Saturday, December 8th a line of new athletes reached out the door and into the stairwell at Green Mountain CrossFit. These new athletes were there to take part in a CrossFit class for the inaugural launch of The Phoenix – Vermont. What looked like any Saturday at the gym for some looked new and very different than their typical Saturday to others. Each of the athletes in line was there because they are in recovery from substance misuse disorder. This event was a new step in their recovery journey.
The Phoenix is a national nonprofit organization founded by Scott Strode, an athlete and leader who found recovery through fitness and discipline in a boxing gym in Boston. Based on his personal experience, Strode founded The Phoenix Multisport in Denver in 2006. Since then Strode and his team have been steadily expanding the reach of their program to include many different sports and locations in 20 states. “We have built a community of people in recovery across the country that are committed to helping individuals overcome substance use disorders by providing a nurturing atmosphere and support through the intrinsic power of physical activities,” said Scott Strode, Founder and Executive Director of The Phoenix. “By bringing The Phoenix to Vermont, we are providing a proven program to help build a safe, welcoming, nurturing and healing environment that is full of hope for people who have suffered from a substance use disorder and to those who choose to live sober.”
Their philosophy is simple: offer free fitness classes to those in recovery who have been sober for the last 48 hours. But the focus is not solely on fitness. As participants work out, they begin to build new connections with others who are living in recovery and sobriety. These connections are a powerful way for participants to build a new support network to continue their success in recovery.
For several years, Shannon Brennan, a licensed clinical mental health counselor at Central Vermont Substance Abuse, had contacted The Phoenix Multisport asking that they expand to Central Vermont. She “was tired of seeing her clients die” because they did not have the support systems to sustain their recovery and often fell back on old, unhealthy relationships. Brennan saw the potential that the Phoenix could bring to her clients. It wasn’t until she found partners at Green Mountain United Way and Green Mountain CrossFit that it became possible to bring The Phoenix to Central Vermont.
Tawnya Kristen of Green Mountain United Way met with Brennan and not only saw how this could be life-changing for Brennan’s clients, she saw how The Phoenix had the potential to change the recovery landscape in Vermont. As a key member of several Accountable Communities for Health in the Green Mountain United Way service region, Kristen was very familiar with data demonstrating the value of building healthy community and the impact on population health. She called a meeting with Nick Petterssen, the co-owner of Green Mountain CrossFit, who she knew would be supportive.
Together, these three community partners worked with The Phoenix to plan, train, and prepare for the launch of this first event on December 8th.
More than 25 athletes and half a dozen volunteers showed up to launch The Phoenix-Vermont. According to The Phoenix’s national office, attendance at this inaugural event was one of the two largest they have seen since expanding this programing nationwide.
Athletes who attended Saturday’s event were from many walks of life; some were experienced with CrossFit, many were not, but all showed up ready and willing to tackle a new challenge. In the opening circle just as many people responded to Kristen’s introductory question of “What are you looking forward to this week?” with “celebrating 2 months sober” or “10 years sober” as did those who were looking forward to family time or holiday shopping. The pride with which they spoke reinforced one of the main goals of The Phoenix – to eliminate the stigma of being in recovery. In the Phoenix, recovery is not something to hidden; by stepping into a Phoenix Event, athletes are not only joining a new, supportive community, but they are part of sharing and creating that community themselves.
Phoenix events will continue to happen every Saturday from noon – 1:30 pm at Green Mountain CrossFit. Those interested should go to www.thephoenix.org/participate/ to enroll prior to attending. Sign in opens at 11:30 am each Saturday. Those interested in volunteering to support events can go to Green Mountain United Way’s Volunteer Connection to sign up for dates and times at www.gmunitedway.org/volunteer.
