The Latest News From Mayhew

Monadnock Region Reunion, January 16, 2018:


With light snow giving a dusting to the outside, a terrific showing of boys, Links, Extenders, families, and trustees/school officials made this Monadnock winter night feel wonderfully warm.  Speaking of warm, thank you Chris (enrolled 2014) and family for the fresh-from-the-oven apple cake you shared.  It was delicious – and gone in no time!

Some other morsels worth savoring?  A year ago, Nate (enrolled 2013) was working hard to earn the privilege of being welcomed as a volunteer to the Alstead Fire Department.  Now, he is well into an active stint as a volunteer with the Marlow Fire Department, where he has already gone out on two calls and is looking forward to more…Sean (enrolled 2014) and Noah (enrolled 2015) are both looking forward to the prospect of securing scholarships, once again, to attend a terrific summer camp in Maine.  Both boys were sponsored their first summers there by a legendary former Mayhew staff member, who remains a very active and close friend of the program…

Talk about close friends of the program!  Mayhew alums Andrew (graduated 2002) and Travis (graduated 2007) arrived separately but fell easily and enthusiastically into sharing their Mayhew memories and spirit.  Almost two years ago, Travis reached back to Mayhew with the following email, “Wow, how do I start to talk about a program that changes lives for the better?!  I was 11 years old when I first came to Mayhew and since that moment it has never left me. Mayhew has always been there to pull me out of bad times, whether I was on the island or in school.  Even as an adult, I always remember things I’ve learned or experienced at Mayhew…”  And Andrew has shared many sincere and memorable sentiments of his own over the past couple of decades.  The most succinct one?  “Mayhew is people helping people.”  Travis and Andrew, thank you both for all the helping you’re now doing here!

Statiu (enrolled 2009), great to have seen you up and at ‘em and recovering quickly following your accident a couple of weeks ago…Danny (enrolled 2015), is there anyone as punny as you?!  Thank you, we think, for stretching our minds and eliciting groaning smiles with your christening of your trivia team for the evening, “You’ve Cat to be Kitten Me Right Meow.”  It was “purr”fect…The evening’s two other trivia teams?  “Department of Extranormal Operations” and “Buttercup Princesses.”  We think the Princesses were inspired to adopt their name after Dayvon (enrolled 2013) stirred many laughs in helping Program Extension Coordinator Grayson Richey to introduce the ice breaker game of “Bad Knight, Pickles and Princesses.” 

Harkening back to his two Island summers, Graison (enrolled 2016) shared one of his favorite moments: making it to the top of Mayhew’s highest climbing event – 72’ above the ground.  This, despite being very afraid of heights!  Way to role model a healthy approach to challenge, Sir!

And here’s a challenge for our intrepid Blog readers, one that Grayson Richey issued to reunion attendees: Can you recite, verbatim, Mayhew’s mission statement?  Send your responses to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  We’ll happily publish the mission and any mission imposters in the next posting.

Next reunion: Seacoast Area, 1/18/18, 6-8pm, Dover’s Woodman Park Elementary School, 11 Towle Ave. 

See you soon!


Manchester Area Reunion, January 13, 2018:


Before we jump into news from the Mayhew’s first 2018 reunion, here’s a rundown of the reunions to come – we hope you and your family can come add to the fun and friendship:

Monadnock Region, 1/16/18, 6-8pm, Symonds Elementary School, 79 Park Ave., Keene, NH
Lakes Region, 1/17/18, 6-8pm, Laconia Middle School – Cafeteria, 150 McGrath St., Laconia, NH
Seacoast Area, 1/18/18, 6-8pm, Woodman Park Elementary School – Cafeteria, 11 Towle Ave., Dover, NH
Concord Area, 1/19/18, 6-8pm, Abbot-Downing Elementary School – Cafeteria, 152 South St., Concord, NH
Pemi/North Country/Upper Valley/Newfound Areas, 1/20/18, 2-4pm, Mayhew Base House, 293 West Shore Rd., Bristol, NH

If it is inclement weather, check Mayhew’s Facebook page (“The Mayhew Program”), we’ll do our best to have an updated posting by 1pm about plans for that evening’s reunion.

Now to that Manchester Reunion news…Peter (2013) is enjoying his freshman year at Trinity High School, where he recently completed his football season…Aaron (2011) also competed on the gridiron this fall for Memorial High School.  He is now on the wrestling team.  Way to “ring” in the New Year, Aaron!...Bennett (2011) is on a traveling maintenance crew for several McDonald’s Restaurants and is enjoying the varied challenges he is served with…Robert’s (2008) trivia question for everyone in attendance?  “The summer of 2018 will mark what number summer for Mayhew?”  The answer?  Canadian rocker Bryan Adams once had a hit song about the same summer that was Mayhew’s first.  If you know that hit, you’re on your way to getting Rob’s question answered.

