Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midcoast Maine recently hosted more than 350 Bigs, Littles and their families at the annual program celebration, held at the Penobscot Bay YMCA on Jan. 28.

Big and Little matches from Knox, Lincoln, Penobscot and Waldo counties enjoyed a night of fun, food and festivities, including a pizza dinner, piñatas, rock climbing wall, swimming, basketball, arts and crafts, and an awards ceremony recognizing the agency’s distinguished community and school-based matches.

This year’s award winners were:

The “Never Miss Life Award” (named in honor of former Little Sister Jessica Brealt) went to Bill Leathem and his Little Brother Bradley Warman (Hampden/Winterport). Honorable mentions went to Heather Trask and her Little Sister Samantha Johnston (Bangor) and Nancy Tyndall and Little Sister Destiny Yvon (Montville/Freedom).

The 2011 community-based “Match of the Year” was awarded to John Buhr and his Little Brother Isaac Goetchius (Orono/Brewer). Honorable mentions went to Mary Jane West and her Little Sister Antyna Gould (Union/ Washington) and Karen Matthews and Little Sister Kaytlyn Pierce (Owls Head/Rockland).

Two 2011 school-based “Match of the Year” awards were presented to Johnathan Riley and Shawn Gray (Great Salt Bay Community School) and Gabrielle Ingram and Malenia Rand (Leonard Middle School).

Honorable mention certificates were presented to matches at the following schools:

Trenton Stewart and Adam Berry (Warren Community School); Chris Bresnahan and Logan Powers (Hope Elementary); Jacquelyn Richards and Montanna Edwards (Camden-Rockport Elementary); Rayne Henke-Ledwith and Anna Dare (Lincolnville Central School); Stacey ‘Elleson’ Butler and Logan Radley (South School Monday program); Emily Protheroe and Robert Grover (South School Tuesday program); Janelle Noonan and Aaliyah Wright (Miller School); Hunter Herron and CJ Vinal (Nobleboro Central School); Abigail True and Hannah Rose Hogencamp (Leroy Smith School); Ben West and Colby Ingraham (Mount View); Conor Patrick and Zack Tremmel (Wagner Middle School).

The winners of this year’s Program Celebration Flyer Design Contest were Thai-Lien Parsons and Sydnee Lilly of Great Salt Bay Community School.

Several matches were also recognized for reaching their 4-year anniversary or more as a match.

School-based matches who were recognized for their long-lasting commitment and dedication were: Emily Crider and Meghan Rittall (Nobleboro Central School) and Paige Greene and Kyara Severson (Miller School).

Community-based matches were Susan Grayand and Chloe Desjardins (Wiscasset/Booth Bay Harbor); TJ Mack and Jazmyn Cushman (Lincolnville/Belfast); Bob Beck and Micah Zisette (Waldoboro); Mary Jane West and Antyna Gould (Union/Washington), and John Buhr and Isaac Goetchius (Orono/Brewer).

To be a mentor, special skills are not necessary — just the ability to listen and offer friendship, guidance and encouragement to a young person. Mentors, according to a news release from Big Brothers Big Sisters, inspire youth to do their best and achieve their dreams; they encourage youth to stay in school, keep focused and seize the opportunities waiting for them. They help youth discover and nurture their passions in life. Whether as a Big, volunteer or donor, support can start something great. Call 593-0380 or email: info@bbbsmcm.org to get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midcoast Maine.