This article was originally published in The World on Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Northfield Promise Community Celebrates the Opening of New Playground
Northfield, Vermont – October 10, 2018
Friday the Northfield Promise Community celebrated the culmination of years of hard work and hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of planning, meeting, and physical labor at the new playground off of Burnham Road in Northfield Falls. This project began two years ago as part of the State of Vermont’s Promise Community initiative where the community came together to apply for a grant to improve kindergarten readiness for children in the Northfield Community. Through the Promise Community initiative each group is free to work together to come up with the solution that best fits their community. Through a series of community gatherings and community-led conversations, the Northfield Promise Community determined that there was a lack in safe, accessible play spaces for young children and they set about finding a location and planning a playground. With the partnership and support of Green Mountain United Way, the town of Northfield, the school district, and many, many community members, this plan and playground began to take shape.
The Northfield Promise Community hired local landscape designer and Northfield parent Bonnie Kirn Donahue to act as project manager and with Landscape Structures to purchase and lead the community in the installation of the major elements for the playground as part of the “community build” process. The work took place over the course of 5 days. Volunteers and community members showed up, brought tools, tractors, food and energy to see the project through to completion. Norwich University cadets volunteered each day alongside parents, community members, and organizers.
The playground is geared toward ages 0-6, and is filled with multi-sensory experiences such as a playhouse and mud kitchen for imaginary play, musical instruments, blueberry bushes, rock garden, walking track, pretend car, friendship swing, and more. The play space is enclosed by a fence and is ready for the children and families in our community to enjoy it!
Friday, September 28th at 4pm the community kicked off the grand opening with a popsicle party and ribbon cutting attended by many families, children, and community members eager to celebrate the completion of this exciting community project.
The playground is located near the baseball fields off of Burnham Road in Northfield Falls and everyone with young children is encouraged to go and enjoy the result of this incredible community effort.
About the Northfield Promise Community:
The Northfield Promise Community was formed in 2016 as a result of the State of Vermont’s Promise Community Initiative which grants communities funds to be used to help the children within that community ages 0-5 kindergarten ready. The Northfield Promise Community was made up entirely of volunteer community members, parents, and town leaders who worked to gather the community’s vision and turn it into actionable projects. The Northfield Promise Community will also be working on a second installation at the Brown Public Library in Northfield as part of this project.
About Green Mountain United Way: Green Mountain United Way is a Vermont not-for-profit organization in operation since 1976. They work to improve the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community in Caledonia, Essex, Orange, Orleans and Washington Counties by mobilizing the caring power of communities around our region to advance the common good. No other single organization has the scope and influence to bring together human service agencies, government, businesses, private foundations and dedicated volunteers around a common vision of creating maximum impact and achieving long-lasting results.
Friends, the short answer is, we don’t know how you’ll be impacted by the changes to tax laws at the federal level. If you used to itemize your deductions, you may still be able to do that, but our suggestion is to talk to your tax preparer or financial planner. Those who used to itemize but will no longer do that will see the most impact.
However, this is a bit of sunlight for community philanthropy thanks to our Vermont legislators. The State of Vermont passed a new tax law last year allowing 5% of up to $20,000 in eligible charitable contributions to be deductible – there’s a new spot on the Vermont State Tax forms for them and the Tax Department is very eager to get the word out and to help support the nonprofit sector with this tax credit. Take a look at the informative video they’ve created to help Vermonters understand this new tax credit. Please let them know if you have questions, they’ve been very helpful and we’d like all of the Vermonters who are eligible to take advantage of this! Help us spread the word – share this video!
Are you Volunteer Coordinator for your nonprofit or agency? Join us for a get-together to talk All-Things-Volunteers.
Over coffee and some light snacks, we’ll learn more about each other and brainstorm solutions to common volunteer management challenges. Bring your business cards, your most pressing volunteer questions, and be ready to learn.
Patricia Forest, Volunteer Coordinator for Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, will be our speaker this meeting and will give us a brief tour of the hospital. She will share with the group about how she recruits, trains, manages, and fosters positive ongoing relationships with hospital’s many volunteers and will be available for questions.
We are also gathering your ideas on how Green Mountain United Way can provide trainings, networking and other volunteer management support to help you and your organization thrive. Email your thoughts to Carrie and Beckie at email@example.com.
This meeting is open to all nonprofits in our five-county service area, whether you have worked with us or you are currently using our Volunteer Connection or not! Please share this with anyone you think might be interested!
