PITTSFIELD — The Maine Central Institute boys soccer team recently traveled to Baxter State Park to camp at Katahdin Stream Campground and climb Mount Katahdin. In addition to enjoying one of the state’s amazing destinations, building team chemistry and working on leadership qualities, the team connected their trip to MCI’s 2012-13 school theme of “Kindness” by raising money for a charity of their choice. Members of the team were sponsored for how far they climbed and for reaching the summit.

With donations from community members and The Snowman Group in Hermon, the team raised more than $300. The money will benefit Appalachian Trail Conservancy (www.appalachiantrail.org) to help maintain the trails.

The team challenged MCI’s faculty and staff to make the same climb, with the student body sponsoring each faculty and staff member. About 20 faculty and staff members have signed up to climb Mount Katahdin on Sunday and the team looks to double their contribution.

“In my seven years of working in education I have never been as proud of a group of individuals as I was on this trip,” said Head Soccer Coach Scott Giallombardo in a press release. “What originally had started out as a ‘team bonding’ activity quickly turned into an opportunity to share ‘kindness’ (our school theme) and to give the boys soccer team a chance to provide leadership within our school. Of the 23 soccer players that made their way to Baxter State Park to climb Mount Katahdin, only three had ever been to this area of Maine, or previously reached the summit of this mountain. As the idea was introduced to the team early in preseason, you could already sense the pride and excitement growing in each of the boys as they anticipated making their way up the Hunt Trail as a team.”

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