Kids VT — Fall 2022

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Deadline to enter is September 5!

FALL 2022


Away We Go! Why toddlers love libraries


Surviving the formula shortage

Building confidence through Brazilian jiu-jitsu

7 fall events for the whole family



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Whether you’re considering clear aligners, retainers or today’s braces, an orthodontist is the smart choice. Orthodontists are specialists in straightening teeth and aligning your bite. They have two to three years of ORTHODONTICS education beyond dental school. So they’re experts at DRS.DRS. PETERSON, RYAN & EATON helping you get a great smile—that feels great, too. RYAN & EATON

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PreK - 8th Grade

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Fun for the whole family!

Braces for Children and Adults Burlington Williston St. Albans 862-6721 878-5323 527-7100

With a Family Membership to the Y . . . • enjoy time together in the pool during Family Swim • have fun in the gym during Open Rec or Family Rec (starts 9/16) • join a Group Fitness class with your child 13 and older • work out on-site while the kids age 6 months - 8 years are safe and happy in Member Child Care • Have your child’s next Birthday Party at the Y!

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Members register early and pay less for programs. Fall program registration for Members opens 8/22! Family Members receive discounts on . . . • Youth (6 mos - 16 yrs) and Adult (Small Group) swim lessons • Youth Sports + Dance (new session starts week of 9/12) • Kids’ Night Out (ages 3-12) • CPR + First Aid, Lifeguard Classes, Personal Training, more! Join us at or stop by at 298 College Street K2h-YMCA0822 1



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NEED A LIFT? Vermont has increased access to Financial Assistance to help MORE families cover the costs of afterschool and summer programs.

Find out if your family qualifies at: DCF.VERMONT.GOV/BENEFITS 4


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What’s your favorite fall daytrip destination?


I’m always a fan of a beautiful fall hike. STOWE PINNACLE is a great one for the whole family!




GREEN RIVER RESERVOIR is the best place in

Mary Ann Lickteig, Alison Novak

the fall. Remote camping. Nature. Foliage. Cool air, warm water for the win! An iconic Vermont fall experience!





Corey Barrows


sugarhouse has goats to pet, trails to walk and a miniature replica of the capitol building. Plus, I personally think they have the best maple creemees around.


Kaitlin Montgomery PROOFREADERS

Carolyn Fox, Angela Simpson PRODUCTION MANAGER



Jeff Baron, John James, Rev. Diane Sullivan CIRCULATION MANAGER



Julie Garwood, Emily Hamilton, Rachel Hellman, Astrid Hedbor Lague, Ken Picard ILLUSTRATORS

Julianna Brazill, Thom Glick, Sean Metcalf PHOTOGRAPHERS

Luke Awtry, Daria Bishop, Andy Brumbaugh P.O. BOX 1184 • BURLINGTON, VT 05402 802-985-5482 • SEVENDAYSVT.COM/KIDSVT

Published 4x per year. Circulation: 43,000 at 800 locations throughout northern and central Vermont. © 2022 Da Capo Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. Editorial content in Kids VT is for general informational purposes. Parents must use their own discretion for following the advice in any editorial piece. Acceptance of advertising does not constitute service/product endorsement. Da Capo Publishing shall not be held liable to any advertiser for any loss that results from the incorrect publication of its advertisement. If a mistake is ours, and the advertising purpose has been rendered valueless, Da Capo Publishing may cancel the charges for the advertisement, or a portion thereof as deemed reasonable by the publisher. Da Capo Publishing reserves the right to refuse any advertising, including inserts, at the discretion of the publishers.




Ready for School?


ermont kids and parents may be ready for classes to begin this fall, but whether schools will be fully prepared to welcome them is still unclear. Superintendents and school leaders nationwide have been sounding the alarm for months that they’re having a hard time hiring and keeping teachers and support staff, in part because of pandemic-related burnout. “‘Never seen it this bad’: America faces catastrophic teacher shortage,” reported the Washington Post on August 3. Vermont schools are struggling, too, as Seven Days staff writer Alison Novak reported in July. Jay Nichols, executive director of the Vermont Principals’ Association, told Novak that “principals and teachers and superintendents take on a lot of stress and a lot of pressure, and we have more and more people who are leaving those fields all the time. It’s at the crisis point nationally, and Vermont is not immune.” Schools around the state have been trying everything they can think of to retain and entice educators and support staff, from offering retention bonuses to negotiating with landlords about housing, Novak reported. Some Northeast Kingdom parents have even spent their own money to advertise job openings in rural districts. I’ve seen announcements for school job fairs in Burlington, Winooski and Colchester this summer promoting on-the-spot interviews and job offers. Novak, a former elementary school teacher — and the former managing editor of Kids VT — covers the K-12 education beat for Seven Days. She’ll be following the staffing story and its ripple effects in the coming months as the school year gets under way. Let’s hope that we don’t have to deputize college students or military veterans, or recruit teachers from overseas to instruct our kids, emergency measures that have passed or are being used in Arizona, Florida and Alaska, respectively. This fall issue of Kids VT focuses on some of the unique learning experiences available to Vermont kids and families outside of traditional classrooms. In “Gi Force,” Ken Picard visits a Williston gym run by a Brazilian jiu-jitsu master (page 23). Cat Cutillo explores the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s boatbuilding program in “Vermont Visionaries” (page 27). And in “Join the Club,” Fairfax parent Alice Scannell explains how she used the Good Citizen Challenge, a youth civics project organized by Kids VT and Seven Days, as a road map to guide an afterschool program for her middle school-age son and his friends (page 19). For parents of babies and toddlers too young for kindergarten, Burlington mom Julie Garwood offers some tried and true advice: Head to your local library. She explains all they have to offer in “More Than Just Books” (page 31). We hope this issue inspires you and your family to embrace autumn in Vermont and all it offers. People travel from around the country to see our state during this spectacular season. All we have to do is go for a drive or take a walk around the neighborhood. Lucky us!

I like going for a hike on the trails at the GREEN MOUNTAIN AUDUBON CENTER in Huntington. The seasonal aromas are always intense!


I love taking a day trip to Salisbury to go KAYAKING ON LAKE DUNMORE

when the colors are popping and the lake is calm.


CONTRIBUTOR’S NOTE is a freelance marketing consultant and writer who works with small businesses and nonprofits. She lives in Burlington with her husband and their two toddlers.







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FALL 2022

Feeding Frenzy Coping with the baby formula shortage


Columns 11 Mealtime 27 Vermont Visionaries


Offbeat Outpost

More Than Books 31 Why babies and toddlers love libraries

A quirky new gift and toy shop in St. J

Calendar 35 Save the Dates


Good Citizens Fairfax teens show civic spirit

Gi Force A Brazilian jiu-jitsu master teaches kids confidence

Just for Kids 37 Coloring Contest 38 Coloring Contest Winners On the Cover


Welcome Editor’s Note 5 Staff Question Contributor’s Note

Short Stuff Afterschool Programs 8 Entertainment School Lunches

Illustrator Julianna Brazill sketched this back-to-school scene. Coming soon to a school bus stop near you!





Afterschool Nature Program Brings Middle Schoolers Outdoors Attention, Orange and Washington county residents: If you’ve ever wanted your middle schooler to put down their phone and take a walk in the woods, we’ve got an afterschool program for you. Starting on September 1, middle schoolers in Orange and Washington counties can spend three hours every weekday afternoon at Sage Mountain Botanical Sanctuary, a 600-acre wilderness in Orange. From 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., outdoor educators will lead them on hikes to study animal tracks, help them learn shelter building and navigation, and teach them to make a fire, among other skills. Funded in part by an Expanding Access grant from Vermont Afterschool, the program is geared toward youth who might not otherwise have access to naturebased enrichment programs. Families can qualify for scholarships and sliding-scale tuition, as well as transportation options. The sanctuary, founded in 1987 by herbalist and author Rosemary Gladstar, has been running youth programs, including summer camps and school field trips, for 30 years, though this is its first afterschool offering. Executive director Emily Ruff said the program applies the educational philosophy of the Washington State-based Wilderness Awareness School, “creating a safe environment in which children can play and explore their world, identify their unique gifts and passions, [and] develop problem-solving skills and self-sufficiency to foster a deeper level of learning and connection with themselves, their peers and the natural world.” Find out more and sign up at afterschool, or call 802-479-9825. 8


All Vermont K-12 Public School Students Get Free Breakfast and Lunch This Year In case you missed the news this spring, Gov. Phil Scott signed the Universal School Meals Act, which guarantees free breakfast and lunch for all students in Vermont’s K-12 public schools during the 2022-23 school year. Vermont is the third state to pass such legislation, after California and Maine. Public school students had been eating for free for the past two years thanks to increased federal funding for school nutrition during the pandemic, but that ended in June. A broad coalition of supporters sought to make universal school meals permanent, including students, teachers, school nutrition staff, school board members and local food advocates. Faye Mack, advocacy and education director at Hunger Free Vermont, said every rep in the legislature heard from at least one constituent about the importance of passing the bill. “A lot of people across Vermont were very involved in moving this legislation forward; it was really exciting to be part of the groundswell.” Mack pointed out that parents will still need to fill out a school meals application or a household income form this year — and it’s “critical” that they do, she said. Those data help the state access federal dollars that help fund school meals. Bonus: The forms can also help kids qualify for free SAT prep.