Green Mountain United Way celebrated the individuals and organizations in their five-county service region with an award ceremony at their Annual Breakfast at Norwich University’s Milano Ballroom on Tuesday, September 25th.
“The recipients of these awards embody the heart and soul of the work we are doing at Green Mountain United Way,” said Tawnya Kristen, Executive Director of Green Mountain United Way. “Through hands-on efforts at the community level, these organizations and individuals are bringing together individuals, ideas, efforts and resources to build lasting change across our communities.”
Green Mountain United Way was proud to honor six outstanding organizations and individuals at this year’s award ceremony with business, government, nonprofit and community partners in attendance. These awards are given to organizations who have shown exceptional leadership, effort, and impact in communities throughout Caledonia, Essex, Orange, Orleans and Washington Counties during the past year.
These awards focus on Green Mountain United Way’s partners who are making a significant difference within the community they live, work or serve and the many ways that our work integrates with the broader goals of those who we work with to serve the community and also recognize success in fundraising through United Way Workplace Campaigns and highlight partners who went the extra mile to facilitate a successful giving campaign for their community. This year’s awardees are:
Community Impact Award – University of Vermont Health Network – Central Vermont Medical Center (CVMC)
This award is given to an organization who has made an exceptional contribution to the community through their dedication and commitment to community impact.
This year Green Mountain United Way is proud to recognize Central Vermont Medical Center for their leadership in several aspects of the work they are doing for our communities right now. As the Integrator Organization for THRIVE, Central Vermont’s Accountable Community for Health, CVMC is leading the mission to optimize the health and well-being of our community through informed collaborative and innovative solutions. We would also like to recognize their leadership in the Working Bridges Program. As the first Central Vermont Working Bridges site, they are leading the way to care for those within their organization in unique and innovative ways that result in better care for all within our Central Vermont community.
Accepting the award was Anna T. Noonan, CVMC president and chief operating officer; Robert Patterson, vice president of Human Resources and Clinical Operations; and Monica Urquhart, manager of Employee Relations and Wellness.
“We deeply value our longtime partnership with Green Mountain United Way, which continues growing through the addition of the Working Bridges program,” Noonan said. “In Working Bridges’ first three months at CVMC, resource coordinators have offered members of our team guidance on transportation, housing, childcare, finances and income advance loans for emergency needs. Having an expert on site, every week, is an invaluable and convenient service for our team. Our thanks to the United Way and Vermont Community Foundation for making this important partnership possible.”
“Working Bridges dovetails with THRIVE, which is working to improve access to health care, nutritious food, affordable housing, education and financial wellness,” Noonan continued. “We’re proud to team with Green Mountain United Way and all of THRIVE’s leadership partners in connecting communities across central Vermont.”
Employer Leadership Award – Northern Counties Health Care
This award is given to an organization who shows exemplary leadership in supporting their employees to make a difference in their own lives and in their broader community.
This award is given to our partners at Northern Counties Health Care for taking the initiative to the spirit of “Caring for the Caregivers” as a starting point to make their organization stretch beyond the traditional boundaries of a “health care providers” to consider the health and well-being of all within their walls, and to see the connections between their employee’s wellness and the results they see for their patients. They are doing this through internal policies, their Working Bridges Program, employee participation in the K.E.E.P. Financial Coaching Program and their support of their employees to expand the boundaries in the many ways they are able to serve their communities, while supporting employee growth and success. Accepting the award was CEO Shawn Tester, Kari White and Laurie Somers.
“At Northern Counties Health Care we are incredibly grateful, both for our partners at the Green Mountain United Way, but also for the Working Bridges program which has helped so many of our staff through financial coaching, advance loans for emergencies, and income tax preparation. Working Bridges helps us care for our employees, so they can care for our patients and community. The program also directly aligns with the work we are doing in NEK Proper!, our regional Accountable Health Community.” Tester offered.
Community Spirit Award – VSECU
This award is given to a business that has put the “FUN” in fundraising and has gone the extra mile to make their workplace campaign a success for both employees and the community.
