Ready. Set. Succeed!

Posted:  Friday, August 10, 2018 - 8:30am

Nothing succeeds like success. On Sunday, Aug. 19, at 1 p.m., the Boothbay Region Community Resource Council will prove just that when the doors of the YMCA Field House open for the annual “Set For Success” event.

Supporting both home-schooled and Alternative Organizational Structure (AOS) 98 students in pre-K through eighth grade, Set For Success has grown each year and provided about 350 area students with school supplies and the extras that help start a successful school year.

Now in its seventh year, SFS was founded by Boothbay resident and event coordinator Sue Burge, a member of the BRCRC board of directors. Burge estimates the event welcomes between 900 and 1,000 people each year on the third Sunday in August.

Students must attend with a parent or guardian. “Set For Success has evolved into a family event including grandparents, aunts and uncles and other guests,” Burge explained.

Work toward it takes place throughout the year and is supported by people, businesses and organizations in the community.

As an example, Burge pointed out, “Our community churches are key to our efforts.” Each of the region’s 13 community churches have set aside one Sunday in July to collect school supplies and funds for the event.

Contributions also come from away. Erica Bolig, visiting from Michigan, learned about the event in June and sent cases of backpacks, pencils and other school items when she returned home to Grand Rapids.

Burge also gave kudos to the Boothbay Region YMCA which she said has a “huge” impact on the event, providing the field house, storage, and custodial and other services.

Attendees will find the field house transformed into two back-to-school shopping centers. Students can select items like backpacks, folders, dividers, pens, pencils, markers, lined paper, assignment books, crayons, scissors, glue and pencil cases.

There will also be haircuts by Shear Artistry’s Annette Nager, along with manicures and selections from the Clothing Boutique, all to make sure students are looking sharp for the start of the school year. It wouldn’t be a children’s event without a bounce house and Compass Rose will have one there.

Informational booths and tables include vision screening and Dr. Thomas Nadeau and Boothbay Harbor Rotary Club will hand out gift bags of personal hygiene items. Children and parents can sign up for school dental appointments at the Lincoln County Dental booth.  Parents and grandparents can enroll their children in the Finance Authority of Maine’s NextGen program.  

In all, Burge estimates more than $100 in school supplies and services will be provided to students at no charge. “This is not a handout, it’s a community event for all families.”

Other participants are Boothbay Harbor Police Department, Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library, Healthy Kids, Hannaford, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Lincoln County Health, Girl Scouts, Bigelow Laboratory, Kendall Smith, Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce, Boothbay Sea and Science Center, Karl’s Kids, Midcoast Literacy and Boothbay Region Health Center.

Big Al’s also contributes and provides a large number of school supplies for children in the special education programs.

“Sue has done an unbelievable job pulling together many organizations and resources to support the learners in our schools,” said Dr. Keith Laser, new AOS 98 superintendent.  “What a great way to start off the new school year.”

Other towns agree and have reached out to Burge for help with their own Set For Success events. This year on Aug. 19, Bath will host its first, modeled on the Boothbay one. It is expected to draw more than 1,000 students and will have morning and afternoon sessions.

Aug. 25 will mark the second year Augusta and surrounding communities have held a Set For Success event and officials including Augusta’s Mayor David Rollins will be on hand at the Boothbay event to observe.

Burge hopes Boothbay’s Set For Success will become a model for the rest of the country. “We are serving every student, regardless of need,” she told the Boothbay Register.

To contribute, sending a check to the Boothbay Region Community Resource Council, P.O. Box 43, Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538. Please write “Set For Success” in the memo portion. For more information, call BRCRC at 633-6272 or go to