Education can open the door to rewarding and exciting careers, not just jobs. Significant growth in the hospitality, tourism and recreation industries throughout Maine advances career opportunities from forestry to finance, from human resources to hotel management, from web design to engineering. The combination of environment and recreation is creating a bright future for youth…if the path to these careers is supported.

COVID-19 Relief 

The River Fund Maine, whose mission is to create educational opportunities for youth in the Bethel/Newry community, announces a new program targeted at supporting online education for children within the MSAD 44 area (containing the towns of Andover, Bethel, Gilead, Greenwood, Newry and Woodstock in Oxford County, Maine).  As schools have been forced to close in response to the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, The River Fund Maine wants to ensure that all the children in our area are able to continue their education by participating in the online schooling opportunities offered by the local schools.  To support the students’ access to education, The River Fund Maine has created two new programs to ensure that children can continue schooling without burdening their family’s financial resources.  

First, The River Fund Maine, working in conjunction with the Telstar Regional school system (MSAD 44), will pay the cost of up to twenty internet hot spots throughout the included towns that will enable the school district to expand the internet coverage to all students in the MSAD 44 area. This will allow all students in our local public schools to complete the 2020 academic year.

Second, The River Fund Maine will pay the internet access fees for the next three months (up to a total of $100 per household) for any family whose wage earner has been furloughed due to a COVID-19 business closure.  The River Fund Maine believes that in these difficult and uncertain days, no family should be placed in the painful position of having to choose between educating their children and meeting their family’s basic needs.  

The River Fund Maine encourages a family to apply for the stipend described above if they live within the MSAD 44 area, have children enrolled in an accredited K-12 school, and a wage earner has been recently furloughed as a result of the COVID-19 closures.   

How to Apply: 
Print, complete & mail application form to: The River Fund Maine, PO Box 4500 – Newry, ME 04261  
Applicants will need to be able to supply the following information:
  • Completed application form available here.
  • Information taken from the household’s most recent internet provider’s bill. 
  • Name of child/children and accredited school(s) currently attending. Please note that the stipend is per household, not per child.  There will be only one payment made on behalf of a family.
  • Name and address of the business from which the wage earner has been furloughed. 
  • Preferred contact information if we have questions or need additional information.

 OR apply online. 

Stipends are granted without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, age, gender, disability or national origin.

The River Fund Maine Scholarship

The River Fund Maine Scholarship is focused on enabling local youth to achieve their educational and career-oriented aspirations. Each year, one local student will be named the River Fund Maine Scholar and receive a scholarship to support the attainment of a BA/BS or equivalent four-year college degree in the student’s chosen area. The River Fund Maine especially encourages recipients to envision, and prepare themselves for, careers in entrepreneurial and leadership roles. The objective is to assist talented students in developing an education plan that leads to a fulfilling and rewarding career, not just a job.

The River Fund Maine Scholar will receive up to $20,000 each year to cover the cost of college tuition and fees, room and board, books and educational supplies. The scholarship is renewal for up to three additional years and is intended to allow a student to gain a college degree and graduate without crushing debt. The scholarship recipient will also have access to financial counseling, internships, and professional mentoring to help them map a successful path through the college or university experience.

To Be Eligible an Applicant Shall
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Live in the MSAD 44 district or have participated in a River Fund Maine Innovation Workshop
  • Be accepted into an accredited four-year college or university
  • Scholars must maintain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA until graduation in order to be eligible for annual renewal for up to 3 years; some exceptions may be made with professional judgment.
How to Apply:
  1. Print and fill out the River Fund Maine Scholarship Application on or before March 27, 2020
  2. Submit all attachments in order to be considered:
    • Complete and updated transcript, including GPA and courses taken
    • Two current letters of recommendation including contact information from a teacher, administrator, program leader, coach, or school counselor (can include letters of recommendation that were written for college applications)
    • Copy of the Student Aid Report (SAR) reported from FAFSA
    • Essay Questions
  3. Mail your application and all attachments OR leave a copy of this information in a sealed envelope at the Telstar Guidance Office or the Gould Academy College Counseling office addressed to:
    • Jim Largess
      Executive Director
      The River Fund Maine
      PO Box 4500
      Newry, ME 04261
  4. Applicants will be notified on or before April 15, 2020
Awards are granted without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, age, gender, disability or national origin.

Innovation Workshop

The purpose of this workshop is to expose youth to a creative problem-solving strategy called Design Thinking. Developed by Stanford University, Design Thinking takes a real-life problem and challenges teams to develop a solution. During an immersive weekend at Sunday River Resort and led by trained facilitators, youth will be challenged to:

  1. Develop interviewing skills when they must talk to people who actually experience the problem in their daily life.  Understand how to really listen to other people with empathy.
  2. Learn how to identify what the “real” problem is.  Differentiate between the root cause of an issue and the surrounding contributing factors.
  3. Work as a team to brainstorm solutions.  Understand effective communication techniques when working with others to arrive at a consensus.
  4. Create a workable solution.  Understand how an iterative approach encourages thoughtful experimentation.  Experience how an open mind to the thoughts and ideas of others can improve a result.  Develop skills in how to forge agreement on a single solution from many points of view.
  5. Create an effective presentation of the team’s solution and present it to a panel of industry experts.
  6. Make friends, learn cool stuff, win prizes and have fun!

Congratulations to our 2019
Dare to Dream Innovators, Job well done.