Speaker 1: You’re listening to Love Maine Radio with Dr. Lisa Belisle. Recorded in the studio of Maine Magazine at 75 Market Street, Portland, Maine. Dr. Lisa Belisle is a physician trained in family and preventative medicine, acupuncture and public health. She offers medical care and acupuncture at Brunswick Family Medicine. Read more about her integrative approach to wellness in Maine Magazine. Love Maine Radio is available for download free on iTunes. See the Love Maine Radio Facebook page or www.lovemaineradio.com for details. Now here are a few highlights from this week’s program.
Niles: The process of learning and discovery is something that sticks with you, that you have and it ignites a spark that makes you want to keep exploring and keep discovering and that learning is a lifelong process. That’s at the heart of what we’re all about.
Kim: The number one thing I hear so often is that I can’t. The first thing they’ll do when they go across the Bounce [Beam 00:01:02] is, “I can’t do it.” It’s been a great opportunity for kids to explore their bodies, not just physically, but also just from the mindset.
Tim: One of the biggest things is you have to be consistent. You have to have some goals initially and then you have to be consistent in trying reach goals from the standpoint of self confidence and feeling better about yourself. You’re able to physically do something that maybe three months down the road you never thought possible. Just something that’s very rewarding for people with that.
Speaker 1: Love Maine Radio is made possible with the support of the following generous sponsors: Maine Magazine, Marci Booth of Booth Maine, Apothecary by Design, Mike LePage and Beth Franklin of RE/MAX Heritage, Tom Shepherd of Shepherd Financial, Harding Lee Smith of The Rooms and Bangor Savings Bank.
Dr. L. Belisle: This is Dr. Lisa Belisle and you are listening to Love Maine Radio, show number one eighty-five Whole Body Learning airing for the first time on Monday, March 29, 2015. Most of us associate the word learning with school or books. We have increasingly become aware that learning takes place in multiple settings and that it can be visual, auditory or kinesthetic and sensory. Today we speak with Niles Parker, executive director of the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor and Kim and Tim DeMado of Triple Jump Fitness about the ways in which they are helping children and adults learn. Thank you for joining us.
Having myself spent a considerable amount of time in the greater Bangor Oroo region. I’m always happy to have an individual who’s willing to drive down here and take the time to talk to us about what’s going on in that area. Niles Parker is the executive director of the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor, prior to that he was the executive director at the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport. He is a resident of Hampden with his wife and three children and currently serves on the boards of the RSU 22 school system, the American Folk Festival and the Maine Science Festival. He’s a graduate of the Bangor Region Leadership Institute. Niles thanks for coming down.
Niles: Thanks for having me here Lisa. Great to be here.
Dr. L. Belisle: Bangor is what a couple, two and a half hours from Portland?
Niles: Yep, yeah. In the snow it’s about two and a half hours, two hours on a nice day.
Dr. L. Belisle: You spend a lot of time traveling around the state is my understanding.
Niles: I do. Yeah, I’m getting to know 95 and 295 pretty well but down in this area a lot. I have family in this area. Then as we were talking about earlier kids playing soccer and work-related things as well.
Dr. L. Belisle: You’re originally from the Boston area.
Niles: I am. I grew up just outside of Boston.
Dr. L. Belisle: This for you is a little bit different, the driving and the Maine thing. That’s a little different than what you were used to.
Niles: It is, though I don’t miss the traffic. It’s pretty nice being able to commute to work in about ten minutes and not have to wait in line or pull my hair out in a traffic jam. I wouldn’t trade it.
Dr. L. Belisle: Yeah, I can see that. I remember when I was in Boston, living there just for the summer and I would drive up and go over the Piscataqua River Bridge and I would all of the sudden start to breathe again. Things would just opened up and was back home.
Niles: There’s a decompression factor when you cross that bridge I think coming into Maine. It’s like okay. I still get that. It’s nice.
Dr. L. Belisle: That’s good. You have been when I say you grew up outside of Boston, you’ve been all over the place. You actually have worked for in addition to working for the Penobscot Marine Museum, you were the acting director and chief curator of the Nantucket Historical Association. You also were the curator and director of exhibitions at the New York State historical association and also the editor of Heritage Magazine and coordinator of the Seminars in American Culture and worked for the Smithsonian, so you just quite a resume.
Niles: Been a lot of fun. I just fell into museums in a way, never thinking that’s what I’d be doing and twenty-five years later I’m still doing it and loving it.
Dr. L. Belisle: You started with a BA in American Studies from Colby and then went on to get an MA in Museum Studies from SUNY.
Niles: Correct, yeah the Cooperstown Program that’s affiliated with the SUNY system.
Dr. L. Belisle: Tell me about that because I think I’ve been to many museums and I’ve never really thought about the education that’s involved in working with a museum aside from maybe working with an art museum. I have some knowledge of that, but tell me about your background.
