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The 1st Annual CORNSTOCK: Cornhole for a Cause! grosses $11,000 to benefit Youth Services with the help of individuals and business support

Despite an unusually hot spring day last Saturday, Youth Services’ new fundraiser, CORNSTOCK: Cornhole for a Cause! was successfully launched the afternoon of May 21 at Retreat Farm in Brattleboro. Presented by Chroma Technology, the inaugural event which celebrated Youth Services’ 50 years building community, grossed $11,000 to support its 20 programs in Windham County and in neighboring New Hampshire towns.

Teams of four or more, totaling 125 individuals with names like “The Hole Denominators”,“Creamed Corn”, “Lieutenant Frank Drebin” and the “Senior Holymolycornholies” raised donations on-line and off, from more than 100 acquaintances near and far.

Frances Quesnel (R) was
top individual fundraiser.

Retreat Farm’s Farmhouse Square sported the flying corn bags (sewn and weighed to specs by volunteers Judy and Chip Siler) every hour between noon and 6 pm, in a grassy field lined with 24 cornhole boards built by the Windham Regional Career Center students taught by instructor John DiMatteo) from materials donated by W.W. Building Supply. The boards were snappily dressed in purple and white vinyl covers contributed by Elite Vinyl Images, designed by Lotus Graphics and installed by Brattleboro Union High School volunteers.

Youth Services’ Executive Director, Russell Bradbury-Carlin categorized CORNSTOCK ‘22 as a strong start for what he hopes will be an increasingly successful fundraiser for his organization and a signature event for the community.

Over 125 players braved hot weather to come out and play cornhole for a cause!

“I want to thank our volunteers, our cornhole players, our corporate sponsors, the musicians and food trucks and our in-kind and prize donors,” he said. “We couldn’t have pulled this off without each and every one of them.  Also, Retreat Farm is a great venue for CORNSTOCK and their events coordinator, Jenny Crowell, met our every request,” stated Bradbury-Carlin.

Unlike a traditional tournament, prizes went to the top fundraisers rather than top scorers. Raising over $1000 to benefit Youth Services, Frances Quesnel from the Swiss Precision team “Oh Shuck It! Bag Busters” team received the top individual fundraiser prize, a “designer” hand-crafted red oak and alder cornhole set that resembled fine furniture, donated by Guilford woodworker and retired educator, Dwayne Johnson. 

Area musicians showcased their talents throughout the day at CORNSTOCK starting off with the 7-person ensemble Putney Jazz, followed by a Capella performers, Shoulder Narrows, and concluding with the seasoned musical duo, Steve Carmichael & Bill Conley.

The team who raised the most collectively was the “Cornish Game Chicks” team, who will receive a donated pontoon boat ride with refreshments on the Connecticut River as their reward. The business that sent the largest number of employees was tied between Chroma Technology and Swiss Precision Turning.  The Corny Cyclists team and teams from Chroma both received recognition for their team uniforms.

The Corny Cyclists won a trophy
for their team uniform.

Youth Services Corporate Sponsors for 2022 include Pacesetters Brattleboro Subaru, The Richards Group and Headwater Precision, Presenters: Chroma, NorthStar, GS Precision. Sustainers: Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country Realtors; Brattleboro Savings & Loan; C&S Wholesale Grocers; DMI Paving; Law Office of Crispe & Crispe; Edward Jones Investment; H & R Block; New Chapter; 802 Credit Union; Silver Forest of Vermont, Inc; Swiss Precision Turning; Vermont Country Deli and VSECU. Patron Sponsors are Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC; Market 32 Golub Foundation; Stevens & Associates; and Trust Co. of Vermont.  Associate Sponsors are: Cota & Cota, Inc; ClearChoiceMD Urgent Care; Phillips, Shriver, Dunn & Carroll; Shoe Tree and WW Building Supply. Media Sponsor is the Brattleboro Reformer.

For more information on Youth Services or to sign up to help organize next year’s CORNSTOCK, email info@youthservicesinc.org; or call (802) 257-0361 x147.

Affordable Housing Leader Bill Morlock joins Youth Services Board

William Morlock III, retired Executive Director of the Springfield (Vermont) Housing Authority, recently joined 11 other community members in serving on Youth Services’ board of directors. Through twenty programs ranging from restorative justice, to mentoring, transitional living, workforce development, counseling and case management, the nonprofit agency, celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, helps Windham County thrive.

