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From still left, Elle Foley, Emma Bowden and Sophia Turker pose in Falmouth on Friday. They started out Gratitude for Maine, a nonprofit that sells calendars and notecards utilizing their initial images to increase cash for the Susan L. Curtis Foundation, which sends little ones from decrease-revenue backgrounds to summer camp in Maine. Gregory Rec/Team Photographer

FALMOUTH — When summer season camp selections have been restricted previous summer season mainly because of the coronavirus pandemic, center-schoolers Elle Foley, Sophia Turker and Emma Bowden, all of Falmouth, attended a six-7 days photography camp hosted by a friend’s father or mother. There, they acquired the principles of images, meeting a pair of times a week and taking excursions to area internet sites to apply their skills. 

Just after the camp ended, nonetheless, the girls required to continue creating on all those abilities and use their photos to spread appreciation for the state’s normal magnificence. 

“At the beginning, we didn’t know what we ended up heading to do with these images. … We had a prolonged procedure of choosing what to do,” said Bowden, 13, a university student at North Yarmouth Academy. “We determined that we would share the elegance of Maine by way of these images with other persons.”

The trio sooner or later settled on selling their shots – in the type of notecards and calendars – to raise cash so that other youngsters could have the prospect to have their personal summertime camp knowledge. They named their procedure Gratitude for Maine and resolved to donate the proceeds to the Susan L. Curtis Foundation, a nonprofit that operates Camp Susan Curtis, a tuition-absolutely free household camp for Maine youngsters going through economic hardship. 

A sampling of notecards sold by Gratitude for Maine, a nonprofit begun by middle schoolers Elle Foley, Emma Bowden and Sophia Turker that sells calendars and notecards utilizing their authentic photography to fundraise for the Susan L. Curtis Basis. Gregory Rec/Workers Photographer

“We’ve form of developed our mission assertion a good deal because the starting, but proper now it is to permit all young children in Maine have the prospect to attend summer months camp,” stated Foley, 12, a scholar at Falmouth Center University.

The girls have had some enable from the grown ups in their existence. Foley’s mother, Courtney Rycyna, serves as their mentor and drives them to the write-up place of work to ship their merchandise, and Foley’s stepfather, a application engineer, aided them set up a web page to perform sales. A neighbor who is a attorney assisted them utilize for nonprofit status.

Primarily, although, they’ve divided the perform between on their own. Foley – who describes herself as “not shy” – handles marketing and advertising, sales and web style. Bowden, a powerful math college student, is the group’s accountant, and Turker, who enjoys staying resourceful, layouts the goods using Snapfish, a image printing services. They’ve all ongoing to get pics through the past year, halting whenever inspiration hits.

“Sometimes we go and decide (the spots for images),” mentioned Bowden. “But a lot of times we just are out discovering Maine and we’re like, ‘Wow, this is a great picture.’”

“The photos have some thing to do with Maine in them,” explained Turker, 12, who also attends Falmouth Middle University with Foley. “So when you see them, (you think) ‘Oh, that is Maine, it appears to be so wonderful.’ So we can carry the natural beauty of Maine into other people’s properties.”

A picture notecard offered by Gratitude for Maine, a nonprofit started out by middle schoolers Elle Foley, Emma Bowden and Sophia Turker that sells calendars and notecards making use of their first pictures to fundraise for the Susan L. Curtis Foundation. Image courtesy of Gratitude for Maine

Following starting off the business in September 2020, Gratitude for Maine introduced its initially solution – a 2021 calendar – at the stop of the calendar year. To begin with, funding came totally from donations from family and buddies, but the group has due to the fact elevated around $5,000, enabling them to include all their startup expenditures and donate $500 to the Susan L. Curtis Basis this past Tuesday. They proceed to expand their line of products, not long ago including Gratitude for Maine T-shirts, and Turker is challenging at operate on a set of summer season notecards. 

Now that the girls are on summer season vacation, they have significantly far more time to commit to Gratitude for Maine, but in the course of the past year, they’ve experienced to balance the function with faculty and their other extracurricular functions. In April, they gained a big influx of orders after staying highlighted on Television set, demanding them to work time beyond regulation just after faculty and on the weekends to fill the orders.

“It was tough,” Bowden reported about that time period. “I was hectic with athletics and faculty and everything. But I just focused a great deal of my free time to (Gratitude for Maine) due to the fact it’s significant to me.”

The workforce hopes to go on elevating cash to share the summer camp encounter for years to appear. Products are accessible on the group’s web site, gratitudeformaine.com.


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