Niles: Sure, so it actually started, my interest in museums well I guess it started when I was a kid but at Colby I took a course in material culture with then director of the Colby Art Museum, Hugh Gourley and really connected with it. I really liked the idea that object, what an object made by a person or a culture told us about that culture, how design impacted decisions and again what it said about the making and the culture behind it. That idea stuck with me and Hugh Gourley helped me get an internship at the Smithsonian that turned into a great experience there. Again really liked it, got the chance to work with artifacts there, got the chance to work on some exhibits there.
The whole notion of teaching through the use of objects and what it could tell in ways that you couldn’t in a classroom necessarily was really appealing to me. I always thought I’d be a teacher or maybe a teacher and a coach at a prep school or something like that. Then this idea of teaching through the use of artifacts really connected with me, so stuck with that and went to grad school. That idea of teaching with artifacts is something that was part and parcel of the curriculum and what they taught you. Then there were certainly things like education, theory, fundraising, working with nonprofits, marketing, things like that that went along with that, but I think at its heart it’s all about education and working with objects, a hands on approach to learning.
Dr. L. Belisle: I like that because I think that we all learn in different ways. I like to read but I also like to listen to music. I like to see art. I like the idea of something tangible that you can look it up piece and you can say this actually had a place in someone’s hand a thousand years ago, a hundred years ago, fifty years ago, and it actually means something. There’s something very real about that.
Niles: Absolutely. Very tangible.
Dr. L. Belisle: Very tangible.
Niles: I learn differently when I see something or when I get to get my hands on it and fool around with it. It was a learning that let me soak something up in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to just in a lecture or in a class or a book necessarily. I think that was something that I also picked up and really liked about the American Studies Program at Colby. It was very cross disciplinary and so we would study the 1950s for instance and we’d look at it from the angle of sports and from literature and film and art and economics. It was a really appealing way of tackling a subject. I think that’s always stuck with me.
Dr. L. Belisle: Your interest in education has translated into your being actually on the board with your local school system, but you also are on the board with the Maine Science Festival and the American Folk Festival. These are almost the former is education but the latter two it’s almost like museums and action in a way.
Dr. L. Belisle: Bringing something to people in a more temporary basis, but could still have a really lasting impact.
Niles: I hope so. I think they do. I guess that’s part of I feel importantly about volunteering and working in your community and working on things that will make a difference in your community and I think The Folk Festival has certainly been that. It started in 2001 the same year as the Discovery Museum opened in Bangor. A lot of people credited The Folk Festival with really ushering in Bangor’s Renaissance and putting it down on the waterfront. The city intentionally invested in its waterfront and tried to bring the festival to Bangor. After it’s two or three year stay, invented this folk festival, this iteration of it. It’s been great to see every August hundreds of thousands of people coming into Bangor, Maine, not something you would have seen twenty years ago.
As part of that though learning about different cultures from around the world, enjoying their music, enjoying the food, having a great time, meeting people, reconnecting, it’s amazing what it’s done for the community. The Science Festival is a new event. I’m really excited about that. The Discovery Museum has been one of the founding partners in helping to get it going and much like The Folk Festival does we hope that it’s going to pull people from all walks of life from all around the state to Bangor, not as a way necessarily of promoting Bangor, but promoting all of the science that’s going on in this state whether a researcher at a university or a company doing something really cool.
There are remarkable things being done here in the state of Maine that don’t necessarily get a lot of attention. There’s science all around us and we’re trying to call attention to that, remind people the importance of science and have some fun doing it. I think it’s going to be a great festival that we think is going to be a very popular annual event.
Dr. L. Belisle: Is this also being held in Bangor?
Niles: It is. Yeah, it will be at the new Cross Center, right downtown as the headquarters but then it’s going to come down town through some of the new restaurants and bars and shops and at the Discovery Museum we’re having a number of events there. Really the idea of something for everyone, for different learners all ages so it will be things for kids at the Discovery Museum. Meanwhile a couple of doors down at one of the bars there’s going to be the science behind brewing going on for the parents to enjoy. We’re really excited. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
Dr. L. Belisle: This is going to be an annual event for people who are listening. This has already happened so they will be able to pick it up next year.
Niles: Yeah, we already have the dates for next year. It’s going to be in March again. I think it’s March 18th through the 20th in 2016, but the response we’ve had thus far for year one has been overwhelming. I think it’s really connected with people who see the promise obviously of science and teaching science, but again the fun in it and just some of the programs we’re doing are really connecting.
Dr. L. Belisle: Tell me about the Discovery Museum. I like the idea that it’s called discovery. You just start there. You don’t know what’s going to happen. You walk through the doors. There’s something you’re going to learn.
Niles: I’m glad you said that. I agree entirely. The museum was actually founded in 2001 as the Eastern Maine Children’s Museum. I think very quickly thereafter the board made a smart decision and changed the name to the Maine Discovery Museum. It reflects in part the reach of the organization in terms of statewide programs, but to your point exactly the idea of discovery, which is critical in the learning process. There’s something about that word that evokes fun, that evokes pleasure in that aha moment. Hopefully, the idea that the process of learning and discovery is something that sticks with you, that you have that and it ignites a spark and makes you want to keep exploring and keep discovering and that learning is a lifelong process.
