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he Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts held a Brain Injury Awareness Night with the Pittsfield Suns on Sunday, July 16.

Berkshires Beat: Brain Injury Group Raises Awareness at Pittsfield Suns Game

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Brain game: The Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts held a Brain Injury Awareness Night with the Pittsfield Suns on Sunday, July 16.

There was a table for the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts, and to share brain injury knowledge and help raise awareness, the Pittsfield Suns hosted a trivia game.

Rebecca Gleason, a brain injury survivor from North Adams and Northern Berkshire Brain Injury Support Group Facilitator for the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts, prepared for months before singing the National Anthem at the Pittsfield Suns game.

Scott Steves, also a brain injury survivor from North Adams, threw out the first pitch.

How wonderful: Two New York-based former summer campers have started their own summer camp for grownups. Camp Wonderful is a three-day, two-night sleepaway summer camp for grownups from Aug. 25-27 at Camp Timber Trails in Tolland.

Camp Wonderful founder and summer camp expert Jonah Spear is a lifelong summer camp devotee, has co-directed youth camps at Rowe Camp and Conference Center in Western Massachusetts, launched and co-hosted family camps at Rancho La Puerta and The Esalen Institute, is a former counselor of Camp Grounded, working 14-sessions there, and has been a summer camper since he was 9 years old.

Spear founded Camp Wonderful with lifelong camp friend Randy Kohn, an entrepreneur and trapeze artist who had his first sleepaway camp experience at French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts - the camp on which Wet Hot American Summer is based. Camp is where Kohn was first introduced to the flying trapeze. He spent the next nine years as a camper and staff member. Kohn toured with the Shriner circus performing the triple somersault on the flying trapeze and now works in sales and strategy at tech start ups.

Camp Wonderful will offer a range of playshops, from inwardly focused, calming experiences centered on yoga, mindfulness, and gratitude practices to wild, exuberant celebrations of life on the flying trapeze, the 15-acre private lake, and of course, camp staples like, s'mores, singalongs, capture the flag, and Camp Wonderful's own WonderGames!

Camp Wonderful is technology free, and campers forgo their phones, computers, and watches, and any work-related talk. The camp is also substance free. Camp invites folks from all backgrounds with with all identities to join - whether they went to camp as a kid or not. Learn more online.

Branching out: The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires has partnered with Elder Services of Berkshire County and Massachusetts College of Liberal Art to offer office hours in Central and Northern Berkshire County, beginning in August.

On the second Friday of every month, the NPC will be on location at Elder Services at 877 South St. in Pittsfield, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. NPC founder Liana Toscanini will offer consultations free of charge by appointment at 413-441-9542.  Toscanini is donating her time and Elder Services is donating space so that nonprofits in the Pittsfield area can gain access to NPC services more easily.

In North Adams, the NPC will take up residence the first Thursday of every month in MCLA's Design Lab at 49 Main St. next to MCLAGallery 51, through December. According to Zachary Feury, project coordinator of the Feigenbaum MCLA Leads Initiative, the Nonprofit Center’s use of MCLA's Design Lab as a satellite office is well-aligned with its purpose as a hub for community engagement. Hours in the MCLA Design Lab are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., by appointment at 413-441-9542.  Nonprofits can stop by to discuss their needs, learn about available information and services, and make valuable connections.



The Inside/Out stage at Jacob's Pillow is free outdoor dance.

The wheels on the bus: Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Becket recently launched the Pittsfield-Pillow Express, a Saturday bus service connecting Jacob's Pillow and three Pittsfield neighborhoods. This free bus service is open to all and is specifically aimed at helping families, community groups, and individuals without independent transportation access the Pillow's many free and low-cost events and programs. The service kicked off June 24 and runs through Saturday, Aug. 26.

The Pittsfield-Pillow Express route includes three pick-up and drop-off locations in the Morningside, Westside and Downtown neighborhoods. Those who take the bus can enjoy a matinee performance with discounted tickets available only to bus riders, a free PillowTalk, free tour, a free Inside/Out performance, and more. Outside food and beverages are welcome and picnicking is encouraged. Pittsfield pickups occur on Saturdays at noon and 3 p.m. and the bus departs from Jacob's Pillow at 4:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. To reserve a spot on the bus, call 413-207-4082. For more information, go online.

Playing around: The City of Pittsfield Department of Community Development Recreation Program is continuing the Summer Parks Playground Program at three city parks this summer through Friday, Aug. 18. The Summer Playground Program offers a wide variety of recreation activities to Pittsfield children ages 6 to 13 at no cost.  Playground leaders create safe, supervised and fun-filled environments with activities including sports, games, arts and crafts, and nature activities.

The program will be held 9 a.m. 4 p.m. Monday through Friday through Friday, Aug. 18. Playground leaders will be stationed at Clapp Park, Deming Park and The Common. The program is designed to provide "drop-in" activities for children; please know that the program is not a substitute for day camp or childcare.

More than just a fun time, the program fosters self-esteem and friendships and provides participants with positive and caring role models. For more information, contact Becky Manship, the Recreation Activities Coordinator, at 413-499-9370.


Granting wishes: The Ventfort Hall Association has received three grants from the town of Lenox and the state of Massachusetts.

The Town of Lenox's Community Preservation Act Fund has awarded a matching grant in the amount of $30,000 to be used for the exterior stabilization of the building. Ventfort Hall has also been approved to receive a capital grant in the amount of $125,000 from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund program. This matching grant will be used for exterior restoration on the building and the elevator project which is currently underway.

In addition, Ventfort Hall has also been awarded a $40,000 emergency grant from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund to address repairs to the structural deficiencies in the gable and masonry areas on the roof. These grants, and the continued support of our many donors, will allow Ventfort Hall to restore and improve the mansion. The association has just celebrated its 20th anniversary.

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