On Tuesday, October 29, students at The White Mountain School advanced the mission of the school through White Mountain’s 2019 Community Service Day. For over two decades, Community Service Day at White Mountain has served as an annual way for students to learn more about charities, nonprofits, and civic organizations throughout the North Country by working directly with them in small groups. While most groups of students partner with an organization in the community, other groups work on self-directed projects under the leadership of a White Mountain faculty member.
This year, White Mountain’s student body split into twelve groups to work with the following organizations or on the following projects:
- 14 students spent the day building and clearing trails with the Bethlehem Trails Association (BTA), which aims to “provide human-powered recreation opportunities that promote sustainable tourism and encourage and nurture an active lifestyle.”
- 14 students spent the day raking, painting, removing fencing, and maintaining facilities at Remich Park with the Town of Littleton’s Parks and Recreation Department.
- 13 students spent the day cleaning up Red Summit Trail in Sugar Hill and establishing a new view ledge lookout with the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust, which aims to conserve “the farms and working forests that are the foundation of our region’s economy and character.”
- 13 students spent the day clearing leaves and brush and cleaning up detritus in the garden at Copper Cannon Camp, a “tuition-free summer camp for under-served youth in New Hampshire.”
- 13 students spent the day cleaning up the Ammonoosuc River and other nearby streams and banks.
- 12 students spent the day working on various projects at Dow Park with the Lafayette Recreation Department, including finishing the Riverwalk Trail, painting picnic tables, and replacing the kickboard at the skating rink.
- 12 students spent the day completing a garden installation with Root to Rise, which aims to “encourage community and personal discovery of ecological and social systems through experiential permaculture learning.”
- 10 students spent the day building composting units at the Lancaster Community Garden with Taproot, which develops programs that “support three impact areas: economic viability, restorative food systems, and environmental education.”
- Eight students spent the day repainting, cleaning up, and repairing the headquarters of Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country (ASPNC) after a waterline break the night before flooded the organization’s facilities. ASPNC aims to “enrich the quality of life for people living with disabilities through year-round sports, recreation and wellness activities.”
- Eight students spent the day cleaning up and clearing leaves and brush from Indian Head Trail, which White Mountain adopted several years ago.
- Six students spent the day cleaning up the area around Mt. Eustis Ski Hill and preparing it for ski season. Mt. Eustis is one of the region’s oldest ski hills and reopened in 2015 after being defunct for several decades.
- Six students spent the day helping the curators and caretakers of The Frost Place prepare to close the museum and grounds for the winter.
After returning to White Mountain in the late afternoon, students and faculty alike enjoyed snacks and refreshments as a community and reflected on the day’s activities.
“I think Community Service Day is a great way for us to practice what we preach in our school’s mission statement. Each year we give up one academic day and spend it helping a dozen neighboring organizations. This strikes me as an impressive act of compassion, and I’m glad to work at a school that goes to such lengths to embody its mission statement,” said Porter Morgan, a faculty member in White Mountain’s Department of Mathematics, who has organized Community Service Day for the past two years. “Students learn a lot about helping others on Community Service Day. Each different site is typically an unfamiliar environment that challenges the students in unique and different ways. I think the day helps students understand both the costs and the benefits of community service.”
This year’s partner organizations expressed their gratitude to the students both publicly and privately. On Facebook, representatives from Copper Cannon Camp said: “A HUGE thank you to The White Mountain School for spending their Service Day here! All of your help in the garden and raking leaves puts us a few steps closer to being ready for winter. This group worked hard. But this is camp after all, so we made sure to break up the work with some fun!” Also on Facebook, representatives from Taproot said: “We want to extend a BIG thank you to the faculty and students from the The White Mountain School who joined us today at the Lancaster Community Garden to build three 3-bin compost units and plant garlic. Each year the students embark on community service projects in their community and Taproot was one of several lucky organizations chosen as a site this year. These students are awesome and we look forward to future collaboration with the school.”
Outside of Community Service Day, White Mountain students regularly participate in community service activities throughout the year as either individuals or small groups. Organizations interested in partnering with White Mountain for future Community Service Days should contact Porter Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1886 and set in the beautiful White Mountains of northern New Hampshire, The White Mountain School is a coeducational college-preparatory boarding and day school for 135 students grades 9-12/PG. Our mission is to be a school of inquiry and engagement. Grounded in an Episcopal heritage, White Mountain prepares and inspires students to lead lives of curiosity, courage, and compassion.