We’re all about starting young, getting kids as young as possible and study after study will show you that that is the secret to success for an individual learner to our society as a whole. You’ve got to start that process early. If you can share that joy of discovery with a youngster and their family odds are that he or she is going to continue to enjoy learning, trying new things, explore, experience with different learning styles, different classes, things like that, really, really critical. That’s at the heart of what we’re all about.
Dr. L. Belisle: What are some of the exhibits that have been more popular with people who are coming through your doors?
Niles: The exhibits, again the museum opened in 2001 and we haven’t changed out the exhibits too, too much. We have a number of exhibits planned, but they did in about 2008, 2009 renovate their second floor with an exhibit called Trade Winds. The idea what it was an interactive exhibit that talked about some of Maine’s trading partners from around the world and what the product is that Maine ships out or in some cases what we bring back here to Maine.
The bigger picture of course was that it was a way for us to talk about different cultures, geography, cultural diversity, and we’ve created some really fun interactive components. There’s a little kitchen in there that talks about Italy. Kids can sit their parents down and they will make the food and turn the tables on the parents, very, very popular. They’ll put the aprons on and take their orders and put something in the wood fired oven, the pretend wood fired oven of course.
Then there’s a section on Japan. Another section on Brazil. We have a great boat that’s supposed to mimic the cargo boats that pull into Searsport and bring clay from Brazil for the paper factories. Kids get a chance to work together to load and unload the cargo and pull on the rope to sound the horn. That’s a really fun interactive component.
Probably our newest exhibit that we’ve opened up is called Dino Dig which is on the third floor. This marries the idea of kids and their love of digging in the sandbox and their love of dinosaurs. We have buried in this really large sandpit different fossils. Kids can unearth them, bring them over to a wall of photos and compare what they’ve found with the correct photo of the fossil or the bone on the wall and learn about what dinosaur it came from. Sometimes it never gets that far in the process. It’s just the discovery in the sand, often it’s just that discovery in the sand, but that’s fine. You see the kids having fun and discovering.
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Dr. L. Belisle: I don’t know if you’ll know the answer to this question, but why do kids like dinosaurs so much?
Niles: That’s a good question. I’ve wondered that a lot. My kids certainly did. I think part of it has been the marketing if you will of dinosaurs in popular media over the last ten or twenty years and cartoons and shows that have been created using dinosaurs as some of the main characters, but I do think that something that’s totally extinct. There is an appeal there that we want to reconnect somehow with something that came before us that we can’t see every day, something that walked the Earth that no longer is. I still think there’s some kind of an appeal there. Probably we’d be wise to learn from the dinosaurs in that way.
Yeah, I think probably for the kids anyway it’s much more about the marketing angle over the last ten or twenty years using dinosaurs in that way, maybe there’s something a little more subconscious about connecting with something that’s extinct.
Dr. L. Belisle: Well I like that possibility. I mean this idea that there’s something that is actually real that really existed but it has this very imaginary flavor and you combine with this possibility of something quite enormous and also possibly monstrous. I’m older than someone who might have been marketed to over the last ten or twenty years, but I remember when I was growing up I still remember the brontosaurus and I’m sure all of these names have changed, but the pterodactyl and those things stuck with me in ways that other things didn’t really.
Niles: Right and I will say again this is where museums play a big role. My wife and kids were actually just in New York a couple of weeks ago, went to the Museum of Natural History to that fantastic [hall 00:19:06] where you see the dinosaur skeletons. I remember going when I was a kid and there is there is that holy cow moment when you walk in and you see this gigantic thing. What is that? You want to learn again, it sparks that that imagination and the desire to learn more. Museums have been doing that with dinosaurs for quite a long time. I mean you’re right, the appeal is not just for kids. A new Jurassic Park is coming out this, or maybe it’s already out, I don’t know, but that was certainly a huge hit that appealed to many, many people.
I don’t know it’s interesting.
Dr. L. Belisle: I remember when I was growing in the Portland area my parents would bring me to The Children’s Museum which was very early in its progression and it was held in Cape Elizabeth. Actually, I think there was one on Stevens Avenue and [it just so 00:19:56] sticks in my mind, these museums, so that when I became old enough to have children of my own I was more than happy to bring my kids to The Children’s Museum. I brought my kids to The Children’s Museum here in Portland just because this is where we happen to live. What I think is an interesting challenge is that you have to appeal to children, there’s also an appeal to adults as well.
You have to make it interesting enough so that the parents aren’t like, “Oh my gosh. I don’t want to go there again.”
Dr. L. Belisle: I think that that speaks to different learning styles at different ages and really trying to make things into a family affair.
Niles: Yeah, absolutely. We know, I mean we see this just from observation as well as from some of the surveys we do in the museum is that parents or caregivers or grandparents often learn something new as well. Often that will lead to a design choice we make in an exhibit or a label or the kind of didactic material that we put on the wall or in the handouts for people. You’re absolutely right. You have to bear in mind that you’ve got people approaching an exhibit whether for the first time or the twentieth time that come anew again and there’s always a chance to learn something or discover something different.