Morlock served at the helm of the Springfield Housing Authority for three decades. In addition to the Ellis Bloc and Huber Buildings, the Housing Authority under Morlock’s leadership, renovated the Woolson Block, a three-story historic former mill building. With a $8.7 million investment, the block was transformed into a multi-use facility combining affordable apartments, service-enriched apartments for homeless and at-risk youth ages 18-24 and more than 5,000 square feet of commercial spaces.

Also in Springfield, earlier in his career, Morlock was the Nursing Home Administrator for two homes in the 80’s and before that, a middle school science teacher in Enfield, CT. Now retired, Morlock serves on the Springfield On the Move board and was past President and Vice President of Brattleboro Community Land Trust, Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA) and Housing Vermont.

Morlock is already familiar with many aspects of Youth Services, having served on its finance committee for several years. He was recognized by HCRS in recent years for his collaboration on a youth-in transition program in the Woolson Block development in Springfield for young adults between 18-24, to give them wrap around services for two years with housing, similar to a program at Youth Services. He looks forward to helping the organization prepare for new challenges ahead as he helps with its mission of being a catalyst for change.

“Bill has been an amazing asset for Springfield’s downtown and community,” stated Youth Services board president, Cathy Coonan.  “We are so very fortunate to be able to tap his creativity and compassion now for Youth Services, through his board service.”  “Bill, a committed housing advocate understands youth homelessness and some of the complex interventions that we employed to house clients so that we can together start addressing other challenges that they’re facing.”

Bill Morlock lives with his wife Chris Hart in Brattleboro.

 To learn how you can get involved with Youth Services or to refer a person for services, visit wwwyouthservicesinc.org or call 802-257-0361.

Fundraising Incentive Prizes for Youth Services’ CORNSTOCK 2022 Announced

Youth Service’s newest fundraiser, CORNSTOCK: Cornhole for a Cause! to be held at Retreat Farm on Saturday, May 21, will offer incentive prizes for participants who choose to raise at least $100 in sponsorship monies from friends and family instead of paying the $25 registration fee for cornhole players.

Dwayne Johnson builds a “designer” cornhole set for the top fundraiser of CORNSTOCK

The fundraising goal for the event is $20,000 and it will require cornhole players raising money as well as donations from spectators drawn by the sunny weather, the food trucks and live music, according to Youth Services organizers. There will be special awards for the top individual and top team fundraisers of the day and the highest fundraiser of every hour will be announced on the public address system.

The top individual prize will be a set of “designer” cornhole boards built by fine woodworker, Dwayne Johnson of Guilford. As someone who grew up in Illinois, which he described as a location where “the corn grows tall and corn hole games thrive,” Johnson said he was honored to be asked to make “competition ready and to specs” boards that were special and unique. Johnson describes cornhole as an increasingly popular lawn game in which players take turns throwing bean bags at a raised platform (board) with a hole in the far end until a team or player reaches or exceeds a score of 21.

“I chose the hardwoods of red oak and alder for the cornhole sets because they are heavy and strong and resilient like the individuals who have been served by Youth Services for 50 years,” Johnson explained.  The woodworker committed his career to inspiring young people, having taught trumpet and band to middle schoolers in Iowa for 45 years. Johnson designed each board with a rosette corner to “bring the boards home” to New England, where this design adorns many original door frames.

The teams that fundraise the most will win a pontoon boat ride on the Connecticut River with refreshments.

Donated services, restaurant gift cards and activities will add incentives for individual participants who break $250, $500, $1000 or $5000 levels by using email and social media to encourage donations to Youth Services.

“Most players putting in some effort can easily raise $250 in a couple of days, but we are preparing to be giving out at least 10 prizes for individuals breaking the $1000 level during this, the event’s inaugural year,” said Nanci Leitch, Development Director. “The on-line giving platform is designed to take most of the work out of fundraising. And we have staff dedicated to helping people use it,” she explained.

Restaurant gift certificates from TJ Buckley, Tito’s Taqueria, the Works Cafe and Blue Moose are also on the prize list, according to organizers, who are encouraging other businesses who can, to step forward this week with donations.  Fun activities and products are also part of the prize packages donated from places as varied as Brattleboro Bowl, Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters and the Canoe Touring Center.

CORNSTOCK will be held from noon-6 pm at Retreat Farm in Brattleboro, on May 21 at Farmhouse Square on Rt. 30, but teams are encouraged to register as soon as possible to get the hour playing window they want. The $25 early registration fee per player is waived for those willing to find sponsors through peer-to-peer fundraising.  The registration fee doubles to $50 per person the day of the event, if lanes are available.  Spectators are welcome at a suggested $5 donation at the gate.

