Community fundraisers benefits Fair Haven Camps

By Fran Gonzalez | Feb 11, 2020
Courtesy of: Fair Haven Camps An undated photograph shows the gym at Fair Haven Camps. The facility was destroyed by fire Jan. 22 and several community groups are holding fundraisers to help rebuild the structure.

Brooks —

Several area groups have banded together to raise funds for Fair Haven Camps after a devastating fire Jan. 22 destroyed the gymnasium there.

A mac 'n' cheese benefit supper will take place Saturday, Feb. 29, starting at 4:30 p.m. at the Varney Community Building, 24 Veterans Highway. The Marsh River Masonic Lodge of Brooks and the Varney Ladies Fellowship of First Congregational Church of Brooks will host the event.

The Brooks Masonic Lodge, working through the Grand Lodge of Maine, will submit applications for two separate matching grants — one for community betterment and another for youth activity. For every $1 the benefit supper raises, the grant will match $2, for a potential total of $1,500 for each grant.

The menu for the benefit supper includes various mac 'n' cheese dishes, salads, rolls and desserts. Anyone wishing to donate a dish can call the church office at 505-5571 or Paula at 322-6915.

Another fundraiser, a family ice fishing derby to help support Fair Haven Camps and fund scholarships for future campers, is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 15, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Weigh-in is at West Haven Lodge at 1:30 p.m., located on Pond Road off Route 203. Entry fees are $15 per child and $25 per family. For more information, visit

Fair Haven Camps is a nonprofit organization that sponsors free after-school activities for area schools. Josh Rose, executive director at the camp, said it is still operating the program, but has had to move its activities outside.

The community has donated snowshoes and coats for the students, he said, so they can spend more time outside. The camp is also trying to insulate a barn on the grounds to use in the meantime, he said. “The gym was our biggest space .... It was a central part of our year-round programming,” Rose said, “and with 80-plus kids, we need more space.”

The gym, originally built in 1977, sustained damage in the 1998 ice storm. According to Rose, the back portion of the gym collapsed, but was rebuilt afterward.

With the help of an engineer, Rose said, the camp is taking time to do a comprehensive plan to ensure it will be around for a while. Up to this point, he said, they "are not 100% sure what caused the fire,” but added that they will probably replace the gym with a steel building.

“We hope to come back bigger and stronger with the support of our community,” Rose said.

The original gym at Fair Haven Camps, built in 1977. (Courtesy of: Fair Haven Camps)
A clipping of the dedication ceremonies for the Fair Haven Camps gym built in 1977. (Courtesy of: Fair Haven Camps)
The original gym building at Fair Haven Camps sustained a roof collapse in the ice storm of 1998 and was rebuilt. (Courtesy of: Fair Haven Camps)
An undated photograph shows the inside of the Fair Haven Camps gym after the rebuilt addition, where after-school activities were held for area children. (Courtesy of: Fair Haven Camps)
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