CJ (2011) comes from a long line of foodies, cooks and chefs and he is enthusiastic about pursuing a culinary career.  He’s making his start in the fine art of delectable dining and meal making at Manchester’s School of Technology…Now in the business of making good food his work and ambition, Devin (2012) is not only serving success at the Pizza Market, he is its social media coordinator…Speaking of social connections and Devin, not long ago, he was talking with a colleague when the subject of Mayhew came up.  Mayhew?  You went to Mayhew, too?!  What?!  You were in The Cadence cabin group?!  Me, too!  Hey, I thought there was something familiar about you!  Now I remember!  Who was this long lost cabinmate?  Sean (2007), who was enthusiastic about joining Devin in some long overdue reconnecting at the reunion.  We hope we’ll see both of you, again, this summer on Island for a visit!

Robert (2011), Sir, it is always good to see you!  Thank you for making yet another reunion, despite a tight Saturday schedule that didn’t exactly make it an easy stop to make. 

And there was nothing easy about the trivia questions Program Extension Coordinator Grayson Richey and the Extenders threw out to those in attendance, who divided themselves into three distinct groups for the competition: “Wait for it,” “Maychester” and “Team Baby Geniuses.”  What is the most-climbed mountain in the world?  The second-most?  How many official cookout sites are on Mayhew Island?  What was Mayhew’s predecessor camp?  The questions seemed to have no end.  But thanks to three solid team efforts, they were always paired with answers – and most of the time, they were the right ones. 

We want to send out a big “Thank you!” to the welcoming folks at the Manchester Boys & Girls Club, who answered our somewhat anxious question, “Where can we hold our first 2018 reunion,” with an energizing, “Look no further!”  Thank you! 

And thank you to everyone who kicked off Reunion Week so solidly on Saturday!

We’re on to the Monadnock Region on Tuesday.

2017 Second Session, August 12, Day 25:


Homily for the day: Mayhew: More than a place.

Zander (Super Chickens) proudly wears his Basketball Sportsmanship Award as he serves his table as waiter for the last meal of the session…Breakfast is punctuated in the best way with the induction of the final member of Second Session’s Outer Circle, DJ.  Well, well earned, DJ! 

Following brief recognition ceremonies for each cabin group and the families on the mainland, many boys bring their families back to the Island for a tour.  Asher (Positive Palooza) strolls his family through the Lodge and the Dining Hall, stopping at his table: “This is the table where I ate for the last 25 days.”…Alex’s (High Koalaty) mom notes with one member of the staff how glad and grateful she is that she happened to be Mayhew Outreach Staff Steven Rossmeissl’s Uber driver during a trip he made back in May.  As their conversation during that ride turned to Mayhew and its mission, she found herself thinking what a great and needed experience it could be for Alex.  Three-and-a-half months later, she’s thinking she was right.

The reunion between Anthony (No Words Needed) and his mom is a mutually emotional and ecstatic one, where he leaps into her arms for a long and loving hug.  Looking on and feeling the love from across Mayhew’s dirt lot, Kainan (Funky Fresh) runs over to them with a smile, “Can I have hugs?!” 

On the boat ride to the Island, Kainan and Anthony bubble fairly regularly with tidbits to share with their families.  Anthony: “Mom, guess what?  I made the Baseball Team [one of the highest honors in the Athletics program]!” 

In the days to come, there will surely be lots more Mayhew tidbits being shared.  And in the weeks and months to come, the staff looks forward to joining the boys in making more Mayhew memories in their home communities throughout the state. 

Yup, it’s time for that “more than a place” work!  Here we go!


2017 Second Session, August 11, Day 24:


Homily for the day: I have been changed for the good.

A reach back “Congratulations!” to yesterday’s Challenge Day Champs…Funky Fresh!  It wasn’t always pretty – there are always stumbles for every Challenge Day Champion – but when things were at their most difficult, Funky Fresh kept on plugging away.  And frequently, they pulled together when they needed each other most.

The morning activities are spiced with a special visit from U.S. Senator and Former NH Governor Maggie Hassan.  When Senator Hassan stops briefly in on No Words Needed midway through their end-of-summer Mayhew survey, she asks if anyone has an idea of what a senator does.  Without much delay, Elias replies: “Speaks for the people.” 

After some pre-Awards Lunch words from Senator Hassan, everyone percolates into the Dining Hall for the last noontime meal of the session, followed by the final quiet hour and then the first and last Awards Ceremony of Second Session. 

