Jobs for Maine Graduates students at Troy Howard Middle School and Belfast Area High School will attend a two-day Pinetree Camp next month in Rome, Maine.

Regional School Unit 71's Board of Directors approved a request at its meeting Sept. 23 to send five peer-elected students to participate in the leadership development and career-building program.

Troy Howard JMG Specialist Chad Larrabee made the request. “It’s … that light bulb experience,” Larrabee said. “…It’s a unique learning experience for a seventh- or eighth-grader to have.”

This year’s topic, "Maine Needs You," centers around the workforce available in Maine as a way to entice students to work in the state after graduation. Larrabee said it is an opportunity to learn what is available for students’ future.

"Learning how they can be a solution to an emerging workforce crisis in our state," Larrabee said in an email.

This is the second year that THMS students will attend the camp. RSU 71 buses will transport students from THMS, Mount View Junior High School and China Middle School to the Oct. 21-22 event.

Camp attendance is free with the exception of transportation, which will be shared evenly among the three carpooling schools.

JMG is a program that is contracted with middle and high schools to help selected students transition through graduation to post-secondary school. There are currently 40 THMS students in the program.

The 501(c)(3) nonprofit has more than 143 programs in Maine schools, according to Since 1993 it has assisted more than 24,000 students, according to its Facebook page.

Larrabee hopes students will take advantage of opportunities to network with a number of businesses like Bank of America and Northern Light Health.

In other business, the board had a debate about meeting “norms” proposed by Chairwoman Caitlin Hills, Vice Chairwoman Jessica Woods and Superintendent Mary Alice McLean. Board Member Charlie Grey thought some of the wording regarding how board members talk to each other need to be more specific.

After over 15 minutes of debating the words, a board member reminded the board that it is not a policy and can be changed anytime. The proposal is to establish a set of standards that the board will practice at meetings while expressing and debating opinions.

The discussion was tabled for a later meeting.