This past year the Campaign Team at VSECU used their already community-minded workplace as a platform to challenge employees to show their support for the community – they had t-shirts, challenges, and chocolate, and this enthusiasm spilled over into immense support for the foster children in our communities through their participation in the 2017 Tatum’s Totes Holiday Drive. Accepting the award was Vice President of Human Resources Eileen Belanger, Tammy Manning and Ann Hodgdon.
Campaign Champion Award – BlueCross and BlueShield of Vermont
This award is given to a worksite that has the greatest percentage increase, over their past year’s campaign.
As one of Green Mountain United Way’s most long-term supporters, the generosity of BCBSVT’s employees can already be seen throughout Green Mountain United Way and the community, but with a little creativity, ingenuity and incredible support they were able to grow their support by 52% last year. Accepting the award was Vice President of Customer Service and Planning, Catherine Hamilton.
Community Commitment Award – Timothy Barre, Northfield Savings Bank
This is a new award added this year as part of our new Volunteer Program to recognize the commitment of volunteers throughout our community and the impact that the gift of time can make.
This year’s recipient, Timothy Barre, has been a volunteer with Green Mountain United Way for over a decade, and as a volunteer on the Development and Marketing Committee and participating in each of our Annual Days of Caring, Tim is one of the biggest champions of the new Volunteer Program and online Volunteer Connection. His passion and enthusiasm for volunteerism is contagious.
Rising Star Award – Nicholas Petterssen, Green Mountain CrossFit
This award is given to an individual who demonstrates new or renewed leadership and passion for supporting the work of Green Mountain United Way.
This award recognizes Nick for his leadership using the common framework of physical fitness and building a transformational space at Green Mountain CrossFit where all, regardless of income, ability, or struggles, are empowered to become a healthier version of themselves. His understanding that what his gym provides is a true human service, disguised as a business, is the keystone upon which we’ve built our partnership to bring The Phoenix to individuals in recovery in Central Vermont. With this award we recognize Nick’s unwavering current and future support of both our organization’s work and the mission we share, to help all within our community achieve physical health and well-being.
Join us on Tuesday, September 25 from 7:30 am – 8:30 am at Norwich University’s Milano Ballroom to celebrate the important work United Way, our partners, and supporters are doing to connect our communities and help everyone living and working in our five counties to thrive!
We will hear from inspiring speakers including this year’s Keynote, Shawn Tester, CEO and Executive Director of Northern Counties Health Care, and Green Mountain United Way partner in NEK Prosper! and Working Bridges. Shawn will speak about the importance of connecting our communities to one another and to resources, and how to address the community’s broader needs to ensure the health and vitality of all within our region.
Enjoy breakfast as we honor Community Leaders and our 2017-18 Campaign Leaders.
This event is free and open to partners, local leaders and the broader community. RSVP is required to attend. There is ample on-site parking.
This year’s Kickoff Breakfast was originally scheduled to coincide with a Day of Caring Volunteer Day to support the Northfield Promise Community to help construct a playground for children ages 0-5, however, this project timeline has moved up and we are now encouraging everyone to sign up and help with the building process on Saturday and Sunday! In true Northfield style, the Promise Community plans to get it done in just two days, and we know they can do it with your help. Register to help on Saturday and Sunday at our Volunteer Connection.
With your support and participation, we raised over $14,000 for our communities at our 14th Annual Golf Classic on August 24th!
Thank you to all of our volunteers, players, sponsors, and to the Country Club of Barre. This incredible event could not have happened without all of your help, participation, and enthusiasm! And the best part is that our communities benefit!
Check out all the great photos from this event below and on Facebook! (we are aware that some of these photos are displaying sideways for some of you, please try a different browser or try viewing them on our Facebook page)
Golf Classic 2018 On-Course Photos
Golf Classic 2018 Team Sign In
Golf Classic 2018 Team Photos (note, prints of your team photo will be mailed to your team captain)
Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor, Northfield Savings Bank, and to all of our supporting sponsors!
