attending basic training is not a perquisite for getting into any of the military academies Ferrell had his heart set on, but he knew that getting that experience would be beneficial to him in the long run.
"The military was something I wanted to do since I was a little kid," he said. "Maybe it was cool movies or something. But even growing up, we would all go play soldier in a big field across from our house. We would dig foxholes, and play with wooden weapons and have Nerf gun battles. We even had our own leadership structure. It was pretty cool. Now, I get to experience it as an adult, and its different, but different in that we have all grown up now."
Ferrell's mother, Erin, said that his drive towards this path is nothing less than admirable.
"We were talking about having a 'broken leg school' in case none of the academies work out," she said. "Angus just looked at me and said, You know mom, if I don't get accepted this year, I will go ahead with the military police training this summer, and apply next year. Maybe take some community college courses or something.' He just can't see himself anywhere but at a military academy."
Ferrell agreed. "It's like, I don't even really have a thought about others schools. This is my goal, and 100 percent of my focus is on these academies. I can't see anything else right now."
Most colleges require you to fill out the appropriate application form, and submit your SAT scores to be considered for admittance. For the military academies, the process is much lengthier and must be handled differently.
"I had to get the nominations from the Maine Senators, I had to fill out the academy applications," he said. "There was a physical fitness test, medical exams."
Read the rest of the story here . . .