We have some parents who come three, four times a week to the museum. They’re always there, say from 3:00 to 4:30 they’ve got a time in their schedule and they build it in. I see the same kids every day almost and it’s great. Some of the younger kids don’t grow tired at all of knowing that Dino Dig is up on the third floor and it hasn’t changed or that there’s an exhibit component on the first floor that’s exactly the same as it was. In some ways, that’s really important for kids that they build that sense of stability and they know that something is where it always is and they can go back and it’s a key building block of learning.
We have to bear that in mind because as adults and we hear this from the parents wouldn’t it be nice if we could change things up, some exhibits are really tired and they’ve been there forever. We need to overhaul it and bring all new things in and we do a little bit, but it’s really important that we keep the younger children’s perspective in mind as well and that some of the really popular interactive experiences that are core to what they look for and what they experience that they remain and are enhanced [while we’re 00:22:22] [inaudible 00:22:21] but we need to the keep multiple perspectives in mind.
That being said we are designing a new exhibit that will call for renovating our entire third floor that we’re very excited about, but as we do that we’re looking at how we design that again with multiple ages, multiple learning styles in mind and trying to create something for everyone.
Dr. L. Belisle: It’s very interesting to think about what I guess opportunities have been made available to museums through the use of technology over the years. The Children’s Museum I knew when I was I don’t know ten or eight or whatever it was is so different than say the Holocaust Museum that I visited in DC a couple of years ago. The use of multimedia, the visual displays and it must be such a great opportunity for somebody who’s working in this field.
Niles: It absolutely is. The technology changes so fast that new opportunities come to light every day, but I think we need to approach it a little cautiously. When The Children’s Museum in Bangor was opened it was really intentionally not a place to plug in, not a place where children could interact with technology. It was really quite the opposite in that there was very little screen time there, very little technology to interact with. It was a hands on building blocks, drawing, creative from that perspective point of view.
I think we have already migrated away from that a little bit with some of the exhibits and the components that we’ve included, some of the programming that we’re doing and we’ll continue to do that, but I think to some degree we need to meet children where they are and technology is a really important part of how kids learn. We need to do that in a responsible way and I think take some of those opportunities that are coming to us balance that with responsible fun, interactive exhibits and components and programs that will help them enjoy, discover, but do it in a responsible way.
Again maybe there’s an opportunity for the parents to learn too. I mean so often you hear that this is true for me, my kids know way more about technology or certain software programs or things like that than I do. Maybe there’s a way for us to be offering classes or tutorials to parents about certain components of technology as well. We really are evolving into an organization that’s trying again to offer classes and educational opportunities for all ages, who are a little bit older. I do think technology has to be a part of that.
Dr. L. Belisle: You’ve also had an affiliation with Raising Readers since 2001 which is roughly the amount of time that Raising Readers itself has been around. I know that The Children’s Museum here in Portland has an affiliation with Raising Readers. Raising Readers manages to get books in the hands of children through their medical providers in the state of Maine, every child from the age of zero when they’re born to age five gets a book from their doctor on every well-child visit and books are an important part of what you’re doing at the Discovery Museum, so talk about not technologically based. There’s something very important and very tactile and something that kids really still need to have exposure to.
Niles: Yeah, Raising Readers is really such a great organization and a really, really important one. Again, back to the comment about starting early. This is I think well known by just about everyone now that the earlier you read with your child the greater their chances of become a literate, involved, engaged learner and reader. When they’re in the womb, we know that reading is important, so to have this program that puts books in the hands of the parents and encourages them to go home and read and look at the pictures and every day pull out that book, you’re right it’s a tactile, learning experience for the child to hear the voice, to explore the characters, to touch the pages. It comes to life in a way that not much else can.
I mean certainly something on an iPad or a tablet has the sound and the color and the video and that’s great but reading really does spark the imagination and is a learning process that’s unlike any other. It’s just critical. Again, the earlier the better. We have a little library that’s populated with a lot of books from Raising Readers in the Discovery Museum and I often see grandparents or parents sitting in one of the chairs, the couches, reading to their kids and it brings a smile to your face every time because to see that connection is pretty special.
Dr. L. Belisle: That’s also an important part of learning just in general, pretty much at every age but specifically at younger ages is the relationship aspect of it.
Dr. L. Belisle: If you’re being read to by a grandparent or if it’s your mother that’s bringing you to the Discovery Museum, there’s that interaction, that interplay, that social piece that really cements the things you’re learning into your brain.
Niles: Really important point I think and we see that every day. Again not to make too much out of the whole technology thing but in an age when so many kids have their faces a foot away, or their hand a foot away from their face staring into a screen and doing so much of their learning that way and not interacting face to face with another person the opportunity to learn, engage, solve problems and interact with other people is critical and we do a number of programs at the museum that forces children to do just that, so teamwork, solving problems, playing, interacting on a daily basis with somebody right there.
