Cape Ann Partnership Provides GMGI Leadership Seminar

Local Non-Profits Combine Resources and Utilize the Cape Ann Community Foundation Grant to Develop Leadership Skills in Gloucester Biotechnology Academy Students

Biergarten + Sun = A Wonderful Weekend

20 May 2019 On historic property designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the Notch Mobile Biergarten brought the South Lawn to life this past weekend with families, friends, and so many dogs. We are lucky to be situated on property that seems to be an oasis on the North Shore. The drawback to being an oasis is that not many people know where we are. I suppose that aligns with Olmsted’s original vision of his design, but we want to share what we have with our community and neighbors. The Notch Mobile Biergarten embodies this idea, so it seemed only natural to plan a weekend where we could gather our people and be present for an afternoon. Some folks who joined us came from Cambridge and Somerville, while others wandered in from Beverly and were thankful that we were “right next door.” There was even one couple who took a wrong turn on their way to go fishing and was pleasantly surprised at what they found instead. It’s incredible what you’ll find when you’re not looking. Our enjoyment came from the amount of people enjoying each other and their sense of place. Phones were put away, lawn games were taken out, and laughter was heard throughout the day. We couldn’t have asked for anything more. We set a goal to share our space with our community and watch them take as much enjoyment from it as we do every day. I think Olmsted would agree that we met that goal, and while we hope to do it again, I’m pretty sure he’s pleased that so many people were able to enjoy his life’s work right here on the North Shore.‚Äč

Reflecting on Our 2nd Annual SEL Symposium

18 May 2019There was a lot of activity at Moraine Farm during the month of May. There was so much activity, that it’s taken us a while to really process the many conversations we had with educators and health-care providers. Our 2nd Annual SEL Symposium brought administrators, teachers, counselors, and staff from youth organizations together from around the North Shore as well as New England. We started off the day hearing from teachers from the Burlington Public School District about the ways they structure their schedules to include devoted time to practice social and emotional learning skills. Their superintendent, Dr. Eric Conti, made it a high priority for these strategies to be implemented daily and stands behind the curriculum and assessments his teachers use with their students. Participants were then invited to choose from six workshops: More Than a Homeroom: Making genuine connections in advisory, Practicing Full Value Using Low Elements, Support and Reinforce Whole-School Initiatives through Physical Education, An Experiential Approach for Improving and aligning SEL Initiatives, Be Here: The full value of cultivating mindfulness in our schools, and Supporting Gender Identity through Adventure. Our trainers valued each of their sessions and found it helpful to offer each workshop twice so that more people could take advantage of the workshops. "The group of participants I worked with were enthusiastic and motivated. I felt l was surrounded by like-minded educators who are ready and willing to make change happen. After the workshop, I felt inspired and hopeful that the teaching community is stocked with such open-minded leadership and that it has the courage to challenge tradition and authority to protect the social/emotional world of their students."  Cory Grant"I was taken by the authentic interest and level of participation of the educators in the mindfulness sessions. I was inspired by their desire and willingness to improve the wellness of the entire education community." John Grund"It was a great opportunity for so many educators from the area and beyond to connect with one another while exploring dual interests in Adventure and SEL. In my workshops, there was a particular interest in how adventure learning and consulting methods are applied not just for instruction but to strategically facilitate better integrated school-wide SEL." Larry ChildsOverall, the participants enjoyed the opportunity to hear from colleagues about best practices and experience different ways of incorporating social and emotional learning into their work. "Glad I came because I found value in each segment." "Loved the session and hope to return for more programming. Thank you! Great day.""Thank you all for the valuable information. What a wonderful opportunity to meet and connect with other educators who all have a passion for SEL! "Thank you to all who attended and be sure to be on the lookout next year for our 3rd Annual SEL Symposium! 

Spring Cleaning - Love It or Hate It?

18 April 2019  It’s about that time of year when you think about going through your closet, looking through your clothes, and making the “piles” you know you’ll do something with later. You know the piles: keep, donate, trash.  Or maybe you don’t focus on the closet; you focus on the actual cleaning - the dusting, the wiping, the moving of the furniture that has now left imprints so deep in the rug that you’re not sure if it’s still rug or if it’s become the sub-floor at this point.  Let’s not forget the mental cleaning! It’s just as important as the rest. Give yourself a fresh headspace by cleaning out those negative thoughts that weigh you down, cloud your thinking, and prevent you from being the best version of yourself. Treat yourself to 45 minutes with a new book but leave yourself extra time just in case.  And then there are those of you who will do all of that AND take care of your learning spaces. For some, that means your classroom, a supply closet, or a challenge course. Here are a few key things to keep in mind when going through your outdoor equipment.  Fallen trees and limbs:  Do a walk-through of your challenge course, keeping an eye out for anything that might have come down over the blustery winter months. Soft gear:  Hopefully, you stored it in a sealed bin because otherwise, you might find some unwanted furry friends nesting in with your fleece balls or harnesses. Wooden platforms:  If you left them out, make sure that they’re still sound—no rot or soft spots. Tires:  We made an exciting discovery when our first climber (thankfully, an adult) climbed up our Vertical Playpen a week ago – a squirrel built a nest inside the hanging tire! Both the squirrel and the climber got quite a shock when they encountered each other. Consider replacing: Harnesses and helmets from 2008, haul cords (damaged during above-mentioned windy winter storms), and maybe not replace, but refresh your prop selection?  While spring cleaning isn’t at the top of everyone’s list of things they want to do, it feels so good once it’s done. Let’s just hope you don’t find a squirrel, too! 

Winter is coming!

29 November 2018 Chances are good that most of your courses are done for the winter and they won't see participants until the snow melts and the temperatures rise. If that's the case for you, our Challenge Course Manager, Mike Sallade, put together a few tips for you to consider when winterizing your course. While it may take time now, it'll save you time and money later.        Mike says to:Store soft gear in close topped bins.Exclude mice, moisture, dust and UV light from your ropes, harnesses, and helmets.Label the bins to make opening your course go smoothly in the spring.Keep your high element p-cords a little loose.Trees and pole wiggle a lot over the course of a winter, keeping those haul lines loose will reduce sawing actions on cable and tree bark, and save you from climbing to restring them in the spring.Not too loose! Too much travel can damage pulleys on traversing elements or allow p-cords to tangle around branches.Bring in anything that isn’t nailed down.Wooden platforms will last years longer if they don’t sit on the ground covered by snow.Meuse, Islands, and Zig Zag boards will warp less and last longer too.Low-hanging Hand lines, swings, rope ladders and the like can be an attractive nuisance. Weather also takes its toll on them.Make it easy on your inspectors.Make a list of things you want them to take an extra good look at.If you know your course will need minor repairs, let your vendor know when you are scheduling the inspection.Organize your gear: similar carabiners together, harnesses and helmets grouped by yearLubricate your locks.There is nothing worse than a lock that is frozen when the rest of the world has thawed.

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