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Circle Program Receives $2,000 Grant from Merrimack County Savings Bank Foundation

The Merrimack County Savings Bank Foundation has granted $2,000 to the Circle Program, to support participation in the organization’s Teen Adventure Program (TAP). Two Concord-based teens and one Franklin-based teen will be able to participate thanks to the grant. This is one of 19 awards presented by the Foundation to non-profit organizations this year.

Angela Strozewski, Senior Vice President, Operations Officer, New Hampshire Mutual Bancorp, Shannon Rich, Associate Program Director, Circle Program, Diana Johnson, Circle Program Mentor and Public Relations Officer, New Hampshire Mutual Bancorp, Philip Emma, President of Merrimack County Savings Bank and Linda Lorden, Senior Vice President, Retail Administration, Merrimack County Savings Bank.

The Teen Adventure Program engages high school teens, ages 16-18, in wilderness training, outdoor adventures and advanced camping, teaching participants new skills such as how to pitch a tent or find shelter, build a campfire, cook outside, find water and food in the wild, signal for help, learn basic navigation skills with a compass and predict and contend with varying weather conditions. Each teen has an opportunity to serve as the group leader during hikes and paddling trips. TAP fills a gap for some high school student participants, who have not yet reached the maturity level needed to be invited back to Circle Camp as Leaders-in-Training or Counselors, and incentivizes teens to remain in the program until they graduate from high school.

“It’s wonderful that the Foundation was able to support the efforts of the Circle Program and their mission to bring opportunity to girls of all backgrounds throughout the state,” said Philip Emma, President of Merrimack County Savings Bank. “The Circle Program allows New Hampshire girls from low-income families with new opportunities to learn the skills, courage and confidence they need to handle the challenges in their live. We’re happy to have the opportunity to support their work.” The Circle Program achieves this through a unique combination of adult and peer support that is delivered through year-round mentoring and residential summer camp programs.

“We’re grateful for the Foundation’s support of the program,” said Kathleen Kearns, Circle Program Executive Director. “Our outcome measurements have shown that if we can retain girls for a full eight years, they will have the best chance of graduating high school and seek higher education or gainful employment.”

Circle Program was founded in 1993 to offer adult mentoring to girls and teens statewide for positive, personal growth and development. Enrollment begins with a three-week stay at Circle Camp where girls are exposed to new friends and new experiences and become contributing members of the camp community. Through adult and peer support designed to offer each girl a personalized curriculum, a girl increases her self-esteem, discovers her unique talents and learns how to thrive. The Program’s curriculum promotes leadership, team-building, healthy relationships and personal responsibility. Focus is also placed on the child’s physical well-being by encouraging healthy eating habits, physical activity and personal care.

The Merrimack County Savings Bank Foundation was funded by Merrimack County Savings Bank in 1997 for grant-based contributions to not-for-profit organizations that enrich and improve the quality of life for residents living in the Bank’s service areas. Five Trustees, selected among the Bank’s Corporators and Board of Trustees administer the Foundation and its activities, distributing a portion of the Foundation's endowment each year. While not focused on a particular category, the Foundation remains mindful of the receiving organization and its contribution to the quality of life in the communities served. Applications are due annually on October 1st. For more information, visit:

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