NMMC team takes Katahdin challenge

FORT KENT, Maine — Last month, 27 Northern Maine Medical Center employees and friends joined in the annual Mt. Katahdin hike, organized by the Employee Activities Committee.

Seventeen participants succeeded in reaching the top and three of them did so on their maiden journey to the mountain.

One of the three novice climbers, Shannon Theriault, said, “It was not at all what I expected but it was absolutely amazing. I had so much fun bonding with others on the mountain. I will definitely do it again.”

In the past two years, the EAC has coordinated other hikes, shopping trips, snowshoeing and skiing and four-wheeling, and plans to offer zip-lining later this summer.

A majority of the event expenses are covered by fundraising done by the employees themselves, and each event is led by a volunteer employee. Due to the difficult nature of the Katahdin hike, four team leaders with hiking experience stepped up to lead four groups up the mountain.

The two-day trip included tenting, campfires, picnics and the trip ended with a celebratory dinner at the park restaurant. Despite a bit of rain and the degree of difficulty for some of the trails, there were no injuries.

One of the team leaders, Adam Landry said, “The most memorable part of the trip was hanging out all together at the campground.”

Two years ago, Robin Damboise, human resources director, facilitated the reorganization of the EAC, which in years past had been very active. An employee-led group, the EAC’s main purpose is to organize and promote fun activities which capitalize on the natural resources available in the St. John Valley, Aroostook County and across the state of Maine, as well as opportunities for employees to share camaraderie with their peers in a different setting.  

Damboise continues to oversee the EAC.

“We make this available because we know that our employees really enjoy the socializing, and it is a way for them to get to know the people they work with, and their family members, on a personal level.”

She also said some employees mentioned to her that they did not believe they would actually complete the hike, but were very proud to report their personal success. Several participants have indicated that they are already planning to sign up for next year’s hike.

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