New Nonprofit Promotes Neurodiversity and the Idea That ‘All Brains Belong’ Everyone’s brain works differently, and no one should be ashamed or made to feel like an outsider because of it. That’s the message of All Brains Belong VT, a Montpelier nonprofit founded by physician Melissa Houser. The group aims to connect, serve and advocate for children and adults who identify as “neurodivergent” — a description that encompasses everything from learning disabilities to ADHD to autism. “We think it’s important for kids to grow up knowing that there’s not one ‘right’ way to be in the world,” Houser said via email. The group runs a few different free programs, including Kid Connections, which matches children ages 3 to 17 based on shared interests, and Brain Club, a weekly community education series that meets on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. This summer it’s been Melissa Houser meeting on the Statehouse lawn and by Zoom, in collaboration with Orca Media. Also on the Statehouse lawn: On Saturday, August 27, and Sunday, September 25, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., All Brains Belong VT hosts neuroinclusive COVID-19 vaccination clinics open to adults and kids ages 6 months and up. To make the experience as comforting and supportive as possible, participants will be allowed to choose how they’d like to receive the shot — in an open-air tent or drive-through style, without leaving the car. Some of the organization’s community partners will also be on hand to provide information about child development and family wellness, too.



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What’s happening in Vermont schools and child care programs? Seven Days staff writer Alison Novak keeps a close eye on the latest developments. Find her award-winning reporting at Sign up for the Kids VT Wee-mail enewsletter to get her stories in your inbox. Arcade at Spare Time Greenville, S.C.

Spare Time Reopening Soon — With Expanded Arcade and Escape Rooms Parents of kids with fall and winter birthdays will be happy to hear that Spare Time in Colchester will be reopening soon. The bowling alley and family fun center was closed over the summer for renovations. When complete, the new facility — one of 18 in the country owned by Spare Time Entertainment — will include updated bowling lanes, a larger arcade, a reconfigured laser tag arena and two new escape rooms, according to Jana Beagley, Spare Time’s event specialist. The bowling alley is expected to open first; barring construction delays, the other features should be finished by the end of September. The arcade will feature an ax-throwing game, though Beagley notes that the “axes” are plastic and won’t have sharp edges. “There’s a lot of different types of fun for different folks,” she said.

HER RECENT COVERAGE INCLUDES: New Burlington High School Expected to Cost $190 Million, August 3 Vermont Schools Cite 'Dire' Struggle to Find Teachers for Fall, July 13 Report: Major Changes Needed for 'Broken' Early Childhood Ed System, June 26

Recent Threats of Violence Renew Conversations About School Safety in Vermont, June 22 Supreme Court Ruling May Affect Public Funding for Vermont's Religious Schools, June 21

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Coxinhas: Brazilian Street Food for Back-to-School Lunches


hen I need inspiration to spice up my lunch-packing repertoire, I like to look at street food from around the world. Street food is portable, typically a good size for lunch boxes and a nice departure from a sandwich. Plus, it’s fun to make and eat! The Brazilian chicken croquettes called coxinhas fit this category quite well. Pronounced co-sheen-yuhs, the name means “little thighs.” Legend is that the recipe was developed about two centuries ago for a prince who loved chicken but would eat only the drumsticks. When the cook ran short on drumsticks, he came up with a croquette filled with chicken and shaped, more or less, like a drumstick. The prince approved. This recipe is a bit time-consuming, especially when it comes to making the filling and shaping the coxinhas, but it’s not difficult, and it offers a great opportunity for kids to help out. The dough needs to rest for at least an hour, so make sure to plan ahead. One nice thing about coxinhas is that they can be frozen — before or after frying — so you can make a big batch and do the labor-intensive work just once. To freeze cooked coxinhas, put

them in a Ziploc bag once they are cool and freeze. Reheat from frozen for nine to 12 minutes at 350 degrees. To store coxinhas before breading and frying, place them on a baking sheet and freeze, then transfer them to freezer bags. They keep for up to three months. When ready to use, thaw the desired number in the refrigerator for a few hours before breading and frying to golden brown. If they are still a little frozen on the interior, add a couple of minutes to the cooking time to be sure the centers reach 160 degrees. Though I usually avoid deep frying, I found that it was the best way to get a uniform, golden crust on the coxinhas. I tried an air fryer but was not happy with the pale color it produced. With some experimentation, I am sure the method could be a decent substitute, but frying in a deep pan was easy, and the results were delicious. The coxinhas are, of course, best hot, but I found that they were still delightful at room temperature, making them perfect for a packed lunch. Experiment with spices to make new varieties. If you have leftover filling, it makes an excellent chicken salad. My creative sister even made quesadillas with it. I’d like to think the prince would approve. K


Place the chicken in a large saucepan. Add the carrot, 1 cup of coarsely chopped onion and the bay leaves; cover with the chicken broth. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.


Remove the chicken from the broth. Cool slightly, then finely chop or shred.


Strain the broth. Measure out 4 cups (the vegetables may have increased the amount of broth; alternately, you may need to add water). Add it back to the pan and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in 4 cups of flour, stirring vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until a stiff dough forms. Remove from heat and transfer the dough to a floured surface. Knead until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.


Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a sauté pan and sauté the remaining onion with the garlic until translucent, about 5 minutes.


Mix the chicken with the cream cheese, garlic and onion, lime juice, paprika, black pepper, and salt to taste.


To form the coxinhas, break off a piece of cooled dough about the size of a golf ball. Flatten it with your palm on a floured surface. Add about a tablespoon of filling to the center, then close it up, covering the filling completely and forming a teardrop shape. (My family thought they looked like bulbs of garlic.) Place on a baking sheet and continue with remaining dough.


Mix the panko and fine bread crumbs together. Dip each coxinha into the beaten egg, then into the crumb mixture.


Heat oil in a deep pan (we used a large wok) to 360ºF. Cook the coxinhas in batches until they are golden brown and 160ºF in the center, about 3 to 4 minutes.


Stir together ingredients for dipping sauce and serve.


1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 carrot, chopped (no need to peel)

2 cups chopped onion, divided (1 cup finely chopped)

2 bay leaves

4 cups chicken broth

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cloves garlic

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

Juice of 3 limes

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 teaspoons salt (to taste)

2 cups panko

2 cups fine bread crumbs

3 eggs, beaten

Oil for frying (I used 1 quart of canola oil)


1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup lime juice



Feeding Frenzy The baby formula shortage has eased — but it isn’t over BY ALISON NOVAK SEAN METCALF




nurse who is co-executive director of the Vermont Donor Milk Center in Essex Junction. The center supplies pasteurized breast milk to local families. The issue is especially pronounced for those looking for specialty formula and for low-income families who purchase formula through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, commonly known as WIC. Members of the latter group are only allowed to buy formula at authorized stores, giving them less purchasing flexibility. The Vermont Donor Milk Center saw a huge increase in calls from pregnant and postpartum women searching for supplementary milk when the formula shortage hit this spring, Wenger said. She’s also seen an uptick in local women looking to help by donating their oversupply of breast milk to the center. Private Facebook groups aimed at helping Vermont families find formula locally have also sprung up.

