Maine Service Fellows

Introductions.  Celeste Branham welcomed everyone and thanked them for agreeing to serve. It was noted that one member is unable to attend, Jarod Farn-Guillette from the Hancock County Planning Commission.

Present:  F. Celeste Branham, Rebecca Graham, Madelyn Hennessey, Libby Hite, State Representative Morgan Rielly, Betsy Fitzgerald, Kate Tagai, Orion Breen and Commission staff Maryalice Crofton and Kelsey Preecs.

Review of legislation

  • Representative Rielly gave overview
  • Legislation is focused on rural areas that can’t support a traditional AmeriCorps program
  • MSFP looks at various issues: 
    o Housing
    o Public health/Substance abuse
    o Climate-related issues
    o COVID/pandemic recovery

Update on status of program funding. Maryalice gave a report. Private funding has enough for one position. Request for ARPA funds is under consideration. The MSF bill was passed unanimously but did not direct where funding was going to come from, so we are waiting until another session to see if it will be passed with a funding source.

Snapshot of programs in other states. Kelsey gave report of her research. Kate Tagai sent a running list of similar programs around the country.

Summary of think tank notes. As an orientation for people new to this project, the event notes were reviewed. 

  • Used design thinking approach
  • 25 participants
  • Reviewed materials for MA Commonwealth Corps
  • Core elements for Maine Service Fellows were identified  
    o Host should be in community, have credibility
    o Community should agree on purpose of project and goal
    o Advisor needed within organization
    o Effort must be significant enough for fellow to work full time
    o Reasonable application process that helps communities learn more about themselves 
    o Work plan/clear goals for Fellows
    o What the fellow needs to thrive
       - Technology and communications
       -  Broad interest in community development
       - Good communicator
       - Interest in rural communities
       - Host families – support outside of work and get involved in the community

Next steps.
• Begin a draft of host site criteria/selection process
• Those who are not involved in the Legislature should be working to contact representatives to highlight this work

Schedule of meetings
• Monday & Tuesdays are better
• 4:30 start time better
​​​​​​​• Conclusion - Celeste will send out the meeting schedule