They’re building a tower or they’re drawing a drawing as a team or building a robot or working with Legos, something like that doing it as a team with their hands, face to face trying to solve problems is something that we really can’t lose sight of in society a little bit. At the museum we try to encourage that as much as possible and to your point earlier, to the connection with parents I will also say that I see many times when the mom or dad is standing there looking at his or her cell phone texting or whatever and their child is playing five feet away and not having that interaction.
That’s something that, and I get it. I’m guilty as charged as well. I mean that happens, but you have to take advantage of those opportunities to interact. When you do see the intergenerational connections, the dialogues, the reading to each other it’s great.
Dr. L. Belisle: You are a graduate of the Bangor Region Leadership Institute and you’re very much a part of the Bangor community. You’re married, three kids there in the school system in Hampden.
Dr. L. Belisle: You’ve seen a renaissance up there. There’s a lot of exciting things that are happening in Bangor. Talk to be me just a little bit about that.
Niles: It’s amazing really. It’s a pretty special time I think up in Bangor right now. It hasn’t happened overnight. I think the city back in the ’90s really made some intentional decisions that have proven to be very good decisions to reinvest in the waterfront, to put organizations like the University of Maine Museum of Art, the Discovery Museum, book ending the downtown area have worked very hard as economic developers to bring in new restaurants, businesses.
The University of Maine office has been downtown for quite a while. You’ve really started to see a culture grow that is about the creative economy. It’s about performance. The Penobscot Theater is right downtown. The library is right downtown. The American Folk Festival which we talked about right on the waterfront which then [spawned KahBang 00:30:41] for a number of years and now Waterfront Concerts which is growing like crazy and bringing wonderful acts right to the Bangor Waterfront every year.
It’s something that I think if you had asked people ten or twenty years ago would you see this in Bangor any time soon, people would probably laugh at you. To see the success and the buzz that is going there now, a study just came out that said, “Bangor is now the youngest metropolitan area in the state which is a shocker. I mean ten years ago if anybody would have said that you would have said, “They’re out of their minds,” but there really is. Anecdotally we see that at the museum all the time. Lots of young families coming through which is great to see.
The question is how do we sustain that. How do we continue to attract businesses who want to have that quality of life. They don’t have that traffic that we talked about earlier. I was just talking at a meeting the other day that said, “How many places can you go where you get to go see an act like Fish or Kenny Chesney or Sting and you’re home in ten minutes.” I mean it’s pretty sweet. It’s exciting. I mean there’s a real buzz about it in downtown and some great restaurants have opened up. Like [BRLI 00:32:03] program has a really strong following. I think the chamber has done an outstanding job in helping to build that buzz and getting people excited about it.
The other thing I’ll say is that among the nonprofit groups and the arts community in Bangor there really is a sense of collaboration, coordination, wanting to work together. A sense that a rising tide floats all boats I think is something that people genuinely believe. I think that it’s helped us be maybe more nimble than other places, do things together where in other places there might be some turf battles and try to really pitch in and help it go. It’s a lot of fun. It’s great.
Dr. L. Belisle: Niles how do people find out about the Maine Discovery Museum?
Niles: First I would say when you’re in Bangor walk right in and stop in and see us at 74 Maine Street. It’s the old Freese’s Department Store. It’s right in the heart of downtown Bangor. We’re on three floors and you can come on in. There’s a juice bar that just opened next door. You can get something to eat and have a great day at the museum. You can go online at www.mainediscoverymuseum.org. Our website is continuing to grow. We have a lot more available there, interactive components do-it-yourself at home suggestions, kids for schools on there. We do a lot of outreach program to schools and we’re going statewide with some of those. Nothing like a visit. I love to see people there.
Dr. L. Belisle: For those of you who are up in the Bangor area or maybe if you’re down here but you’d like to make a trip up to the Discovery Museum I really encourage you to do so. It sounds like there’s a lot of exciting things happening at the Maine Discovery Museum. Niles thanks so much for coming in and talking with us. It’s great to hear that one of the things that I remember most about my childhood, The Children’s Museum is now another couple of generations going and strong and educating kids, educating families.
We’ve been speaking with Niles Parker who is the executive director of The Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor. I appreciate you making the drive.
Niles: Thanks a lot Lisa. Great to be here with you.
Dr. L. Belisle: As a physician and small business owner, I rely on Marci Booth from Booth Maine to help me with my own business and to help me live my own life fully. Here are a few thoughts from Marci.
Marci: When was the last time you took a break from what you were doing, from the work that was piled up on your desk and just looked up. I know that during the course of my days I often forget to take a moment or two to just breathe, look up at the sky and dream. Terrible that I have to remind myself to breathe, but when I do I feel energized because in those moments I’m able to let go of the daily grind and think more about what I want to accomplish, how I want my business to grow, sometimes those are the aha moments.
If we all took a few moments out each day to stop what we were doing and dream a little about our business futures, not only would we feel a great sense of calm, but we may come to realize that these dreams can in fact come true. I’m Marci Booth. Let’s talk about the changes you need, boothmaine.com.