Pasteurized human milk at the Vermont Donor Milk Center

This summer, sales are steady at the donor milk center. A $50,000 allocation from the state legislature has allowed the center to offer a discount to low-income Vermonters. Wenger said she’s looking forward to the next legislative session, when a

bill that would require insurance coverage for donor milk will likely be debated. K Learn more about the donor milk center — and how to receive or donate breast milk — at



aby formula — or lack of it — made lots of headlines in the spring, when parents of infants were encountering purchasing restrictions and bare shelves at grocery stores. The nationwide shortage was spurred by the February shutdown of an Abbott Nutrition formula factory in Sturgis, Mich., due to suspected bacterial contamination. Abbott, the maker of Similac, is one of just four companies that control around 90 percent of the national infant formula market. And it’s a big market — three-quarters of American babies rely on formula for part of their diet. In an attempt to improve the situation, President Joe Biden launched Operation Fly Formula in late May to allow the U.S. to import formula that meets Food & Drug Administration standards from other countries. Abbott’s Michigan plant finally reopened in July. However, “the formula shortage is still very much alive,” according to Amy Wenger, a maternal and child health


Vermont parents who rely on infant formula have had to get creative in order to feed their kids. In early June, Kids VT and Seven Days marketing and events director Corey Barrows, mom of then-9-month-old Harrison, sent an email enlisting the entire office to help in her search for formula. “If you happen to be at Costco and notice they have some, can you please let me know?” she wrote. “If you’re feeling extra ambitious, grab it and I’ll Venmo you. You’re only allowed two at a time. It’s in the back corner where the paper towels and toilet paper are. Harrison and I thank you.” She agreed to share her formula-finding Corey Barrows methods with our readers.

KVT: In the fall and winter, you had no problem getting formula, right? CB: Yes, it was always on the shelves. I could get as many containers as I wanted. And then, one time, I went to the self-checkout line in Costco and I tried to buy three containers. I kept getting an error message, and then a person came over and said, “Oh, you can only buy two at a time right now.” My parents in Rhode Island had been texting me — “Are you having trouble getting formula?” — but it was months before things got panicky here. I think Costco might have limited purchases preemptively. KVT: And things really got worse later in the spring, right? CB: Yes, it wasn’t a problem, and then all of a sudden, it just felt like, Boom! It hit. And every time I went to Costco, there was no formula. When I would ask customer service, “Do you know when you’re expecting another delivery?,” they would always say, “No. We recommend that you call daily to see when it’s in.” So every day I would have to call Costco to see if they had it. There was one time where we ran out of the Costco formula, so we had to start buying it at other places, and it was always slim pickings. There was always something there, but the options on the grocery store shelves were often small containers that were way more expensive — like, four times more expensive per ounce — than the Kirkland brand.

KVT: Did things eventually get better? CB: One of the other parents at daycare, whose son was over 1 year old, had formula left over, so she gave that to us. And then I went to Target, and their limit was four. In terms of price, the Target brand was better than the grocery store, but not as good as Costco. So, I got four there. The next day, my friend called me and told me Costco had formula, and I ran over there and got two. So we were stocked up. At that point, my husband, Derek, said to me, “I didn’t realize how stressed out I was until now, when we don’t have to worry about it for a little while.”

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KVT: Any interesting shopping experiences? CB: Yes, there was this one time where my friend texted me and said Costco had formula that day. For some reason, the line at Costco was from the register all the way back to the produce section. I was waiting in line with three formulas, and I wasn’t sure if they were only allowing people to buy two. The woman behind me, who had older kids, offered to buy my third one. I Venmoed her for it, then we exchanged the formula in the parking lot. It felt sneaky and wrong, but it got us through a few more days. KVT: As a new mom, how do you feel about this whole situation? CB: I never thought this would be a problem. Now that Harrison is eating more regular foods and not taking as many bottles — and you can give babies cow’s milk at 1 year old — we won’t have to worry about this for much longer. As a new parent, you already feel scattered and like a lot is out of your control, and having to add one more thing — like calling Costco every day or constantly looking for formula — it’s stressful. K

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Kids VT: When did Harrison start taking formula? Corey Barrows: He has always been formula fed — no part of me ever wanted to breastfeed. We started off with Kirkland — Costco’s formula — because we live near Costco and it seemed like the most cost-effective option for us. Plus, that’s where we get our diapers and wipes, so we could get everything all at once.

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Offbeat Outpost

A new store in St. Johnsbury offers eclectic, playful finds for children and adults BY RACHEL HELLMAN


fter nearly 20 years of teaching art, Alison Bergman won’t be going back to school this fall. Instead of decorating and stocking a classroom that nurtures creativity, she’s cultivating it through Art & Joy, an eclectic gift shop she opened earlier this year in St. Johnsbury. Over the past few months, the Northeast Kingdom store has become a destination for customers seeking offbeat cards and gifts, unique and durable children’s toys, and work by local artists. “She’s looking at things from her artist’s perspective and bringing a breath of fresh air to the town,” said Andrea Poe, a local artist whose paintings hang in the store. “Everything in there is either really thoughtfully made or beautiful or funny or relevant.”

The small but airy space, located on Railroad Street in the heart of downtown St. Johnsbury, is filled with items more commonly found in urban markets. Think Pergamo retro animal magnets and stickers and classic G.I. Joe figurines doing yoga. Bergman’s background in art education has informed her curation of Art & Joy’s robust children’s section, which includes beautifully crafted Timberkits mechanical model-building kits, Frida Kahloinspired paper dolls, birding journals and handheld electronic drums. Bergman said she wants to sell toys that foster organic play and creativity — and can withstand more than a few play sessions. She also sources items internationally, such as leaf-shaped ceramics from Japan, strawberry-inspired wicker

purses from Amsterdam and Constantin Brâncuși-style candleholders made by a Ukraine-based artist. The globe-trotting sensibilities of Art & Joy reflect Bergman’s own adventures. Raised by her wanderlust-driven parents, Art and Joy — the namesakes of her store — Bergman spent most of her childhood traveling the world, refining her ability to find beautiful things in unlikely places. She made many artist friends along the way, a network rivaling that of her more cosmopolitan peers. Even so, Bergman firmly believes that St. J is just as exciting a locale as any other for an art-inspired store. “There’s a community of like-minded Gnome candles

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She’s looking at things from her artist’s perspective and bringing a breath of fresh air to the town. ANDREA POE

people around here that want to see art celebrated and supported,” she said. That includes the Northeast Kingdom Artisans Guild, whose gallery is just down the street. Bergman knows the community well. She spent most of the past two decades working as an art teacher in the area, including six years at the rural pre-K-12 Cabot School. But teaching in the early days of the pandemic proved especially challenging, and after the 2020 school year, Bergman felt burned-out and ready for a change of pace. She took a job at the Frame Dames, a framing and art supply store in St. Johnsbury, and was amazed by the number of people she met who were interested in art. An artist herself, Bergman envisioned opening a store that fostered the efforts of local creators. Maggie Gray, owner of Haven, a vintage home goods store, told Bergman about a vacancy in her building. With that nudge and the encouragement of her husband Scott Bergman, a furniture maker, she opened Art & Joy in March. Compared to her job as an art teacher, Bergman said, the undertaking has “been pretty hassle-free.” She soon found herself immersed in a community of people who are rooting for her success and get her sense of humor. She loves hearing customers chuckling while perusing her merchandise. Local resident Deb Foy is an avid Art & Joy OFFBEAT OUTPOST, P.16 »


Book and play set KIDS VT FALL 2022


Eat and be hoopy Classes • Workshops • Celebrations • Gatherings Parties • Reunions • Homeschool • Senior Wellness

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shopper. “I think it has a fun mix of librarian there. They’ve been good stuff and a really nice energy,” she said. friends ever since. Foy once bought a pair of socks A practicing artist herself, Bergman with funky embroidery and received is eager to eventually hire an employee countless complito share the ments. One friend workload so that Alison Bergman loved them so she can spend much that Foy more time paintreturned to Art ing and sculpting & Joy to buy her in her studio. For a pair. “There’s now, she’s excited a gift there for to source unique, everyone,” Foy well-made said, “including finds and share yourself.” them with her Appealing to customers. a broad audience A few weeks is important to ago, she noted, Bergman, and someone bought she’s succeeded: a book of paintIn the five ings by Harlem months since Renaissance the store opened, painter Jacob she’s noticed a Lawrence. diverse clientele. Bergman wasn’t Some come in sure shoppers and buy hunwould recognize dreds of dollars’ him. But the worth of goods customer had “without even seen a show of batting an eye,” Lawrence’s work she said, while in New York City others save up for and left greatly a special piece inspired. “Then, ALISON BERGMAN for months. Art & all of a sudden,” Joy offers a spectrum of pricing, with Bergman said, “I’m having this great many items in the $10 to $50 range. “It conversation with somebody about art makes me really happy to know that that we both can connect on and think the art is accessible,” Bergman said. about. I love it. It’s really fun.” K She also wants the store to serve as a gallery for her talented artist friends. Rachel Hellman is a corps member with Currently on display is Kate Jarboe’s Report for America, a national service colorful, abstract photography, which program that places journalists reflects a nostalgic consideration of in local newsrooms. childhood objects. Bergman met Find out more her in the late 1990s when she at reportfor was a student worker at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Jarboe was a Mushroom paper lantern PHOTOS: STEVE LEGGE

Mindful/Sensory Activities Paper flower art Calm bottles Rock art Painting adventure Cookie decorating Pancake art Bubble tea making Mindful eating Plant-based cooking classes/ demos

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There’s a community of like-minded people around here that want to see art celebrated and supported.