Gold Level Sponsors
Silver Level Sponsors
Prize Level Sponsors
Eagle Level Sponsors
Birdie Level Sponsors
Green Mountain United Way Golf Classic
Friday, August 24, 2018
Presented by Northfield Savings Bank at the Country Club of Barre (18-hole course)
There is no better way to help your community than to have fun while doing it! At our Green Mountain United Way Annual Golf Classic, a beautiful day on the green makes you a partner in United Way’s fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community in our five-county region including Caledonia, Essex, Orleans, Orange and Washington counties.
We are glad to have you on our team for this tournament and in our work to bring together individuals, businesses, government, human service agencies and volunteers around a common vision to create maximum impact and achieve long-lasting results. Your support helps foster children transition to a new home with a backpack of their own, helps families get the financial skills they need to make sure they have stable, healthy lives and helps low-income employees access the resources they need to thrive. Don’t miss your chance to join us! Sponsor or Register now!
Register for $100 per individual golfer or $400 per team of four
ALL Registrations Include: Greens Fees, Two Carts, Registration Gifts, and Dinner
Founded in 1924, the Country Club of Barre is considered one of the “must play” courses in central Vermont. Nestled in the rolling hills of Plainfield Vermont, the Country Club of Barre offers a unique and rewarding golf experience.
You will not only experience golf at its finest, you will enjoy scenic views of the beautiful Vermont landscape while you golf.
The course is designed with all players in mind, from the beginner to the experienced, from the high handicap to the low handicap, all levels of experience will find the course challenging and rewarding
Format: 4 player scramble. The traditional format where all players tee off, the best shot is selected, and the process is repeated until a ball is holed. Every team must use at least three tee shots from each player.
Hospitality: Gifts for all golfers at tournament check-in, plus complimentary light snacks and bottled water out on the course from the refreshment cart.
50/50 Raffle: The total amount raised will be split between the winner and Green Mountain United Way to benefit their programs and ongoing work within the community.
Dinner: Immediately following the tournament the meal will begin featuring the world-class food from the Cornerstone Catering. A cash bar will also be available.
Prizes & Awards: Many prizes awarded for High Score, Longest Drive, Closest to Pin, Low Gross/Net and more.
8:30 am On-site registration begins. Please be sure to arrive no later than 9:00 am to allow time to check-in and warm-up on the putting green and driving range.
9:45 am Welcome announcement from Sponsors, Country Club and Green Mountain United Way. Golfers then proceed to their designated holes for a 10:00 am shotgun start.
10:00 am Shotgun start.
2:00 pm(approximate) Dinner begins.
4:00 pm(approximate) 50/50 Raffle winner announced, followed by contest winner awards, and tournament low gross/low net winning team awards.
5:00 pm Event concludes
Thank you to our committed 2018 Sponsors! We are more than half way to our goal!
Sponsor now and join us in a wonderful day of golf all while helping our community thrive!
Gold Level Sponsors
Silver Level Sponsors
Prize Level Sponsors
Eagle Level Sponsors
Birdie Level Sponsors
Become a Sponsor!
Support Green Mountain United Way and have fun doing it! Click the drop-down to see the benefits of each sponsorship level. We work to support our entire community and so will your sponsorship dollars. To become a Corporate Sponsor, call Carrie at 802-613-3989 to find the right level for you, or simply download our 2018 Sponsorship Form and email it to Carrie Stahler at cstahler[at] gmunitedway.org.
Online logo placement on gmunitedway.org reg. page, Logo on Beverage Cart & Players Carts
4 complimentary registrations for your staff, Plus all other items offered at Eagle Level (except registrations)
One exclusive sponsorship offered at this level, Exclusive Speaking opportunity at Dinner, Online logo placement on gmunitedway.org reg. page, Logo on Beverage Cart & Players Carts
Social media recognition of your business
This sponsor level is to be “paid” with the in-kind contribution of golf prizes to be used as swag bags for participants, bag stuffers and raffle prizes. Imagine a small bag filled with golf balls, tees, and a golf towel all featuring your company’s logo! For further details, contact Carrie at cstahler (at) gmunitedway.org
We know some of you would love to just spend a day golfing with your crew for a good cause. For you, we’ve created a special sponsor level! You get Four (4) complimentary registrations for your staff and a tee sign on one green with your company’s logo