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Dr. L. Belisle: We on Love Maine Radio enjoy a special relationship with Apothecary by Design. We’ve enjoyed putting together a speaker series which has run in 2014 and running again in 2015. This year we’re kicking off our speaker series with an actual first Friday Art Walk Event which is going to be taking place at the offices of Maine Magazine.
This first Friday event features the in Frannie Peabody Center images of HIV and AIDS. Photos taken by Smith Galtney which captures the stories, struggles and victories that form the changing face of HIV and AIDS in Maine. This event will take place on Friday April 3, 2015 at the offices of Maine Magazine 75 Market Street, Suite 203, and light refreshments will be served. We hope you’ll join us.
Also in April, we’ll be featuring the Apothecary by Design speaker series with Dr. Matthew Siegel and Alice Chaplick both of whom you’ve heard on Love Maine Radio as guests discussing autism here in Maine. We invite you to join us on Tuesday April 7th from 5:00 to 7:00pm at the offices of Maine Magazine 75 Market Street. For more information on our Apothecary by Design speaker series and Dr. Matthew Siegel and Alice Chaplick please visit lovemaineradio.com or our Facebook page Love Maine Radio.
Here in the studio today with us we have two individuals that I have quite a lot of interest in talking to because they’re doing things that I love, personally love and also love to see my friends and patients and family members doing and that is getting people’s bodies moving. This is Kim and Tim DeMado who are owners of Athletes Training Solutions and Triple Jump Fitness which is a children’s fitness center in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood but also so much more. You actually are doing lots of different things on lots of different levels to help people stay fit. Thanks for coming in and talking to us today.
Kim: Thank you.
Tim: Thank you.
Dr. L. Belisle: You both have been pretty active in your own lives for a long time. I know that Kim you were trained as a gymnast when you were younger.
Dr. L. Belisle: Tim you went to Springfield and you have a degree?
Tim: A master’s degree in physical education.
Dr. L. Belisle: This is something that you both feel really passionate about. Tell me about that. Why this? What was it about being physical and helping other people to get to their best level of fitness that appealed to each of you?
Kim: I think being a gymnast and then I spun into the love of being fit and running and being involved with gymnastics was a good correlation of staying flexible and strong and fit and we evolved from kids on up into the adult field.
Tim: I had an extensive coaching background from when I was younger aside from playing background. Initially when I was going into graduate school, I was thinking of going the route of more sports management, athletic administration, be an athletic director at a school, but my true passion was always more in the anatomy and physiology should we say, the training piece, the nuts and bolts of what makes people excel and how they use their bodies and I decided that was the route I was going to go. I like to say combine my passion for physical performance with my ability to coach because at the end of the day if you’re going to be successful as a trainer I think you need to be a successful coach or a successful teacher, good at both of those.
I feel in some ways couple of my, maybe some of my biggest skills I can apply to the industry.
Dr. L. Belisle: Both of you chose to come to Maine. Kim you are from [Shelburne 00:40:06] Vermont and Tim you are from Connecticut. Why Maine?
Kim: From Burlington, I went on to school down in Massachusetts, but wanted to stay on the water side and found the love of Portland. It was a smaller Boston area and at that time I was actually managing Portland athletic clubs adult fitness programs and later on started some gymnastics there. Some of the kids programming as well as the daycare and that’s when our first business or my first business started as Tumble Kids which was in Falmouth for ten years and got a very nice offer to go to Bay Club so put all the equipment in storage but still was missing that piece and that’s pretty much where we said, “Let’s take the adult and kid piece and keep it here in Portland and bring it to the community.
Dr. L. Belisle: How about you Tim?
Tim: Well I had a long-term [affinity 00:41:09] and connection with Maine because my folks owned a house, summer house north of here, so pretty much my whole life I came up here in the summers. I lived in Boston for a number of years before I moved here, grew up in Connecticut and then moved to Boston. A lot of my initial experience in this industry from a managerial and a training side was in Boston, but I knew I always had a goal to want to get back to Maine and I felt if I was really going to be able to distinguish myself in this industry it wasn’t going to happen in Boston. It was going to have to be in a little bit smaller market, a little less saturated. I made that move in 2004 and here I am today.
Dr. L. Belisle: I love the model that you have that not only are you doing children’s fitness, but you really bring it up through the ages so it’s almost like you could bring your whole family down to Triple Jump and anybody could really get involved. Why did you decide to do that and not just specialize in, well Kim you could specialize in Tumble Kids originally or Tim you could specialize in adults. Why bring them all together?
Tim: Well like you said we have an overlying family based fitness theme and I think the health fitness industry there’s a lot of competition. There’s many places you can go for an option for on one on one training, small group training, boot camps, performance enhancement for your middle or high school son or daughter but what we chose to do and a niche we wanted to create was still having some of those needs and wants that we deliver those but also that we also had that specialty with what I like to say gross motor skill development for the young kids.
