“Through pooling resources and working together, the people in the small towns of Waldo County have attempted to improve the educational opportunities for their children.”

These words were written by Robert Johnson in 1958, when he was superintendent of the newly formed Maine School Administrative District 3. Though Johnson was talking about the work that had gone into forming the district, his words could just as easily be used today to describe the efforts of Future MSAD 3.

This group, which traces its roots back to the fall of 2003, has dedicated itself to improving educational opportunities for their children in every sense of the word.

Not content to settle for the bare-bones auditorium offered by the state, for example, the organization undertook a Herculean fundraising effort and managed to raise more than $575,000 in order to ensure the district got a first-class performing arts center. Anyone who has been inside the Clifford Performing Arts Center at the new Mount View complex can see just how successful that effort was.

Future has not always found the going easy. A VillageSoup article from December 2004, for example, reported that Future had entered a “holding pattern” while it took time to reassess its efforts. Grant money had not materialized, and large-scale fundraising was being put on hold.

The organization did not give up, though, and it now has a very tangible result to show for its efforts in the form of the Arts Center. However, the group now faces another hurdle as it works to raise money for athletic enhancements.

Future committed to raising $124,000 through its “First Things First” campaign, in order to pay for water lines, electrical conduit and sewer line at the new athletic fields. Though not glamorous, this work had to be done first in order to allow for more exciting enhancements down the road: scoreboards, lights and a concession building.

As everyone struggles to make ends meet these days, the group has come up short, to the tune of about $66,000 at the start of 2010. It is looking for contributions — in any amount — from people who want to support sports and athletics in MSAD 3.

Members of the organization realize not everyone is in a position to contribute. They are encouraging those who can, though, to give anything they can. Matching campaigns are helping Future reach its goals — a $5 donation essentially becomes a $10 donation, for example.

We also encourage support for Future. The group’s mission — to give kids “more than they’ve ever had,” as one board member put it — really benefits everyone in the community, the same community from which Future has drawn so much of its support to date.

Once again, we borrow the words of former Superintendent Robert Johnson, who in 1958 wrote:

“Like all pioneers, they have not found the going easy… . However, these northern Waldo County people would not be denied. Undaunted, they persevered through setback after setback. Each blow served only to make them all the more determined to succeed. At last, patience, perseverance, and just plain, dogged, hard work paid off…”

Fast-forward to 2010, and those words can be applied to Future MSAD 3. The organization’s work has already paid off once, in the form of the Clifford Performing Arts Center. We are confident that with support from the community, it will be able to do the same thing with athletics.