MAKE IT A DAY TRIP There's more than enough to do in and around St. Johnsbury to justify a fall excursion. Grab a baked good and coffee at Boule Bakery before checking out the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, a must-see Victorian-era treasure trove filled with natural science and history exhibits. It's across the street from the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, a distinctive public library that houses a small but impressive art gallery. Just outside of town, you'll find Dog Mountain, home to a gallery of the late artist Stephen Huneck's work, as well as the renowned Dog Chapel, which honors the bond between people and their pooches. Another nearby seasonal sight: the Great Vermont Corn Maze in Danville. •

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Join the Club Fairfax teens practice being Good Citizens BY CATHY RESMER


t 14 years old, Keller Greene can’t vote. But when could meet and used the Challenge as a curriculum to Over the years, club members also volunteered he’s old enough, the Fairfax teen will be ready, guide them. and collected donations for organizations including thanks in part to the Good Citizen Challenge. The club’s work took on a new urgency after COVID-19 Franklin County Animal Rescue, the U.S. Committee In the 2019-20 school year, Keller and four of his arrived. In the early days of the pandemic, club members for Refugees and Immigrants, and NorthWest Family friends at Bellows Free Academy Fairfax completed the collected donations of paper products for the local food Foods, a food pantry serving Franklin and Grand Challenge — a youth civics project organized by Kids VT shelf. “Everybody was shut up in their house,” Scannell Isle counties. The food shelf praised the club on its and Seven Days and supported by the Vermont Community remembered, “so we wore masks and just drove all around Facebook page: “The curious group of seventh graders Foundation. Calling themselves the Good Citizens Club, town and picked up stuff.” from Fairfax, Vermont, came and worked on restockthe group met after school twice a month at the ing shelves, making bags, cleaning vans, asking library. The members read books, listened to an questions! It was a beautiful day to witness, and episode of Vermont Public’s “Brave Little State” be a part of … Thank you to our Good Citizens!” podcast, played a video game about gerrymanderProbably the most complicated activity ing, and interviewed a reporter from the Saint Scannell and the club attempted was organizing Albans Messenger and Rep. Barbara Murphy a school board candidate forum last March. The (I-Fairfax). group sought questions from the public via social Club members completed that year’s Challenge media and Front Porch Forum. During the virtual KELLER GREENE in March 2020, right before the pandemic hit and forum, the students asked candidates how they school shut down. Instead of breaking up, they would address teacher morale, staffing shortages, kept going — sometimes meeting virtually — all the state of aging buildings and raising the Black through their middle school years. They worked on Lives Matter flag — as well as how they’d respond activities they found through the to people who disagreed with them. Challenge and improvised their Scannell said the students showed up for the own. The club’s final activity event “ready to speak to any of the candidates before its members moved up and consider different perspectives, which was to high school was a May trip to the Statehouse in great.” Montpelier, where they saw the Vermont legislaThey held the forum on Zoom and promoted it ture in action. via social media and Front Porch Forum. At least Good Citizens at the Keller, an athlete who plays basketball, football 50 people logged in, and more likely watched the Statehouse, L to R: and Ultimate Frisbee, wasn’t initially drawn to the recording afterward. “We got so much posiEmma Foster, Eliot Scannell, Keller club because of its mission. In a Zoom interview in tive feedback from the community,” Scannell Greene, Kai Von Sitas June, he said he got involved because his friends recalled, notably from people on opposing sides were doing it. But once he got started, he really of many of the issues. One thing they could all enjoyed it. “I stayed in it because it was a way to get agree on: The teens provided into the community and help the commua valuable public service. nity … It was a way to give back,” he said. “I just loved that,” Scannell Keller admits that before he joined the said. Good Citizens Club, “I didn’t know much She encourages other about politics or civics or any of that stuff.” parents and teachers to He said he learned a lot, especially from embrace the Good Citizen the hands-on tasks, such as volunteering Challenge and start similar at local nonprofits: “It just, like, opened my groups at their schools. There eyes that I can help.” have been several iterations of He discovered that, even as a teenager, the Challenge since the first one “I can do a lot.” in 2018, and all the activities are That’s exactly the outcome club archived at organizer Alice Scannell was hoping for. “This is very doable,” Scannell Scannell, a licensed social worker and clinisaid. “It’s a lot of fun.” Good Citizens rounding up food donations, from left: Elliot Scannell, Leigh Brown, Keller Greene and Kai Von Sitas cal supervisor in Howard Center’s School Keller recommends the Good Services Program and a part-time faculty Citizen Challenge to his peers. Good Citizens at the Statehouse, from left: Emma member at the University of Vermont, “Anyone that’s thinking about joinFoster, Keller Greene, Kai Von Sitas and Elliot Scannell initially planned to do the 2019-20 Good Citizen Challenge The middle schoolers ing a Good Citizens club or is on with her then-sixth-grade son, Elliot. But then she decided baked treats for essential workers the fence — you should do it. You’ll to help his friends attempt it, too. in town; they dropped off cookies for employees of reslearn a lot, and you feel good,” he said. “I think everyone Having a structure in place made it doable for her. taurants, convenience stores and auto repair shops. After should do it. It changed me for the better.” K “You laid it out so well,” she said of the Challenge. the club made cards for local seniors, one of the recipients “Just the categories and the different activities and the called the school, and Scannell got the message. “I called Turn the page to see the scorecard for the current Good options that they could choose — you just did the work.” him, and he’s like, ‘I just want you to tell your students that Citizen Challenge. The deadline to complete it is Monday, Scannell recruited the kids, found a space where they this made my day,’” she recalled. September 5.

Anyone that’s thinking about joining a Good Citizens club or is on the fence — you should do it.





Help Your Kids Win a Trip to D.C.! 2022 SCORECARD Connect to History

Write a Letter

Future History

Pitch In

Visit the Capitol

Listen Local

Deed Search

Library Loan

See the Spot


Remember This

Clean Up




Connect to Neighbors

Take Control


Read a Newspaper

Appreciate Art

Act Locally

What’s in a Name?

Explain the Motto

Make a Map

Think Globally

Watch the News

Organize Support

Consider Candidates

L E A R N A B O U T V E R M O N T • H AV E F U N • H E L P O T H E R S



Empowering Vermont’s youth to close the opportunity gap.



7 1 23 6 14 15 20 19 16 3 5 12 8 24 22 9 17 2 11 13 4 10 21 18

Respectfully Disagree


id you know the first commercial globe maker in the United States lived in Bradford, Vt.? The Vermont History Museum has an exhibit about him opening this summer. Farmer and blacksmith James Wilson learned cartography, geography and engraving, and in 1810 made and sold the first globes produced in the Americas. They helped people in the U.S. understand more about the world and their place in it.

Learn more about your community, country and world by doing the Good Citizen Challenge! Complete the Challenge for a chance to win a new globe, a $100 gift card to Phoenix Books and a free trip for two to Washington, D.C. from MilneTravel! All who finish the Challenge will be invited to a VIP reception at the Vermont State House this fall.