There is something for everyone: food trucks, the Thirsty Goat Pub, the Creemie Stand, live music and, of course, cornhole matches for groups of 4+ people (of all abilities) every hour on the hour.

For more information or to register a team of four or more, visit youthservicesinc.org/cornstock or email info@youthservicesinc.org or call (802) 257-0361 x131.

Attorney Spencer Crispe Brings Legal Expertise and Passion for Supporting Young People to Youth Services Board

Attorney Spencer Crispe, a lifelong Vermont resident born in Brattleboro recently joined 9 other community members in serving on Youth Services’ board of directors. Through 10 programs ranging from program for homeless youth to a youth-led business, the nonprofit agency helps Windham County communities thrive.

Crispe is an owner and partner with his father, Lawrin Crispe, at Crispe & Crispe Law offices on Main Street in Brattleboro. He is the 4th generation in his family which has continuously practiced law in Brattleboro for well over 100 years, focusin on personal injury, torts, and worker’s compensation. Crispe brings to the practice an interest and expertise in civil rights, worker’s compensation and public interest law.

Dedicating a decade of his free time ensuring that Brattleboro had a skatepark for its youth and young-at-heart, Crispe, a devoted skateboarder, was a persistent champion for Brattleboro Area Skatepark is Coming from 2010-2020. Having been a social worker for at-risk youth through Spectrum Youth and Family Services in Burlington from 2005-2007 as well as respite provider and First Call Crisis Responder for the Howard Center, he knows better than most the array of issues facing young people in Vermont and some of the solutions that work.

 “Spencer’s background in services delivery for youth, his insights into fundraising, his legal expertise and his deep commitment to Windham County will be a tremendous asset to the Youth Services board,” said Cathy Coonan, Youth Services’ board president. “As one of the newer and younger members of Youth Services’ board, Spencer brings valued expertise and perspectives that we’re looking forward to tapping in the coming months and years,” she said.

Crispe graduated from Vermont Law School in 2004 and from the University of Vermont in 2001. He has been a Planning Commission member in Wilmington, VT from 2009-2012 and was a Trails Committee member during much of that time. When he resided in Burlington, he was a youth center volunteer for over 10 years.

To learn how you can get involved with Youth Services or to refer a youth for assistance, visit wwwyouthservicesinc.org or call 802-257-0361.

Youth Services Hires Rachael Trill as Tamarack and Pretrial Services Coordinator

Youth Services has hired Rachael Trill as Tamarack and Pretrial Services Coordinator for the organization.  These pre-trial programs were first started in 2015 after the passage of Act 195 by the Vermont legislature to address a judicial system overwhelmed by many cases best addressed outside of the courtroom.  

“They are voluntary programs designed to screen for the presence of substance abuse or mental health issues to inform the criminal justice system about whether alternative paths at rehabilitation may be more effective than the traditional criminal justice system,” Struble explained. Tamarack is a diversion program specifically focused on access to substance abuse and mental health treatment. Pre-trial monitoring supports individuals in meeting their conditions of pre-trial release, and accessing community supports.

 As Tamarack and Pretrial Services Coordinator, Rachael Trill meets with individuals who choose to participate, and conducts a risk assessment and needs screening. She then shares an interpretive score of the results with the prosecutor’s office and provides the individual with information about resources to help address areas of concern.  

Trill is committed to working with the justice system to help people identify the underlying issues in their lives that cause self-destructive and/or criminal behavior, rather than focusing solely on punitive measures.

Trill’s academic interests lie in the intersection of social and legal issues, which led her to the Youth Services Tamarack and Pretrial Services Coordinator position. “Rachael is passionate about connecting individuals to resources that support their goals,” said Struble. “We are impressed with her understanding of the structural barriers creating differential opportunities for various groups and individuals.”

“These programs are in alignment with Youth Services decades-long work in restorative justice, which focuses on repairing harm caused by crime and dealing with the risks and needs of the person who commits crimes,” stated Struble.

Trill’s employment background has been as a supervisor in a retail environment for the past 10 years, maintaining cohesive relationships and mitigating conflict among clientele, team members, management and corporate bodies through impartial, positive communication tactics at Walgreens, Loft, Carter’s, BeautiGoddess, Rue21 and DEB Shops.

 Trill has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional Studies focused in Sociology from Northern Vermont University.  She observed Restorative Justice Panels at the Brattleboro Community Justice Center where she became a proponent of a responsibility-oriented approach to crime prevention and community building that she is now applying at Youth Services. 

