Game Loft kids connect with chocolate lovers

Mar 19, 2020
Courtesy of: The Game Loft Tyson Downs, 15, a student at Mount View High School, helps a young cookie decorator from Greenville learn the ropes Feb. 16 at the Greenville Chocolate Festival.

Greenville — Learning to connect with a community and the state doesn't get much sweeter than volunteering at a chocolate festival. That's what 10 Game Loft kids did last month. Only problem was that they did their jobs so well that the festival sold out — and there were no leftovers for them to enjoy.

Ten 14- and 15-year-olds, all freshmen at Mount View High School, went with three adult chaperones to the Greenville Chocolate Festival Feb. 16 as part of The Game Loft's I Know ME program.

Now in its third year, the program is set up with three annual cohorts, and each one “adopts a food festival where they spend considerable energy volunteering," said Patricia Estabrooke, co-founder and director, with husband Ray, of The Game Loft.

"This year’s program was the Chocolate Festival in Greenville, where our volunteers filled orders for chocolate lovers from northern Maine," she said. "Perhaps it was because we had such excellent volunteers, but the festival sold out and declared its most successful year ever." The downside to that success — for the kids, at least — was that the festival sold out.

But they did get to play in the snow afterward, and that was a high point, she said.

The goal of the I Know ME program, Estabrooke said, "is to help kids feel like productive members of their community and their state. Wherever they go, the I Know ME program kids are examples of what involved, dedicated young people should be."

Later this year, in Cohort 2 The Game Loft kids will fill a variety of volunteer roles at the Ploye Festival in Fort Kent, and in Cohort 3 they will help at the Maine Wild Blueberry Festival in Machias.




Devyn Freeman, 15, concentrates as he works the chocolate line filling orders for chocolate buyers. (Courtesy of: The Game Loft)
Gage Curtis, 14, smiles while working the line at the Greenville Chocolate Festival Feb. 16. (Courtesy of: The Game Loft)
Game Loft kids play King of the Hill after working the festival in Greenville Feb. 16. Among those who volunteered at the festival were Tyson Downs, 15; Max Downer, 14; Gage Curtis, 14; Devyn Freeman and Dakota Freeman, both 15. (Courtesy of: The Game Loft)
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