INSTRUCTIONS Complete a horizontal, vertical or diagonal row of five activities. Mark each completed box and snap a photo of each activity to show evidence of your work. Upload a photo of your completed scorecard, and evidence of your work, at Or mail the scorecard and evidence, along with your name and contact info, to: Seven Days/Kids VT, PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT, 05402-1164, attn: Good Citizen. No purchase necessary. Participants must be 18 or under to be eligible for prizes. Each completed scorecard counts as one entry in the prize drawing. Participants can enter multiple scorecards, but activities must be repeated for each one.

Deadline to enter is September 5, 2022. 20


Deadline to enter is September 5, 2022.






Free Museum Visit (center square): Go to the Vermont History Museum. Good Citizen Challenge participants and their families get in free! The exhibit about globe maker James Wilson opens on July 3.


15. Visit the Capitol: Walk inside the Vermont State House to see the House and Senate chambers. If you can, take a free guided tour or self-guided audio tour.


Connect to History: Pick one of these Vermonters from history and learn about their life at Then complete an activity related to or inspired by them or their accomplishments: visiting the town where they lived, for example, or writing a poem or creating artwork.

20. Listen Local: Listen to a locally produced podcast from Vermont Public. Choose one of these episodes of “Brave Little State”: “How Is Climate Change Affecting Vermont Right Now?” (April 5, 2019) or “Brave Little State’s 4th Annual Brief History of Vermont Road Names” (September 9, 2021). Younger participants can listen to one of these episodes of “But Why?: A Podcast for Curious Kids”: “Why Can’t Kids Vote?” (October 9, 2020) or “Why Is Russia Invading Ukraine?” (March 11, 2022).

• • • • •

James Wilson Daisy Turner Abby Hemenway Stephen Bates Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley


Make a Map: Draw or design a map of a place you know well.


See the Spot: Visit a state historical marker. Find a list at


What’s in a Name?: Pick a Vermont place name — a town, a road, a lake, a mountain — and find out where it comes from. Ask your librarian or local historical society for help.



Remember This: Public memorials commemorate people and events a community wants everyone to remember. Visit a memorial in a Vermont town and find out who it honors, and why. Future History: Pick an object in your life that could be part of a future museum exhibit and write a label for it. Tell us what it’s called, where it came from and how it’s used.



Respectfully Disagree: Watch a short video about One Small Step, a public radio project that brings people who disagree with each other together for meaningful conversations. Practice talking with someone who disagrees with you about something — for example, a movie, a kind of food or a political issue. Listen to them and share what you think without using sarcasm, name-calling, insults or eyerolling. Tell us how it went. Connect to Neighbors: Join your neighborhood Front Porch Forum and write a post about your experiences taking the Good Citizen Challenge. Under 14? Ask an adult to post for you. Act Locally: Do something to help people in your community. For example: Make a cheerful sign, weed a public garden or help seniors learn to use digital devices.

10. Think Globally: Do something to learn about or help a community far away. For example: Watch a documentary, or attend a vigil, rally or event about a global issue such as war or climate change. 11.

Organize Support: Use Front Porch Forum to organize a donation drive for a charity or shared resource such as a food shelf, library or homeless shelter.

12. Clean Up: Spend at least 15 minutes picking up litter in a public place. 13. Appreciate Art: Find and reflect on a mural or sculpture in a public place. Tell us how it makes you feel. 14. Pitch In: Help a friend or neighbor with yard work or chores.

16. Library Loan: Borrow something from your local library — a book, a garden tool, a park pass, a telescope, etc. 17. Explain the Motto: Vermont’s state motto is “Freedom and Unity.” What does that mean to you? Make a piece of art — a poem, drawing, song, etc. — to explain. 18. Consider the Candidates: Watch or listen to a debate featuring candidates running for office in the August 9 primary election or the November 8 general election. 19. Deed Search: Go to your city or town hall and find the deed for a property that’s important to you.

SHARE YOUR PROGRESS AND INSPIRE OTHERS! • Upload high-quality photos of your work to goodcitizenvt. com. We’ll publish the best entries in Kids VT and/or Seven Days. • Write a letter to the editor about the Challenge to your local newspaper. • Post about the Challenge on your neighborhood Front Porch Forum, or if you’re under 14, ask an adult to post for you.

21. Watch the News: Watch a local TV news broadcast or the latest episode of “Vermont This Week” on Vermont Public, available to stream online at 22. Read a Newspaper: Read a whole issue of your local community newspaper — find a list of Vermont papers at Can’t find your paper? Try the library. 23. Write a Letter: Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper about something or someone in your community that you appreciate. 24. Take Control: Improve your attention and ability to focus by changing your relationship to your digital devices. Do at least one of the suggested activities on the Take Control checklist from the Center for Humane Technology. Find it at

BONUS: Complete all activities in one category to be eligible for category prizes! More info online. SUBMIT YOUR ENTRIES AT

GOODCITIZENV T.COM See instructions at left. Got questions? Contact us at or 802-865-1020, ext. 114. KIDS VT FALL 2022


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Gi Force

A Brazilian jiu-jitsu master teaches kids to be confident, safe and strong — on and off the mat BY KEN PICARD


gi, occasionally poking each other with boxing gloves almost as big as their heads, Fernandez demonstrated a playful yet firm instructional style that’s as persuasive as a half nelson. The students hadn’t lined up as quickly as Fernandez had instructed, so he chirped a brisk “Atenção!” — Portuguese for “attention.” The kids instantly fell silent and stood up, straight as rods. As they quietly awaited further instruction, Fernandez laid a rope ladder flat along the padded floor, then demonstrated the first training exercise: hopscotch-like jumps between each of the ladder rungs. As the barefoot students completed the drill with varying degrees

of proficiency, Fernandez encouraged each one with a smile and an enthusiastic “Very good! Very good!” Next, Fernandez demonstrated a monkey-like crawl between the rungs of the rope ladder on his feet and knuckles, followed by a tumble at the end. He finished by slapping the mat loudly with one arm. “That’s called a shoulder roll,” Fernandez explained, in his thick Brazilian accent. “You need to learn how to fall without hitting your head.” For more than 30 years, Fernandez has been teaching students how to fall down safely — then get back up again. As the founder and owner of Vermont Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, he’s taught hundreds

of children as young as 4 how to defend themselves and subdue an opponent using techniques that don’t require superior size, strength or speed. Through this martial art — which blends elements of judo, ground fighting and GrecoRoman wrestling — students can improve their balance, flexibility and coordination while also building discipline, selfconfidence, compassion and respect. “Parents see the world is very confrontational,” Fernandez explained later. “Politeness and manners are going downhill. There are a lot of bullies around. And lack of confidence makes people dependent.” GI FORCE, P.24 »


ulio César Fernandez Nunes has traded kicks, leg locks and choke holds with some of the world’s fiercest Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters. But on a steamy afternoon in his Williston gym, the 65-year-old “Foca,” as he’s known in his native Brazil, grappled with an unexpected challenge: Two of his instructors were delayed by car troubles, so Fernandez had to single-handedly hold the attention of a dozen rambunctious 4- to 6-year-olds for nearly an hour. But the two-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion was more than up to the challenge of teaching the “Ninjas” class. As the young students ambled about, each in a white pajama-like kimono, or

SPORTS Julio César Fernandez Nunes



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Among the students training that day was Violet, a 4-year-old who sported a blond braid and purple boxing gloves. (Though Brazilian jiu-jitsu doesn’t traditionally involve strikes, Fernandez, who’s also a certified boxing coach, incorporates punches and kicks against padded targets into his training exercises.) As Violet squared off in a fighting stance opposite a girl several inches taller, she had a fierce look in her eye. Violet’s mother, Holly Bolsta, of Williston, watched through a doorway in the lobby, where a color monitor displayed the action in the gym via closed-circuit TV. (Fernandez doesn’t allow anyone on the mats without a uniform.) When asked why she enrolled her preschool daughter in a style of martial arts whose maneuvers include the guillotine choke, the bicep slicer and the Peruvian necktie, Bolsta said it was actually Violet’s choice. “She wanted to do ballet, but I was too late for the sign-ups,” Bolsta said. “And she was like, ‘That’s OK, Mom. I’ll just do a fighting class.’” Since starting Brazilian jiu-jitsu last fall, Violet has begun attending class twice a week and now practices rope ladder conditioning at home with her father. “Julio has been amazing. He’s so patient, consistent and firm,” Bolsta said. “Definitely the games are her favorite part. He conditions them in such clever ways that they feel like they’re just having fun.” Indeed, near the end of class, Fernandez unfurled a long cloth belt, then directed his students to stand in a circle around him. “Ever heard of an anaconda?” he asked the group. “The anaconda is a snake that lives in the jungles of Brazil. If it gets your feet, it’s gonna take you down!” Fernandez gently swung the belt around at ankle height, requiring the students to jump over it as it passed by; those the belt touched were eliminated from the game. The kids giggled and yelled as each one tried to leap over the approaching “anaconda.” Tom Stuessy’s 7-year-old daughter, Sawyer, was among the students playing the game. An only child, Sawyer began training at Vermont Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu last October and now attends classes three days per week. Stuessy said he’s noticed his daughter practicing shoulder rolls at home and talking her way through the new moves she’s learned in class. “She’s way into it,” said the South

