Southern Maine 21st Century Learning Center Experience the Outdoors Through Community Connections

From the trails to the sea, the youth participating in the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Maine, one of Maine’s 21st Century Learning Centers, have been busy exploring outdoor destinations in the Portland area this summer thanks to their strong community connections.

Starting with the Portland Trails, a nonprofit urban land trust that aims to transform the Greater Portland area into a healthier and better-connected community, the center has utilized this amazing community resource to get kids outdoors to go on walks and explore part of the 70+ mile trail network that Portland Trails has to offer. (pictured above)

The kids have also been out to sea this summer thanks to SailMaine, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable access to the water through community sailing and education. Thanks to this community connection, every Tuesday for the next several weeks, the Center’s middle schoolers will be learning about sailing on Casco Bay.

Portland Maine Parks, Recreation & Facilities Department has also been a generous partner this summer by letting the Boys and Girls Club of Southern Maine utilize the outdoor pool. Thanks to this community partnership, the kids have been enjoying swimming three afternoons a week!

Funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) program, Maine currently has 35 CCLC grants and 61 CCLC sites across Maine that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly for students who face economic and/or academic challenges. With strong community partnerships at the core of every one of its programs, Maine’s 21st Century Learning Centers help students meet academic goals and offer a broad array of enrichment activities, in addition to other educational and engagement opportunities for communities and families. Learn more about Maine’s CCLC grant opportunities at or reach out to Travis Doughty at