SKOWIGAN, Maine — Skowigan on Main Street opened the new Skowigan Outdoors Basecamp Thursday, allowing Somerset County families to rent outdoor sports equipment such as cross-country skis, snowshoes and camping equipment. became.
Evan Nickless, a child who lives in Skowhegan, said he enjoys participating in outdoor group sports activities at Skowhegan Outdoors because it allows him to spend time with his friends.
Cadence Fogg said she loves being active in a guided group and the opportunity to try activities she's never tried before.
But local mother Megan Patrick said the cost of sporting equipment was often a major barrier for many families.
“This equipment is very expensive,” Patrick says. “This device is a huge piece that removes barriers for families who don't have financial access.”
Christina Cannon, president and CEO of Main Street Skowhegan, said the opening of Skowhegan Outdoors Basecamp downtown will improve access to outdoor gear and sports. She said families like Patrick's make the nonprofit's work giving back to people in the community worthwhile.
“Our only goal was to really give our most disadvantaged residents a free opportunity to get outside,” Cannon said. “It’s really great to see free opportunities available to local young people.”
Patrick said he appreciates how focused Main Street Skowhegan is on revamping Skowhegan's outdoor scene. Patrick said the team always provides guided instruction to families during planned outings and organized group activities, ensuring people don't have to worry about safety and can focus on having fun.
“We're always talking about getting youth involved in healthy outdoor activities, and really Skowhegan Outdoors…puts their money where their mouth is,” Patrick said.
Maine Street Skowhegan does not work alone. Cannon said the nonprofit organization is fortunate to receive most of its funding from AmeriCorps' service programs and a portion of its funding through state foundations that make grants.
Cannon said the support she is most grateful for has been donations and help from other local business owners in the city and state.
“It takes a community-wide effort to revitalize a town,” Cannon said. “Maine would not exist without the support of local businesses and our volunteer support.
Street Skowegan. ”
Local businesses such as the Hite Family of Dealers donated pickup trucks to help the nonprofit with transportation equipment to lead group activities.
Dealership President Sam Hite said his connection to the community's prosperity runs deep, especially as he is the father of a 5-year-old girl who loves being active outdoors.
“I understand that we are in rural Maine, rural America, but sometimes it just takes a little bit more effort,” Hite said. “But we were able to work on it. Skowhegan is a really great community and there's a lot of people in and around it that care and we're all in this together.”
Anyone who does not live in Somerset County but would like to rent equipment can purchase a one-year membership for $50 for an individual or $75 for a family.