“Rachael’s management skills, education, and interest in pursuing a career in social advocacy made her an ideal candidate for this position coordinating Tamarack and our pre-trial monitoring programs,” explained Struble. Trill replaces Adriana Hazelton who left the area.

 For more information on Youth Services Restorative Justice programs or to support these efforts with a donation, visit youthservicesinc.org or call (802) 257-0361. The next volunteer training will begin in June.

Download Youth Services’ Summer Resources Calendar 2020

Area schools have taken their classes on-line but many summer camps are  holding out hope that they’ll be able to be in session this summer, most likely with some adaptations to ensure safety for all involved (the children, family members, administrators and camp counselors).

Youth Services published its Summer Resources Calendar 2020 in April, not knowing how many of the camps listed would actually be in session come June.

“Parents and grandparents really depend on area summer camps to provide structured play and learning during the summertime as  well as childcare while parents are working,” notes Russell Bradbury-Carlin, Youth Services’ Executive Director.  “We’re hoping that as COVID-19 testing becomes more widespread, it will allow at least some camps in Windham County to be able to open this summer,” stated Bradbury-Carlin. “Fortunately, summer camps know all about reinvention and putting the needs of the families it serves first!”

Summer Camp listings on the Calendar cover a range of ages and interests, from circus arts, to music, nature and tennis, as well as overnight camps such as Camp Waubanong and Green Mountain Camp for Girls.

Please contact individual camps for the latest information on openings/closings. Youth Services  is maintaining an updated list on this webpage below.

The Summer Camp Calendar is sponsored by Youth Services Pacesetters: The Richards Group, Brattleboro Subaru, and GS Precision.

Download or print:

Original 2020 Summer Camp Calendar Listing

 Update Summer Camp Calendar Listing as of 6-11

Summer Jobs Listing

 

Collaboration with BMAC heightens aware of people who are homeless

Youth Services, which provides two transitional shelters in Windham County for homeless and unsafely-housed young adults, has collaborated with The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) and four other nonprofits, around two art exhibits intended to heighten awareness and foster constructive dialogue about local homelessness.

“Jaime and Chocolate”

The two exhibits planned to be on view at BMAC from March 14 to June 14 but are temporarily closed until further notice due to COVID-19.

Steven Kinder: 552,830” consists of larger-than-life portraits of people experiencing homelessness in New York City, accompanied by Kinder’s sketchbooks, working photographs, and paraphernalia that the people featured in the portraits gave or sold to Kinder, such as cardboard signs and collection cups. The exhibition title refers to the number of people who experienced homelessness in the United States in 2018.

Additionally there is an exhibition of photographs, video, and written narratives developed in collaboration with Groundworks Collaborative called “Coffee & Conversation: Stories of Homelessness,” an updated version of a 2015 project that brought together Brattleboro residents experiencing homelessness with those who have stable housing.

For the exhibits and a series of related events, BMAC is collaborating with Groundworks CollaborativeYouth ServicesSoutheastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA)Windham & Windsor Housing Trust, and the Town of Brattleboro.

“Our community has invested so much into having difficult conversations about social issues in order to find real-world solutions,” said Christine Linn, Youth Development Director at Youth Services.  “And so often it can be hard for individuals to view people experiencing homelessness with empathy, despite the advocacy of local agencies and participation of people experiencing homelessness themselves.”

“The BMAC exhibits and related events are a profound means for the public to witness the humanity of individuals experiencing homelessness–to not just hear about the issues but, hopefully, to be emotionally connected with individuals’ journeys,” explained Linn.

“Over the past four years, BMAC has found that one of the ways we can be of greatest value to our community is by presenting artwork that serves as a platform for the exploration of important social issues,” said BMAC Director Danny Lichtenfeld. “Projects like these deepen BMAC’s connections within our community, and they allow us to serve as a center of discussion and creative solution-making.”

The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center is closed until further notice. In normal times, it is open 11-5 every day except Tuesday. Regular admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for students. Members and children 18 and under are admitted free of charge. For updates on expected re-opening of the gallleries, visit www.brattleboromuseum.org.

Meanwhile, click here to see a catalog of Steven Kinder’s portraits.

Youth Services Case Manager Honored for Two Decades of Service

Patrick Fleming 

Patrick Fleming, a Court Diversion case manager for Youth Services since 1981, was recently honored by the organization for his nearly two decades of restorative justice work in Windham County.

Youth Services’ Court Diversion program involves victims, offenders, and community members in a constructive process that helps offenders repair the harm to victims and the community, according to Sally Struble, Youth Services’ Director of Restorative Justice programs. Every year, this one program works with close to 300 referrals.