Really it’s seen through gymnastics but at the end of the day it’s really more about body awareness and like I said really trying to enhance youngsters gross motor skills, anything from anywhere from six and a half months old right up to twelve. Then from their you start with the performance training for your middle or high school son or daughter and then we also have the adult training whether it’s semi private one to two people or one on one or also we call more small group six to ten people. In order to really try to distinguish ourselves and create a unique selling point, we wanted to create this image of being able to satisfy a fitness need for all those, well really those three levels, hence the name triple jump fitness.
It’s really based on where you are in life. You’re jumping from one of those areas to the next, not to mention if mom is in one of our small group classes and her fourteen-year-old son is doing sports performance training for his basketball team and he’s fourteen and maybe his younger sister is seven years old and she’s in one our gymnastic classes. We have something, we have an offering for all of those different age groups.
Dr. L. Belisle: Kim your philosophy is, your fitness philosophy is anything is possible, mind over matter, say you can do it and you will, say you can’t and you probably won’t which I think is so great because it ties in the whole mind/body connection. I mean we talk about the physical, but we all know that there’s something about the mind that can keep us from doing things or can actually propel us forward.
Kim: Right talking from the children’s aspect I think the number one thing I hear so often is I can’t. What I try very hard to help children become confident and help with their self esteem and realize that you can. It may not happen right at this moment and there’s goals that we can set trying to keep the competitive piece out of it but really focus on where you are and sometimes when you go to a more competitive gym and I see children who can be turned off because I don’t have that particular [move 00:46:02]. I’m not as flexible as that girl or whatever. That’s a big huge piece when I’m working with the children, I’m sure Tim is when he’s working with the older kids as well but it’s just amazing.
The first thing they’ll do when they go across the Bounce [Beam 00:46:22], “I can’t do it,” “Well let’s see if we try,” and I have to set up little strategies with each individual. [As we know 00:46:25] kids are so different. It’s been a great opportunity for kids to explore their bodies, not just physically but also just from their mindset.
Dr. L. Belisle: I can attest to the work that you do because I used to bring my daughter over to your studio and it was in Falmouth and she was not a gymnast. She was not a dancer. She had other interests, lacrosse and soccer and things like that but she really enjoyed being at your place. She really enjoyed working with you in particular because she felt like there was an openness to it. You weren’t saying, “You have to do this or you have to do this.” You were saying, “Let’s see what we can do.”
Dr. L. Belisle: Do you see a relationship between people who pay attention to their physical fitness and also have some passion for life, some success in their lives, do you see that there’s some crossover there?
Tim: One of the biggest things I think whether it’s another area in your life, one of the biggest things is that you have to be consistent. You have to have some goals initially and then you have to be consistent in trying to reach those goals. I’d like to say physical fitness or training can be a microcosm of that. The programs we have whether it’s the young children or the teenagers or the adults, it’s systematized training. We usually have them in different phases of training, not only through the programming but then being consistent with the programming. That’s how they start to see gains and make gains.
I really feel that’s one of the keys to why people come back. Just to touch on a point that Kim was talking about, one of the most unique things about training for I think any age whether it’s the little guys or the kids and even especially the adults is taking somebody who may not feel they have the ability to do something and you’re able to prove to them that they can. There’s something really to be said for that because from the standpoint of self confidence and feeling better about yourself, I think there’s nothing better.
At the end of the day, I know it costs money but it can go a long way towards your overall self esteem and self confidence that you’ve been in a systematized program for a while and you’ve kept at it and you’re able to physically do something that maybe three months down the road you never thought possible. There’s something that very rewarding for people with that.
Dr. L. Belisle: You both have experience with this. I know Tim you have prepared full scholarship athletes for Maine for their collegiate playing careers. Kim you have a running club. You’re a two time iron man finisher yourself. You’re a triathlete. You’re both examples of showing up every day, doing the work, having the discipline, putting your mind to it and really being able to meet goals that you’ve set. What’s the difference between what you have to offer and some of the other local sports club have to offer, fitness clubs.
Tim: I really am very passionate and have done a lot of trial and error over the years with my program design. You can create a situation with training where it can become a regular part of your life just like brushing your teeth is. However, that doesn’t mean that you have someone come in or a group of people come in and you’re going to wing it or they’re going to be doing the same thing over and over again. You have to have some kind of method to your madness and have them in some kind of system that is progressive whether it has to do with altering volume and intensity with exercises, whether it has to do with exercise difficulty.
The human body is an amazing thing. The thing about the human body is at the end of the day, it wants to adapt because it’s thinking survival. It’s thinking about balance. You almost have to try to counteract that. You have to keep it out of balance so you’re able to continue to make gains. I’ve had actually a fair amount of clients who have been with me since I moved here over ten years ago. I’d like to say that a lot of that is we’ve created a situation where it’s become a necessity in their life but they really like the programming, they like the phases I move them in. They like the fact that there’s just a lot of things that are specific to what their needs are.
Speaker 1: There was a time when the apothecary was a place where you could get safe, reliable medicines carefully prepared by experienced professionals coupled with care and attention focused on you and your unique health concerns. Apothecary by Design is built around the forgotten notion that you don’t just need your prescriptions filled, you need attention, advice and individual care. Visit their website apothecarybydesign.com or drop by the store at 84 Marginal Way in Portland and experience pharmacy care the way it was meant to be.