Burlington dad, who used to train with Fernandez himself. “Every day she wakes up and asks if it’s a jiu-jitsu day.” Vermonters who are curious about Brazilian jiu-jitsu would be hard-pressed to find an instructor with better credentials than those of Fernandez, who’s been practicing the sport for nearly half a century. Born and raised in Copacabana, a neighborhood in southern Rio de Janeiro, he got into Brazilian jiu-jitsu through his first love — surfing — which he learned at age 5; by 16, he was surfing professionally. Fernandez earned the nickname “Foca,” which is Portuguese for “sea lion,” because of how much time he spent in the ocean. He was no sea lion in physical stature, though. Fernandez, who stands five foot eight and weighs 150 pounds, was often physically attacked by much bigger surfers, who were territorial about whom they allowed to surf on their favorite beaches. So, at 16, Fernandez began training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under the late Carlson Gracie, a grand master whose family developed the sport in Brazil in the early 20th century before spreading it worldwide. A strategic form of self-defense that’s been likened to chess, Brazilian jiu-jitsu emphasizes brains over brawn. A smaller but better trained opponent can easily subdue a larger one simply by using choke holds and leverage applied to limbs and joints to their advantage. “Jiu-jitsu gave me the confidence that I could walk around with my head up and my shoulders back,” Fernandez said. By age 17, he was competing nationally. Fernandez went on to become a three-time Rio de Janeiro state champion, then Brazil’s five-time national champion and, eventually, a two-time world champion. The last time he competed, at age 57, Fernandez won the international title of grand master. Fernandez moved to the U.S. in 1989. He and his American wife settled in Vermont because his in-laws, who were avid skiers, had a house in Stowe. Though Fernandez already had a college degree in economics from Brazil, he needed to learn English before getting a professional job in Vermont. In the meantime, he washed dishes at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, where he took on his first Brazilian jiu-jitsu student in the U.S. — a sous chef who worked in the kitchen with him.

For more than 30 years, Fernandez has been teaching students how to fall down safely — then get back up again.

While attending Champlain College to earn a degree in finance and accounting, Fernandez began offering his martial arts services to local karate and tae kwon do schools; none was interested. “They didn’t want any competition, you know?” he said. So Fernandez opened Vermont Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 1993, just as the sport was taking the world by storm. In November of that year, Royce Gracie, a member of the famed Gracie family and Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, won the first Ultimate Fighting Championship, a mixed martial arts competition, defeating his opponent in under two minutes. Though Fernandez initially trained only adults — many of his students

Naja Masada said that’s been her experience, “100 percent.” The 17-year-old from St. Albans has been training with “Mr. Julio,” as she calls Fernandez, since she was 5. Now a blue belt, Naja comes to the gym three days a week to practice and help train younger students. Brazilian jiu-jitsu, she said, “has definitely given me a strong sense of confidence. But a good thing I’ve been taught over the years, especially at Mr. Julio’s gym, is not to be overconfident.” Naja also addressed a concern some parents may have about the potential dangers of the sport. She pointed out that neither the training nor tournaments involve any kicking or punching between opponents, so no protective gear is necessary.



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Julio César Fernandez Nunes leading a class of 11-to 15-year-olds

are current or former military and law enforcement personnel — he began offering instruction to children about 13 years ago. Today, with 80 to 90 kids attending his classes every week, youths comprise about half of his students and are the fastest-growing segment of his student body. But while Fernandez and his 10 instructors teach self-defense and physical fitness, a mental component is omnipresent. Patience, discipline, self-control, and respect for one’s instructors and opponents are part of every class, Fernandez said. Instructor Chad Borofsky drives an hour each way from his home in Waitsfield several days a week just so he and his 7-year-old-son, Eli, can train with Fernandez. On the day we met, Eli was taking a class while Borofsky waited outside with his 3-year-old son, Alden. Though Borofsky acknowledged that for younger kids, most of the training is about developing basic body control, hand-eye coordination and agility, there’s a strong mental component to the classes, too. “For Eli, I think it builds some serious self-confidence,” he said.

“And when you spar,” she added, “you don’t go 100 percent, so that you don’t injure your partner or yourself. Mr. Julio wants to make it a sport that, no matter how old you are, you can do it, and you don’t have to be afraid of injury.” That much was evident from watching a couple of his youth classes. Fernandez has posted 14 training rules at the entrance to his gym. The first reads, “Students are not to misuse the knowledge of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.” That means they’re actively discouraged from practicing jiu-jitsu techniques outside the gym and must never use them in real life unless it’s absolutely necessary. (In 48 years, Fernandez said he’s had to use jiu-jitsu just twice in self-defense.) “I teach the kids that the first thing they have to learn is self-control,” he added. “I teach discipline. I teach skills. But I also teach them to be humble.” K Vermont Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will host an inter-gym kids tournament on Saturday, October 15. For class times and membership fees, visit K3v-OGE0822 1



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Nick Patch, Longtime Boatbuilding Instructor


ick Patch stood at the helm of an open-air workshop at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in July and surveyed 10 sea kayaks, all in skeletal form. Campers, ages 13 to 17, used handsaws, epoxy and clamps as they constructed the boats. Two days earlier, the crafts were just piles of wood. Now they looked like kayaks. Most of the teens said they had minimal experience building anything — much less their own boat — when they signed up for Champlain Discovery, the Vergennes museum’s five-week summer sea kayak program. Campers spend the first three weeks building their kayaks. Then they have the option of putting their boats in the water for a two-week, 180-mile expedition on Lake Champlain. Patch, the 67-year-old director of maritime programs at the museum, had known of a boatbuilding program in Maine before starting this one in 1994. As the first three weeks wind down, he said, the kayaks “come alive with

individual builders’ personalities” as the teens customize their boats with paint designs and themes. The best part: Campers get to keep their creations. “I didn’t make a conscious decision to be an educator,” Patch said. “But my drive came from the fact that I was not a good [classroom] learner myself … College really wasn’t a good fit for me. I’m just a hands-on learner.” In the early 1990s, Patch, a Ferrisburgh resident, ran a boat repair and restoration business in Shelburne and Charlotte while also working at the maritime museum. But around 1997, he decided “to go for broke,” he said, and he sold his boat repair business to dive full time into teaching at the museum. He pitched another idea to the museum: building traditional rowing gigs, large wooden rowboats, with middle and high school students and then using those boats in community programs. In 1999, Patch led the first group of students — a Vergennes middle school class — as they built a gig together. “We pretty much have been on a

Watch av featur ideo ing Nick seven Patch at day kids-v t an WCAX d on -TV.

Nick Patch

Campers kayaking on the final day of camp

trajectory to build one boat a year since 1999,” Patch said. The boats range between 25 and 32 feet in length and hold six to eight people. “This boat right here, Sugar Moon, was our 23rd build,” he said, gesturing to a yellow vessel built using a traditional whaling boat design. More than 20 kids spent nine months constructing the boat with Patch and maritime museum educator Jack Chappell. They completed it last May.

