Dear Friends of Bearcamp,
Holiday greetings and warm wishes from the Bearcamp Valley Board and staff! I am pleased to provide this end of year update on the Bearcamp School and to thank you for your ongoing support in so many ways.
YEAR OF SUCCESS AND CHANGE
This year was one marked by many successes and changes.
Enrollment overall has slowly increased, especially in toddler and preschool classes. We now enroll preschoolers from 18 months to four years. We also have an increasing number of school-aged children in the before and after school program in which we operate from 6am-6pm to accommodate most working parents.
While the school was meeting the new needs in the community, we did face a few challenges. Our esteemed director Catalina Kirsch resigned recently for family and health concerns. We appreciate all her efforts on our behalf and wish her well. Following Catalina’s departure, we have been grateful for our two director qualified teachers: one is assistant director, the other available for school age hours, vacations, and summer. I have returned as acting director for now until a permanent replacement is found.
The other challenge is, of course, finding funding to keep our programs at the highest quality and our staff sufficiently compensated.
We are able to pay only the teachers’ salaries from our fees. All other expenses (approximately $80,000) including heating, light, grounds, building maintenance and instructional material and equipment are supported through grants, donations and the town. United Way which generously provided funding for many years, has undergone reorganization and is no longer able to support us. Please see the attached letter.
In addition to needing support for operations, we would love to be able to purchase a 20-passenger bus to transport summer program participants to the Tamworth Swim Program, The Remick Farm and Museum, and other nearby educational locations. We are applying for grants for this purpose but would certainly appreciate your help as well.
A SUMMER HIGHLIGHT
During the summer, cooperation on a food and community project by a teacher and a board member, culminated in a dinner for 100 guests. It was hosted and by our 5-10 year olds who dressed appropriately as wait staff, took orders, and served food.
It was a great learning experience for our students, and a lot of fun for everyone. Appetizers, salads and entrees were prepared in the school kitchen by our cook with assistance from students.
This memorable occasion was made possible with help from parents and donations from Sunnyfield Bakery and Yankee Smokehouse
CHILD DEVELOPMENT: INVESTMENT THAT COUNTS
Child development is a vital and tough job. The first five years of a child’s life is the most critical time, setting the course for what she or he becomes. We have more non-traditional homes with caregivers working. Children need the stability and nurturing that child care provides. And the child care industry simply cannot or does not want to pay for it. Some four-year colleges do not offer above an associate level in child care because students cannot earn enough to pay back their educational loans.
Research shows that every dollar spent supporting quality childcare returns eight dollars in benefits to the community, including early identification of hearing problems and learning disabilities, family sustainability and a lower reliance on public assistance.
THE YEAR AHEAD: PLEASE HELP
As we look into 2015, we can rely on foundations and our community who value Bearcamp and who are ready and willing to help.
We thank you for the support of our important work, and for your investment in the future and well-being of our local families.