Letter to the editor: Rachel Albury

LGBTQ Safe Prom brings joy, hope and possibility, thanks to supporters

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 9:15am

OUT Maine hosted the 12th Annual Rainbow Ball Weekend at Camp Wavus on Damariscotta Lake the first weekend in May.  As the first time with OUT Maine hosting, in partnership with Camp Kieve-Wavus, the many smiling faces mirror the huge success! Drawing 150 LGBTQ youth from around the state, and 50 supportive adults, it was a weekend of connections, learning and FUN!

Youth arrived on Friday afternoon and created a two-hour talent show of sheer joy. Saturday saw a variety of optional workshops on sex education, healthy relationships, creative writing, artful expression, life after high school, transgender health and queer history/social justice work. The capstone was an LGBTQ safe prom on Saturday night, with 300 gowns and jackets donated, a red carpet, and an amazing volunteer professional photographer. To see the joy, check OUT Maine’s Facebook page for hundreds of photos in the albums.

Workshop presenters came to Camp Wavus from around the state to teach workshops to the students and adults.  We would like to thank Sarah Hurley, NP (Wiscasset Family Medicine), Kat Zachary (Mt. Blue High School),  Gabe O’Brien (Healthy Acadia), Sarah Adkins (Department of Education), Karen Hight (Damariscotta),  Kaylee Wolf (Portland), Shane Diamond (Portland), Sultana Khan (Portland), Madison Kushner (Rockland), Cynthia Turcotte (Litchfield) and Emily Cantillo (Walpole) for sharing their time and expertise to teach the Rainbow Ball Weekend workshops.

Some of our event volunteers and advisors went way above and beyond to make this weekend spectacular.  We would especially like to thank Jess Richter from KWE, Inc. for her amazing leadership and vision for the weekend at Wavus Camp; Cynthia Turcotte (Applewald Farm) for her amazing ‘pop-up boutique’ with hundreds of formal attire outfits collected in her box truck from all over southern Maine; Steven Scoville (Cony HS) for his beautiful photography and photo booth for the dance; Lin Gould (MDI HS) for her wonderful candid photos throughout the weekend; and Merri-Ella and Charles Greenberg (Mt. View HS)  for all-around awesomeness and a magical Disco evening.

We’d like to send a BIG THANK YOU to our event sponsors: The First National Bank (Damariscotta), Applewald Farm (Litchfield), Osteopathic Healthcare of Maine (Falmouth), Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Inc. (Quincy, Massachusetts), Higher Ground Services (Brewer),  Mabel Wadsworth Center (Bangor), Cumberland Farmers’ Market Association (Cumberland), and and Wildflours Gluten-Free Bakery (Brunswick)

Our individual supporting partners were key to the weekend’s success: Kathryn Porter, Clara Porter, Elie Trubert, Michelle Rediker, Marty Jones, Liza Hays, Judy Cohen, Ralph Moore Jr. and Bridget Buck, Carole Ellen Wieske, Elizabeth Banwell, Lois-Ann Kuntz, Maude and John March, Debora Lozito, Sara Foster, James Zoller, Seth Greg Tinder, Sammy Sandler, Jennifer and Donald Brandt, Susan and Deborah Haggstrom Cressler, Bonita Rodden, Betsy Parsons, Julie Meltzer, Tim Atkinson, Nicholas Syrett, Tracy Harrington, Katherine Wilkins, David and Marcia Trudgen, Marc Chadbourne, Daniel Crewe, Deborah Hitchings, Andrew Bossie, Susan Mayne, Krista Tolman, Ms. Susan Wind, Emily Cantillo, Van Laliberte, Andrew Cantillo, Tammy Plummer, Sue and Ralph Erickson, Linda Gould, Susan Sullivan, Wiscasset Family Medicine, Frank Brooks, Louise McIlhenny, Ned Kane, Ronnie Weston and Nina Hollon.

We would also like to thank our many disco donors! Those small donations add up.

Last but not least, OUT Maine owes a very special thank you to the many community members who donated (and repaired) formal wear, makeup and jewelry for the pop-up boutique.  These donations were incredibly appreciated by the youth, who took their stunning outfits home to remember the magic. With this village of support, we can make Maine welcoming and affirming. Heartfelt thanks to all from OUT Maine (outmaine.org)!


Rachel Albury is development and administrator coordinator at OUTMaine in Rockland