The public school-based boatbuilding program originally lasted six months, but, as of last year, it runs throughout the entire school year. Participants have come primarily from Middlebury Union High School and the Addison Wayfinder Experience, a special education program based at Vergennes Union High School that serves multiple districts in Addison County. Vergennes students come in the NICK PATCH, P.28 » KIDS VT FALL 2022


Nick Patch

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recognizes the value of teaching tree harvesting. “We’re pretty proud that we have an experience that goes from tree to boat,” Patch said. In late May or early June, the young boatbuilders celebrate the boat launch in dramatic fashion. Musicians play, and each teen speaks about their building experience to an audience of 50 to 100 people. The students parade down to the boat ramp at Basin Harbor resort and celebrate with a boat-naming and the launch. Students submit name ideas in a suggestion box, then vote online. Some years, donors who support the program get to choose the name, so there’s no competition. “I think there’s a lot of power in working with a community of people on a project and really creating something tangible and useful. It’s

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morning, and Middlebury students come in the afternoon; all work on the same long boat. The students also help maintain the entire gig fleet. “This boat, Sugar Moon, has approximately 3,000 rivets in it, all hand-pounded, so a lot of handwork is involved. Every plank is individually fit,” Patch said. “By the end of the project, I would say, everybody’s pretty bought in and pretty proud.” The process begins when the students set up a strongback, a length of timber used to hold the keel in alignment during construction. The keel and keel plank are set into the strongback, along with a series of molds to define the shape of the hull. Students lay the planks around that structure. Then it’s time to steam-bend ribs into place. Students pull eight-foot-long strips of oak out of a 192-degree steam

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box and “bend them to a radical shape,” which, Patch said, is “a very magical process.” Lastly, they install foot stretchers and seats in the rigs. “We build them right side up, which is not something everybody does. It’s a more accessible process and looks more like a boat coming together, which is motivating,” Patch said. The group also takes a field trip each winter, trekking into the woods with regional forester David Brynn, who runs Vermont Family Forests, to locate trees that can be used for future boatbuilding. This past winter, they watched loggers fell a tree, which arrived at the museum in log form. In the spring, the museum brought in a portable sawmill, and students helped cut the log into usable dimensions. The lumber then dries for at least a year in the museum’s drying shed. Though additional timber comes from other sources, such as Canopy Timber Alternatives in East Middlebury, Patch

really hard to get that in a classroom,” Patch said. Museum instructors pride themselves on the fact that every boat they’ve built since 1999 is currently in use, Patch said. Eight Chittenden and Addison county schools participate in competitive rowing afterschool programs that serve hundreds of kids annually. The museum also offers school-based ecology programs, through which students go out in boats to capture plankton and other specimens to examine under a microscope. The boats also get used for expeditionary programming, an adult rowing program, and one-off team-building activities for kids and adults. And the museum supplies boats when it collaborates with nonprofit Project HOePpnEr to sponsor an event designed to prevent and raise awareness of teen suicide. “There’s a lot of tentacles that reach a lot of different communities,” Patch said. The school-year boatbuilding

Basil Hopkinson (right) stenciling fireflies on their kayak, with the help of fellow camper Jonathan Kafumbe

program is free through public schools. The museum offers a pay-what-youcan model for all of its summer camps, including the kayak-building camp, as well as its year-round expeditionary programs. Patch said longboats they’ve built are displayed at Addison County Fair & Field Days in August. When the kids recognize a boat they’ve helped build, their reaction is priceless. “They’ll say, ‘That’s my boat!’ And it really warms your heart,” Patch said. “They clearly are proud of it, and they get inside it, and they show it to whoever they’re with. It’s the kind of ownership of an accomplishment.” Back in the open-air workshop on the final days of the summer kayakbuilding camp, the boats were popping

Reed Grant, 14, of Vergennes was splattering paint in a Jackson Pollock fashion onto his boat, an idea that came from Hopkinson. Grant signed his boat with a green handprint. Laela Desjadon, 13, of Vergennes had created a SpongeBob SquarePants theme on her boat, and Joshua Kafumbe, 15, of Middlebury was cutting out a Curious George image with an X-Acto knife to stencil onto his yellow kayak. “I didn’t really think that I could get this far,” Joshua said. “I didn’t think that I could build a boat.” One of the quotes hanging on the wall inside the longboat workshop building says, “A boat should live three times the life of the tree it was built from.”

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HAVE YOUR KIDS OUTGROWN THEIR GEAR OR WANT TO TRY A NEW SPORT? Campers getting ready to test their kayaks in the water

with personality and color. Basil Hopkinson, 17, of Bridport had painted fireflies on their boat with the help of fellow camper Jonathan Kafumbe, 13, of Middlebury. “At my house, we have this really big, open field, and at night we have hundreds and hundreds of fireflies, so I wanted to do that on my boat. Me and my mom made these stencils last night,” Basil said.

“We really stress that with the kids,” Patch said. “You aren’t just building this so you can experience this; you’re building this so that thousands and thousands of people over the next multiple decades can experience this activity.” K Visit to learn more about boatbuilding programs at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

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More Than Just Books Why babies and toddlers love libraries — and you should, too! STORY & PHOTOS BY JULIE GARWOOD


hen I first became a mom in 2018 and was looking for things to do with my little ones, it never occurred to me that the library offered anything other than books. It wasn’t until I overheard another parent raving about “story time” that I grew curious about whether my local library offered something similar. And so, with my 1- and 3-year-old toddlers in tow, we set out for Burlington’s Fletcher Free Library to attend an event called Family Playshop. Playshop gives children under 5 the opportunity to explore materials, from Play-Doh to Legos, with helpful and engaging librarians nearby to assist. Our first experience there became one of many as I quickly discovered that libraries provide countless opportunities for learning and socialization. Whether taking home activities for a rainy day or participating in interactive experiences like Playshop, we realized libraries are the perfect place for us to get to know our community, free of charge. Our family has since become an unofficial ambassador of these neighborhood spots. Not only do we enjoy making new friends, we also know there are many parents and caregivers like us searching for the same things we are: community, inclusion and one more way to keep a precocious toddler entertained! With that in mind, it’s my pleasure to share the following treasure trove of library resources. To learn more about your library’s offerings, check out its website. Many list their programs, as well as other at-home opportunities, under their “Kids/Youth” tab or right on the home page. Happy exploring!

Playing on a mini obstacle course at the South Burlington Public Library


PLAYGROUPS AND PROGRAMS Our favorite library programs are ever changing. Currently, my 3-year-old is counting the days until he can go back to the Fletcher Free Library for Sing

Many libraries offer dedicated spaces for kids to explore and interact with friends. Along With Linda Bassick. This weekly half-hour program is filled with acoustic guitar playing, singing and dancing with other 1- to 7-year-olds. My son has even worked up the courage to request a song or two. His current sing-along favorite: the ABCs. We’ve also learned about several other programs for infants and toddlers at nearby libraries. At K9 Duke Storytime With Officer Cohen at Dorothy Alling Memorial Library in Williston, children can read with or to a dog and get to know one of their town’s local police officers. The Pierson Library

in Shelburne offers Little Ones Yoga on Saturdays, a great opportunity to try a new form of exercise and work out those wiggles! Programs are typically open to residents and nonresidents alike. So, even if your own town’s library doesn’t have something that works for you, you can likely find an engaging program in the next town over.

TAKE-HOME STEAM KITS While I’m accustomed to taking home books from the library, I recently learned about STEAM kits available for

checkout. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math, and according to staff at Richmond Free Library, these kits help young learners build introductory knowledge and basic skills in different subject areas. Themes include snap circuits, ocean wonder kits, Magna-Tiles and board games. STEAM kits are available for a variety of ages, from preschoolers to teenagers. You can find them in many libraries, including the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington, Richmond Free MORE THAN JUST BOOKS, P. 32 » KIDS VT FALL 2022


Exploring a sensory bin at Fletcher Free Library


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More Than Just Books Library and Brownell Library in Essex Junction.

PLAY SPACES Sometimes, a kid just wants to play. And what better way to mix it up than a change of scenery? Luckily, many libraries offer dedicated spaces for kids to explore and interact with friends. Most of these spaces are open whenever the library is, making it easy to stop by whenever you have a free hour. Some of our favorite activities we’ve found for kids up to 5 years old are sensory bins, arts and crafts projects, puzzles, large manipulatives (think blocks), figurines, dollhouses, and coloring materials. We recommend checking out the offerings at Dorothy Alling Memorial Library,


South Burlington Public Library, Stowe Free Library and Fletcher Free Library.

COMPUTERS AND ELECTRONICS OK, so maybe electronics aren’t your favorite thing for toddlers to get their hands on, but libraries often offer developmentally appropriate tech toys for young children. At the South Burlington Public Library, for example, children can choose from several games or stories that allow them to read or sing along with cartoon characters. Themes include shapes, numbers and classic nursery rhymes. It’s a wholesome option that allows little ones to experiment with technology without letting them hop on the internet and start exploring.