“Patrick is the glue between our volunteer panelists and the offenders,” Struble explained, describing how once the State’s Attorney offers Diversion to adults charged with committing a crime or youth charged with being delinquent, Fleming meets with both the offender and the volunteer panels to prepare for one or more sessions together.

“Patrick’s skill and commitment to the goals of the program make him an outstanding liaison,” Struble said. “Our hope, realized in 90 percent of his cases, is that the offender not only learn from their mistakes, but also make different choices in the future.” After successful completion of the Diversion program, the original charge is dismissed, she explained.

“While being charged with a crime is often experienced by the client as a mini-tragedy, more often than not they avail themselves, with the support of the panel, in finding the silver lining,” Fleming attested. “In many cases that means re-evaluating their behaviors,” he stated. “Being able to refer them for counseling or substance use treatment as part of their diversion agreement is very helpful in this process,” Fleming admitted.”

The entire process takes on average between 60-90 days from start to finish, Fleming said. Describing how in an average week he prepares five distinct panels of trained community volunteers in Brattleboro and one in Bellows Falls. The case manager credits the Diversion Board members, who meet only once a month to hear cases, with possessing a diverse skill set that when combined is like a carefully tuned orchestra.  “I’m in awe of our volunteers. They hit all the notes and I always end up learning from them!” Fleming exclaimed.

Fleming described how powerful it is for clients to grapple with what they did and how it impacted others.“Unlike pleading guilty, paying a fine and getting a record, our participants have to engage with their actions and come to terms with the human elements,” Fleming emphasized,

What keeps Fleming doing this work case after case, year after year? “I’m interested in people. I’m interested in the challenges each case presents,” he stated. “When our participants comprehend that their life is out of balance and that there is an opportunity to set something right, take responsibility, make this crisis into something positive, we get to witness a truly transformative change for the better,” he said.

“What more can one ask for?” Fleming enthused. “Being an agent of change is the best feeling, treating them with respect and kindness in the process. Helping people to become healthier- that’s everyone’s goal.”

For more information on becoming a Youth Services Court Diversion board member, contact Sally Struble, Director of Restorative Justice at Youth Services at 802-257-0361 or email info@youthservicesinc.org.

Youth-led screen-printing seeks orders

Demographix, Youth Services’ youth-led screen printing is open for business and looking for printing jobs from area businesses. If you are in need of anything printed on fabric: T-shirts, totes, sweatshirts or masks, DemoGraphix can create a custom design or use your existing design or logo. Sales of pre-printed DemoGraphix designs are available for sale at First Proof Tuesday-Sunday 11-6 pm. Stop by and check them out in action during Gallery Walk, the first Friday of the month from 4:30-7 pm.

 

Vickie Case inducted into Youth Services’ Hall of Fame

Vickie Case,  a Youth Services Board member for 15 years, was recently inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame, designated as “Envoy Extraordinaire” for her role as a valuable link to the Windham County communities.

Vickie Case, Inductee, Youth Services’ Hall of Fame

The award ceremony at Duo Restaurant in December included moving testimonials from Youth Services Executive Director Russell Bradbury-Carlin, and Board President, Rachel Selsky.

According to Youth Services Executive Director, Russell Bradbury-Carlin, the Hall of Fame is a way for Youth Services to recognize community members like Case who make outstanding and sustained contributions to youth development and the agency’s outreach. “Vickie is a magnet,” Bradbury-Carlin hypothesized.  “She attracts people’s attention and interests.  This is why she is so good in all of the roles she plays in the community and why we consider her an “envoy extraordinaire” for Youth Services,” he said.

Case is the fourth inductee to Youth Services’ Hall of Fame, joining the late Ben Underhill, a former board member who was honored with the MVP Award; former board member Liz Richards, who was recognized with the Community Ambassador Award; and court diversion volunteer Marilyn Buhlmann, who was inducted as its first Restorative Justice Advocate.

According to Board President Rachel Selsky, Case is a ‘true believer’ in Youth Services’ mission and isn’t shy about convincing others of the value of supporting Youth Services as part of their marketing budgets. “Vickie generated countless new event sponsorships for Youth Services through contacts she had through her work then in radio advertising. “Thanks to Vickie’s persuasive powers, numerous businesses came around to seeing it as a win-win situation and many continue to support us today as a result of her introductions,” Selsky said.

To find out how to join Vickie in this important work to support our youth and families, please call Youth Services at (802) 257-0361 or email info@youthservicesinc.org