While there are many, many awards to go around, perhaps the most special part of the ceremony is when each member of the community is individually recognized for what he has brought to his cabin group and to Mayhew Island this summer.  Here are a few snippets:

Hunter (Positive Palooza) was always a positive force on the hikes, where he served in the Scout role, looking out for his cabinmates and for ways of keeping everyone together.

Jaiden (Positive Palooza): Athletics Counselor Natalie Gutierrez tells of the soccer game where Jaiden was in goal and an opponent fell in front of him.  Although the ball and the play was rushing toward him, he instantly offered his help to this boy.  And when the other team scored because he was otherwise engaged, he shrugged it off, knowing he had made the right choice.

Eric (High Koalaty).  When Eric was pumped up – and that was a lot of the time – his energy usually spread in a positive way to his cabinmates.  He often made the staff and the other boys laugh, when it seemed to be needed (and sometimes when it wasn’t).  And he showed a lot of growth over the course of the session, growth we hope he continues to foster in the months and years to come.

Perhaps one of Logan’s (High Koalaty) most impressive moments came during his climb of the twenty-foot-high Climbing Wall, where he kept shouting down to his belayer, “Let me down!  Let me down!”  The odd and impressive thing, though, was that, as he was saying this, he kept climbing higher and higher, eventually reaching the top of the climb!

Anthony Words Needed)  had a very difficult beginning to the session, where he seemed to wrestle mightily with homesickness.  But he kept the door open to involving himself in the community and it wasn’t long before his thoughtfulness and quiet leadership skills began to percolate through.  During the last several group discussions in the cabin, it was not uncommon for Anthony to say things like, “Today is going to be such a good day.  I don’t want to leave this place.”

After a particularly tense argument with one of his cabinmates one time, Elias (No Words Needed) returned to the group with some blueberries he had picked for him.  His cabin counselors described him as a beacon of light for the group when things got tough. 

One of Jacob’s (Funky Fresh) many shining moments came during yesterday’s All-Island Run, when a cabinmate, Gaige, fell right in the thick of the pack.  Seeing this, Jacob immediately turned back, weaving his way around the racing bodies to get to Gaige to help him up and ensure he was Ok.

DJ (Funky Fresh) achieved a great deal this summer – for himself and for and with his cabin group.  He could be counted on to be a supportive and fun leader when it was most needed.

Mr. Energetic, a.k.a. Thaiyne (Tough Timers)…As Cabin Counselor Ron Callahan put it: “The Library and quiet hour were Thaiyne’s kryptonite.”  Being still and quiet for any period of time inevitably had him wanting to run laps around buildings and getting out and doing something.  What he did over the course of the session was learn and grow within the community and within himself.

Angel’s (Tough Timers) pleasant persistence, especially in pursuit of the Miler’s Club at the Swim Cove, was just one of many traits that made him a leader within and for his cabin group.  He gained entrance into the Miler’s Club on the very last day he had for qualifying.  In this and many other things, he was a role model for the whole community.

Especially in the beginning of the session, Justin (Super Chickens) preferred doing things on his own, being an individual, rather than considering himself more of a group member.  While this didn’t change 180 degrees over the course of the session, he certainly grew and contributed a good deal as a teammate.

Sam (Super Chickens) was a constant source of energy for the group.  He was not only often ready to join in the fun of the group but he often stepped up as a leader and in work hours, he partnered easily with many cabinmates and would often be heard singing as he worked.

Congratulations to the boys who earned a coveted spot on the end-of-summer Link-Up Preview Trip (for the Island’s outstanding leaders who are heading into Link-Up , the next stage of Mayhew, next summer): DJ (Funky Fresh), Adam (High Koalaty), Domineaq (No Words Needed), Elias (No Words Needed), Gavinn (Super Chickens), Angel (Tough Timers), Ahmad (No Words Needed) and Sam (Super Chickens).

And congratulations to the session’s three major award winners: Peter Ivy Lee Award Winner Elias (No Words Needed), Staff Award Winner DJ (Funky Fresh) and Trustees’ Award Winner Gavinn.

Congratulations to each and every boy for completing the Mayhew summer and for doing it as a key member of the community!


2017 Second Session, August 10, Day 23:


Homily for the day: It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

This is Challenge Day, where the most difficult challenges can often be found between you and yourself and you and your group.  The day begins in stirring fashion with the induction of the session’s first members of the Outer Circle: Anthony (No Words Needed), Gavinn (Super Chickens) and Luke (Tough Timers). 