Experienced chef and owner Harding Lee Smith’s newest hit restaurant Boone’s Fish House and Oyster Room, Maine’s seafood at its finest. Joining sister restaurants The Front Room, The Grill Room, and The Corner Room. This newly renovated two story restaurant at 86 Commercial Street on Custom House Wharf overlooks scenic Portland Harbor. Watch lobster men bring in the daily catch as you enjoy baked stuffed lobster, raw bar and wood fired flat breads. For more information, visit www.theroomsportland.com.
Dr. L. Belisle: Kim you were saying that you have a Facebook presence and you had an open house and two hundred and fifty people showed up as a result of a Facebook post. It sounds like you’re building a great community.
Kim: What was amazing when the structure was just starting I mean somebody is looking in the window and sees our Facebook page and calls me and says, “I want to have my son’s birthday party there.” I’m went, “I’m not even open.” She goes, “I know, but I looked in the window and I saw it on Facebook,” and I had no idea there was so many moms, new moms, new moms, new moms. It’s been amazing the different moms groups that have been renting the space or utilizing the space or meeting at this space. I think that myself knowing as a mom and I’ve been to a number of different places, it’s comfortable because it’s all in one level.
They can actually sit and relax where you’re not on three floors trying to find your child or you want to talk with a friend and just have a social time because sometimes we need that as adults because it’s been kid time. Facebook was amazing or still is amazing.
Dr. L. Belisle: Tim how do people find out about Triple Jump Fitness?
Tim: I think we’ve done a lot in terms of there’s been a lot of good word of mouth. We’ve had some good success with what we’ve done with Facebook. I think one thing we’ve seen a lot of positive experiences is the fact that we really we are trying to deliver a product to a couple of different markets there. You could have a mother or father who comes in with their son or daughter to have them even in one of the open gyms or one of the gymnastic space classes. Then they find out. They might not have even known before they see what we’re doing there and from the training end maybe that would be a good fit for them or possibly even their older son or daughter who is an athlete, a young athlete.
Dr. L. Belisle: For people who are listening who would like to learn more?
Kim: We do have a website and that was part of the we had two websites and two Facebook pages and two accounts and two tax returns. It was when we started working with [Summit 9 00:56:04] and [trying creating 00:56:05] once that merged together December 31st is when we launched the new name and started the new year 2015 with the new name same building, same coaches, same philosophies but it’s a great way for I didn’t know. I’m going to tell my grandson or I’m going to tell my sister or I’m going to tell … and it’s been much easier to manage but also show people that there at one point it was just a Tumble [Tikes 00:56:35] website or a Facebook page, now it’s interacting together.
Dr. L. Belisle: What is your website?
Kim: It is triplejumpfitness.com.
Dr. L. Belisle: Well it’s really been a pleasure to speak with the two of you. You’re doing great work getting people out there and motivated and helping them reach goals, helping them feel better about themselves, mentally, emotionally, physically, helping them socialize, bringing good business to the Bayside area.
We’ve been speaking with Kim and Tim DeMado who are owners of Triple Jump Fitness. I really appreciate your coming in and I really appreciate all the things that you’re doing for the Portland, Maine area.
Kim: Thank you.
Tim: Thank you very much.
Male: Thank you.
Dr. L. Belisle: You have been listening to Love Maine Radio show umber one eighty-five, Whole Body Learning. Our guests have included Niles Parker and Kim and Tim Demado. For more information on our guests and extended interviews visit lovemaineradio.com. Love Maine Radio is downloadable for free on iTunes. For a preview of each week’s show, sign up for our e-newsletter and like our Love Maine Radio Facebook page, follow me on Twitter and see my running travel, food, and wellness photos as bountiful1 on Instagram. We’d love to hear from you, so please let us know what you think of Love Maine Radio. We welcome your suggestions for future shows.
Also let our sponsors know that you have heard about them hear. We are privileged that they enable us to bring Love Maine Radio to you each week. This is Dr. Lisa Belisle. I hope that you have enjoyed our Whole Body Learning show. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your day. May you have a bountiful life.
Speaker 1: Love Maine Radio is made possible with the support of the following generous sponsors: Maine Magazine, Marci Booth of Booth Maine, Apothecary by Design, Mike LePage and Beth Franklin of RE/MAX heritage, Tom Shepherd of Shepherd Financial, Harding Lee Smith of The Rooms and Bangor Savings Bank.
Love Maine Radio with Dr. Lisa Belisle is recorded in the studio of Maine Magazine at 75 Market Street, Portland, Maine. Our executive producers are Susan Grisanti, Kevin Thomas and Dr. Lisa Belisle. Audio production and original music by John C. McCain. Content producer is Kelly Clinton. Our online producer is Ezra Wolfinger. Love Maine Radio is available for download free on iTunes. See the Love Maine Radio Facebook page or go to www.lovemaineradio.com for details.