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I Know ME: Expanding Worldviews

Five of the six boys in this re-creation of Homer’s art are I Know ME participants. They “became” subjects in the Winslow Homer painting one afternoon in September. Before we posed them at Birch Point State Park they had never heard of Homer or seen any of his work. Now they will never forget it. The re-creation is an homage to Winslow Homer and not a copy, just as the boys, while assuming the same poses as the originals, have their own thoughts and ambitions as they look out to sea. 

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In the 1870’s Maine artist, Winslow Homer, painted boys on the beach watching ships and thinking about their future. Would they sail away to foreign ports someday? Would they be adventurers, businessmen, explorers, or just clerks watching the world go by? We’ll never know what happened to the boy models in this painting but we hope to expand the lives of Maine youth by introducing them to great art. 

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In I Know ME the youth have experiences that would not have been possible without the program. In the summer of 2019 these boys and others in the I Am Art project will host an art exhibit and will travel to the Winslow Homer studio in Prout’s Neck. If one of the purposes of great art is to make you see the world differently, then the purpose has been fulfilled.  Birch Point, Prout’s Neck, and even boyhood have been redefined by this project. 

As the Loft closes for break and we prepare for summer programming, we're happy to reflect on the successes of our newest program's first season.  In the last month 7th graders in I Know ME have been exploring our own backyard with their first overnight trip to the UMaine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Tanglewood and an end of the year cookout at Swan Lake.  These "close-to-home" adventures aim to develop the skills and confidence needed to prepare the kids for future trips, including a trip to the Maine Wild Blueberry Fesitval this summer! 

We'd like to share with you the I Know ME program in action with a photo journey below!  Keep an eye out for even more from the I Know ME cohort this summer.

Overnight trip to Tanglewood:

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Hiking Mt. Batty...

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Reaching the summit!

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End of Year Cookout at Swan Lake:

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Passport ceremony, IKME will be visiting every State Park in Maine!

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Braving the June waters and swimming in Swan Lake!

Several years ago Ray and I discovered the State of Maine state park passport program and it changed our lives.

Maine State Park Passport

If you are unfamiliar with the program it is a checklist for visiting all 48 state parks managed by the Department of Parks and Lands of the State of Maine. The parks range from Fort McClary in Kittery to the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in Northern Aroostook County.

Fort McClary

Visiting all 48 state parks introduces you to beaches, historic forts and buildings, mountains, hiking trails, canoe trails, and the depth and breadth of the state of Maine. When we devised the I Know ME program we realized that our kids would benefit from being exposed to all of these wonderful parks and seeing what makes living in Maine such a rich experience.

On February 6 the first group of I Know ME kids visited Commissioner Walter Whitcomb in Augusta to receive their state park passports. A story about their visit was picked up by the Associated Press and circulated nationally.

Commissioner Whitcomb

A goal of the I Know ME program is to help young people confront the problems of the state and answer nagging questions using the resources of government, business, tourism, universities, museums, and people. Engaging with the state parks is one step in this process of exploration.

After visiting Commissioner Whitcomb the group had its first visit to the Maine State Legislature.

Crossing through the metal detector was the first challenge.

Gage-boots                   

Senator Mike Thibodeau welcomed the group to the legislature.

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Representative Erin Herbig showed them her office including the “secret passage” to the House floor.

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In these days of political cynicism it is important for kids to understand their government and to be able to understand the work they do for the people of Maine.

Each session ends with journal writing. Their journals will be kept from year to year to show the progress these young people are making in the mastery of their state and their lives.

IKME-journals

Please “travel” with us as we explore the state including the 48 state parks. Please feel free to make additional suggestions about who we should know, where we should go, what we show do, and how much experience it takes to understand the state of Maine.

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