Asher (Positive Palooza) to his cabin counselor Cody Estes just before he attempts another swing on the Prouty’s Landing rope: “Cody, if I make it, 25 cents Mayhew Money.”  Ah, Asher, your smile says you know you’re just joking.  After a couple of failed swings, where he skids across the ground a few feet, Asher seems on the verge of giving up, saying, “I’ve done it [swung] two times already and I’ve hurt myself.”  His cabinmate Hunter chimes in on an encouraging note: “Third time is the charm.” 

At the Island Hopping initiative, No Words Needed encounters some real difficulty.  “Randal” sits defeated atop the first “island” platform: “This is too hard.  It’s too frustrating.”  At least two other boys seem to be in that same defeated mode.  Cabinmate Jovanni responds: “That’s why they call it Challenge Day.  Who wants to challenge ourselves?  Who’s with me?  Guys, we’re brothers.”  Regrettably, this doesn’t have much of an effect on Randal, who seems bound and determined to remain in his defeated mode.  As time slips away, the feeling of defeat continues to spread to others.  Impressively and suddenly, Nick, who had seemed ready to accept defeat just a few minutes before, shifts himself into rallying mode.  While Randal sticks with defeat: “I am not doing this,” Nick keeps on trying.  A few minutes later, Elias utters the following observation: “We beat everything [the group has won every sports and group title to date] and yet Challenge Day is what stopped us.”  But as Elias seems to know, even as he lets this statement into the air, and, certainly, as Nick and Jovanni and, yes, even Randal surely know…It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

During the height of frustration and “stuckness” at the initiative after Island Hopping, the Traffic Jam, Anthony clearly feels the disappointment of the moment.  Seeing this, Domineaq approaches him and says earnestly and in an I’m-with-you tone, “You know how to look like an Outer Circle member?  Look up and put a smile on.”  A bit later, during another moment when Domineaq steps forward to support, Elias declares, “Domnineaq, if you don’t make Outer Circle, that’s trash.” 

Per tradition, Challenge Day is capped with the All-Island Run, which is short of a mile but includes lots of, well, long stretches of challenge.  First across the finish line, looking barely winded is DJ (Funky Fresh).  He is followed by Adam (High Koalaty) and Gavinn (Super Chickens), who make it a close race for second.

The day wraps with a steep challenge for the mind, the Huuumannn Chess Championship, where DJ (Funky Fresh) and Asher (Positive Palooza) play on a regulation board (from the Groton School Camp days) and 32 of their fellow Mayhew Islanders stand on a life size board in the transformed Hockey Arena, ready for a BIG game of matched wits.  And a big and extended game it is, taking DJ and Asher – and everyone – close to heading-up-the-hill-for-the-night time.  Eventually, however, DJ emerges from the game the winner but Asher certainly has plenty to be proud of, too. 

Looking back on the day – and the session, and the many past summers on Mayhew Island – Nick (No Words Needed) seemed to sum it all up in two compact sentences earlier, during an especially difficult time, “Welcome to Mayhew!  Challenge yourself!” 


2017 Second Session, August 7, Day 20:


Homily for the day: Embrace every moment.

On Saturday, No Words Needed embraced every challenge they faced in the Hockey Arena and earned the session’s first championship.  Congratulations on your Slapshot Hockey title, Gentlemen!

Today is Zander’s (Super Chickens) 13th birthday.  Here’s to a great teen hood, Zander!...In work hour, everyone in Positive Palooza earned full pay during the garbage row and Asher did a particularly noteworthy job as coxswain, keeping a consistent rowing cadence and doing his best to direct his cabinmates toward well-coordinated strokes…Blueberry picking can be a real “plum” work hour but to earn full pay you have to take a “fruitful” approach and pick for the whole community rather than your own appetite.  Here’s to Elias and Anthony (both of No Words Needed) who had a “berry” good time picking for others rather than themselves.

At the twenty-foot-high Voyager’s Crossing, Justin (Positive Palooza) was the first to climb but he was even more impressive after his climb, as he set about the task of cheering on and guiding his cabinmates during their ascents.

The Island community was boosted by a special visit by a NH leader focused on helping others find and build on their strengths, U.S. Congresswoman Annie McLane Kuster, who spent the morning touring Mayhew, seeing the boys in action, joining them for lunch and sharing a few words of inspiration and appreciation to cap the announcement period.  Thank you, Congresswoman, for making the time to share some Island time with the boys!  And thank you to Jake Berry for helping to facilitate Congresswoman Kuster’s visit!  A little trivia: Jake recently completed a board training fellowship through the NH Center for Nonprofits.  Can anyone name the Mayhew legend and leader who was Jake’s mentor during the fellowship?  Hint: He has a certain field named after him on a certain NH island.



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