ONLINE RESOURCES AND CLASSES Speaking of electronics, I recently learned that many libraries also offer online programs that students can access at home. A quick perusal of the Fletcher Free Library website shows programs such as PBS Kids and ECHO At-Home Learning, as well as platforms that offer ebooks and games. These options are ideal for rainy or snowy days or to supplement your child’s learning. My kids have taken advantage of a game or two with Daniel Tiger, a PBS character who teaches about love and kindness. This is a great, free option that certainly beats paying for another expensive subscription.

STORYWALK It was on one of our many long walks

during the height of the pandemic that we discovered our neighborhood StoryWalk. On the side of a rail trail, we found a forested path where children could follow a series of posted signs, each containing one page of a storybook. We especially liked the fact that the signs were posted at toddler height for easy access.

ATTRACTION AND MUSEUM PASSES Want to take a trip to a local museum or state park? Before heading out, check with your town’s library to see if it has free passes to your desired destination. Many offer free or reduced-price passes to places such as Shelburne Farms, Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburgh, Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock, and some state parks. K

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Sing Along With Linda Bassick at Fletcher Free Library

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8/5/22 11:25 AM

le b a il a v a w o n s e in c Vac for 6 months and up

Covid-19 vaccines are now approved for every Vermonter 6 months and older. Protect every generation from serious symptoms and illness. Talk to your health care provider to schedule a vaccine.

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8/12/22 5:27 PM

And on the seventh day, we do not rest. Instead we bring you...

Get the newsletter featuring notable news, arts and food stories handpicked by our editors. Sit back, relax and read up on what you may have missed. SUBSCRIBE TODAY:



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3/2/21 6:43 PM

Save the Dates Fun stuff for families this fall



Allium in the Family



Tricks and Treats

Escape the Maize

Woodstock’s Billings Farm & Museum gets in the spooky — but not too spooky — spirit with A FAMILY HALLOWEEN. A costume parade, hayrides, candy stations, a pumpkin carving contest and seasonal stories make for a freaky festival that folks and farm animals of every age can enjoy.

Nothing like a 24-acre corn maze to bring a family together. Intrepid explorers must gather their loved ones and their wits if they dare to tackle the GREAT VERMONT CORN MAZE, New England’s largest labyrinth. If you’re not up for a threehour hike, the scenic maze is always an option, as is the Pretendin Play Village, which features friendly goats, barnyard golf and a hay castle.

Sunday, October 23, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., at Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock. Regular admission, $8-17; free for members and kids in costume. Info, 457-2355,

Through Monday, October 10, at the Great Vermont Corn Maze in Danville. $10-20. Info, 397-8574,

Find more family fun each week in the Seven Days calendar, or online at

Leaf Encounters

Vermont in the fall is a work of art all on its own, but why not help it along? The STOWE FOLIAGE ARTS FESTIVAL does just that, gathering more than 150 artists and artisans at Topnotch Field for three days of programming for the creative kid in all of us. There’s also music, gourmet food, local beer and wine, and live craft demonstrations. Friday, October 7, through Sunday, October 9, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., at Topnotch Field, Topnotch Resort in Stowe. $10; free for kids. Info, 316-5019,


Roasty Toasty

Thursdays, August 18 through September 8, and Fridays, September 23 through October 7, 6-8 p.m., at Lavender Essentials of Vermont in Derby. Free; preregister. Info, 323-3590,




If a sweet tooth runs in your family, get your toasting sticks ready: Derby’s hilltop floral farm, Lavender Essentials of Vermont, presents evening MARSHMALLOW ROASTS so you can snack by sunset with the scent of lavender on the breeze. Kids’ first package of marshmallows is free, s’mores supplies are provided, and additional ’mallows are available for purchase.

Saturday, September 3, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., in downtown Bennington. $5-30. Info, 447-3311,



It’s the best stinkin’ time of the year when GARLIC TOWN, USA, formerly known as the Southern Vermont Garlic & Herb Festival, returns to downtown Bennington. With live music, kids’ activities, a beer and cocktail garden for the grown-ups (garlic margarita, anyone?), and vendors selling everything from garlic ice cream to deep-fried garlic pickles, there’s something for every taste.


Blast From the Past

History buffs of all ages travel back in time at the VERMONT LIVING HISTORY EXPO at Essex Junction’s Champlain Valley Exposition. Using props, costumes and even historical vehicles, reenactors evoke medieval knights, American revolutionaries, World War II soldiers and everything in between. It’s a hands-on way to learn about times gone by. Saturday, September 17, and Sunday, September 18, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., at Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction. $5-30; free for kids under 6. Info, 778-9178,


War of the Gourds

Start building your trebuchets now: The VERMONT PUMPKIN CHUCKIN’ FESTIVAL is back. Competitors use homemade catapults to see who can hurl a squash the farthest across Stowe’s Mayo Farm Event Fields. Meanwhile, a more peaceful but no less ruthless chili cook-off keeps spectators fed, and musicians House Dunn and John Smyth provide a live soundtrack to the pumpkin party. Sunday, September 25, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., at Mayo Farm Event Fields in Stowe. $10; free for kids 4 and under. Info, 603-630-4800, KIDS VT FALL 2022


Happy New School Year! From the 13,000 members of Vermont-NEA — teachers, paraeducators, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, school nurses, librarians, and counselors — welcome to the 2022-23 school year. While we are still living in extraordinary times, one thing hasn’t changed, and won't: our steadfast commitment to our schools, our communities, and, most importantly, our students.

School breakfast and lunch help kids learn & grow. When you return your school meal application, you are helping your entire school and community. When more students participate in school meals, your school receives more money for education in the cafeteria and the classroom.

BACK TO SCHOOL TO DO New notebooks & pencils New backpack New lunchbox Free & Reduced Price Meal Application 3SquaresVT Application Sign-up for extracurricular activities

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More money for your school to invest in local food and farm-to-school programming Can help your community qualify for summer and afterschool meal programs

Contact your school to submit your meal application.


Waived testing fees, low-cost internet, and discounts to some community programs

8/12/22 3:20 PM

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8/12/22 11:21 AM

JUST FOR KIDS Coloring Contest!

Three winners will each receive an annual family membership to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium. Send Kids VT your work of art by November 1. Be sure to include the info at right with your submission. Winners will be chosen in the following categories: (1) ages 5 and younger, (2) ages 6-8 and (3) ages 9-12, and will be named in the winter issue. Send your high-resolution scans to, with “coloring contest” in the subject line. Or mail entries to Kids VT, P.O. Box 1184, Burlington, VT 05402.

Title _______________________________________ Contest sponsored by

Artist ______________________________________ Age _______________ Town ___________________ Email ______________________________________ Phone ______________________________________




Our judges were bowled over by the marvelous multicolored mammals we received for this month’s coloring contest. Stella, 10, decked out her emerald green koala in tie-dyed trainers to enjoy its vibrant pink cone loaded with sprinkles. Alder, 7, amazed us with a detailed neighborhood scene including a very animated creemee. McKinley, 5, submitted a multicolored koala enjoying a cone on a sunny yellow beach. Thanks to all who entered! We can’t wait to see what you have in store for this beaver, who looks eager to go back to school.


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Ivy Adriance, 11 Monkton

The winners of annual family memberships to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium are…

“Koala Bear Eating Ice Cream at the Beach” 5& McKinley Charest, 5 u BOLTON



Indy Roberts, 12 Montpelier

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8/11/22 4:49 PM

Visit the American Precision Museum and see how STEM & design relate to machines and history.

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Seraphina Leafe, 10 Lyndonville


Juniper Schwartz, 8 Bolton

6 to 8


Binah Myer, 8 South Burlington


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Tessa Pavey, 6 Montpelier

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Oona Russel-McDade, 7 Woodbury “BEACH PARTY”

Annabel Kos, 8 Burlington


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Lily Wells, 9 Ferrisburgh

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Troy Kent, 4 Moretown


River Monte, 7 Burlington

“You Wanna Scoop?” Stella Walker, 10



Calla Balzano, 5 Ryegate

9 to 12

Have you ridden our new top-to-bottom beginner flow trail yet? (It’s pretty awesome)

[ [ KIDS VT FALL 2022


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