CAMDEN — There’s an excellent chance of a Bigfoot sighting here at Camden Snow Bowl, Sunday, Sept. 29, according to One Community Many Voices, in a news release. In fact, you’d have to be racing through the Ragged Mountain Scuttle obstacle course with your eyes closed to avoid it.
A few life-size Bigfoot wooden cutouts are some of the new features of the Scuttle, which will happen at the Camden Snow Bowl for a sixth straight year.
The event succeeds because of incredible partnerships, many industrious volunteers and generous sponsors, said Audrey Lovering, who heads race organizer and beneficiary One Community Many Voices, the Rockland-based organization providing mini-grants that keep people’s financial setbacks from becoming debilitating.
“A big part of our job with OCMV is cultivating community connections so that we can do our work of helping one person at a time and then helping them to pay it forward,” she said, in a news release. “The Scuttle is a shining example of this kind of relationship-building that creates community and allows us to provide such hand- ups. Last year, we had more than 100 volunteers who put in an estimated 1,700 hours to make this race a
success. It’s a huge team effort.”
As a result, the course is always evolving. Many fun new obstacles await runners and walkers in 2019, thanks to the handiwork of inmate employees of Maine State Prison Industries. Inmates build about 600 products ranging from simple ball-in-cup toys for $1 to $2,000 intricate model boats that are sold in the Prison Showroom in Thomaston.
They started building Scuttle obstacles a few years ago after Lovering got a serendipitous email right around the time OCMV was wondering how to get better ones built. It was from Scott Hastings, a federal probation officer in Portland who was involved in a leadership program that required him to get involved in a community-based project.
“I’d been thinking and reading a lot about the literal and figurative obstacles in life and came upon One Community Many Voices,” said Hastings, in the release. “I was impressed by its philosophy of ‘what if we could help people better.”
That, plus a personal interest in running obstacle course races, led him to reach out to the charitable organization.
Lovering embraced his offer to help, he mentioned the prison woodworking operation, she was “a diehard prison store fan,” and together they approached Prison Industries Manager Ken Lindsey, who was happy to get inmates involved.
“It’s everything from barriers with ropes to Ninja Steps the four Bigfoot silhouettes this year,” said Lindsey. “It’s great to be involved. OCMV has the ideas, and we have the ability and all the machinery to get these things done. We’re proud of this program and love being able to show off what we do. We also love helping OCMV and the community.”
Inmates also built new additions for the Kids’ Course this year.
The “ever-improving hodgepodge of hay bales, lobster traps and wooden obstacles that keep kids busy running around” is happily sponsored by Bangor Savings Bank, said Morgan Laidlaw, the bank’s vice president of small business lending, who directs the course for Scuttlers in the making.
Laidlaw, the Scuttle’s second-place finisher in 2018, explains that the bank was all in favor when OCMV sought financial support a few years ago.
“An event like the Scuttle is great for adults, but it’s family friendly now, too,” she said, noting that the bank fields a race team each year and enjoys the team-building aspect of the event, too. “A lot of us love what OCMV does – people in this area struggle more than many realize – and what they do is really meaningful. So this is a home run for the bank and the community.”
The general manager of the Camden Snow Bowl, Beth Ward, has the same mindset. When the Snow Bowl decided to join other ski areas that were hosting obstacle races, she knew she’d need help.
“Partnering with OCMV has been great,” said Ward. “We needed help to put on an event like this, and OCMV is a great beneficiary. It’s great exposure for us. Plus, OCMV donates a portion of the proceeds to our Fourth-Grade Learn to Ski program each year.”
Noticeable enhancements for the Scuttle this year beyond the new physical obstacles are a new chip timing system; a new Advanced Course for “racers who want another mile of torture,” Ward said with a laugh; and an “alphanumeric psychological obstacle” that adds another dimension, according to Hastings.
Learn more at ocmv.org and at its Facebook page , and volunteer by emailing email@example.com.
About One Community Many Voices
What if … people just helped each other a little more? Wouldn’t the world be a much better place? That’s the goal of Rockland, Maine-based One Community Many Voices, which builds partnerships like those described above. This 501(c)(3) operates in Knox County in a simple way: A person facing a financial obstacle that could snowball into a bigger problem applies for a small grant through one of OCMV’s partners. In return, grantees pay it forward through self-selected volunteerism – thus making it a hand up, rather than a handout. Grant-eligible issues relate to employment, youth aspirations, senior independent living, transportation and well being. Go to ocmv.org to learn more.
Ragged Mountain Scuttle sponsors
The sixth edition of the Scuttle is possible because of devoted volunteers and event sponsors, including presenting sponsor Camden Law, as well as Hampton Inn & Suites, Journey’s End Marina, Rock Harbor Brewing Co. and Bangor Savings Bank.
About the Fourth Grade Learn to Ski and Snowboard Program
Scuttle host Camden Snow Bowl hosts and co-sponsors three free ski or snowboard classes a season for fourth-graders at participating schools in Knox/Waldo counties. The program builds self-confidence and self-esteem and gives kids an appreciation for healthy outdoor winter activity.