Inspired by the outdoor, 3 Maine women start nonprofit to mail little ones to camp

From remaining, Elle Foley, Emma Bowden and Sophia Turker pose in Falmouth on Friday. They commenced Gratitude for Maine, a nonprofit that sells calendars and notecards employing their original photography to increase money for the Susan L. Curtis Basis, which sends little ones from lower-profits backgrounds to summer season camp in Maine. Gregory Rec/Workers Photographer

FALMOUTH — When summer camp possibilities were restricted previous summer since of the coronavirus pandemic, center-schoolers Elle Foley, Sophia Turker and Emma Bowden, all of Falmouth, attended a 6-7 days images camp hosted by a friend’s dad or mum. There, they acquired the principles of photography, conference a few of times a 7 days and having excursions to local web sites to apply their capabilities. 

Soon after the camp finished, nonetheless, the girls needed to go on building on these abilities and use their pictures to spread appreciation for the state’s normal splendor. 

“At the commencing, we didn’t know what we ended up going to do with these photos. … We experienced a extended procedure of choosing what to do,” claimed Bowden, 13, a college student at North Yarmouth Academy. “We decided that we would share the magnificence of Maine as a result of these photographs with other people today.”

The trio finally settled on providing their photos – in the variety of notecards and calendars – to elevate cash so that other young ones could have the possibility to have their very own summertime camp expertise. They named their operation Gratitude for Maine and made the decision to donate the proceeds to the Susan L. Curtis Basis, a nonprofit that operates Camp Susan Curtis, a tuition-no cost household camp for Maine youngsters struggling with financial hardship. 

A sampling of notecards marketed by Gratitude for Maine, a nonprofit began by center schoolers Elle Foley, Emma Bowden and Sophia Turker that sells calendars and notecards utilizing their original images to fundraise for the Susan L. Curtis Basis. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

“We’ve form of made our mission statement a ton given that the starting, but proper now it is to let all young ones in Maine have the prospect to go to summer season camp,” explained Foley, 12, a student at Falmouth Middle College.

The ladies have experienced some enable from the grown ups in their everyday living. Foley’s mom, Courtney Rycyna, serves as their mentor and drives them to the post business to ship their items, and Foley’s stepfather, a software package engineer, served them established up a web site to carry out income. A neighbor who is a law firm helped them implement for nonprofit status.

Largely, however, they’ve divided the do the job concerning by themselves. Foley – who describes herself as “not shy” – handles promoting, sales and internet design. Bowden, a powerful math student, is the group’s accountant, and Turker, who enjoys becoming artistic, layouts the goods using Snapfish, a picture printing provider. They’ve all continued to just take pics all over the earlier year, stopping any time inspiration hits.

“Sometimes we go and decide (the spots for pictures),” reported Bowden. “But a good deal of periods we just are out exploring Maine and we’re like, ‘Wow, this is a superior photo.’”

“The photos have anything to do with Maine in them,” said Turker, 12, who also attends Falmouth Middle School with Foley. “So when you see them, (you believe) ‘Oh, that’s Maine, it appears to be like so gorgeous.’ So we can deliver the natural beauty of Maine into other people’s houses.”

A photo notecard sold by Gratitude for Maine, a nonprofit began by center schoolers Elle Foley, Emma Bowden and Sophia Turker that sells calendars and notecards applying their primary images to fundraise for the Susan L. Curtis Foundation. Picture courtesy of Gratitude for Maine

Just after starting off the firm in September 2020, Gratitude for Maine introduced its initial item – a 2021 calendar – at the finish of the 12 months. Originally, funding came entirely from donations from spouse and children and friends, but the group has given that elevated above $5,000, enabling them to deal with all their startup expenditures and donate $500 to the Susan L. Curtis Basis this past Tuesday. They continue on to grow their line of merchandise, not too long ago including Gratitude for Maine T-shirts, and Turker is really hard at operate on a established of summer season notecards. 

Now that the ladies are on summer vacation, they have significantly extra time to commit to Gratitude for Maine, but all over the earlier year, they’ve had to equilibrium the operate with college and their other extracurricular routines. In April, they obtained a large influx of orders right after currently being highlighted on Television set, requiring them to function overtime just after university and on the weekends to fill the orders.

“It was challenging,” Bowden mentioned about that time period. “I was occupied with sports and university and all the things. But I just dedicated a ton of my totally free time to (Gratitude for Maine) because it is critical to me.”

The team hopes to carry on boosting cash to share the summer time camp experience for yrs to come. Products are out there on the group’s web-site, gratitudeformaine.com.


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