BAR HARBOR — Flush with success on the youth participation and fundraising front, the Acadian Youth Sports (AYS) league held an “Autumn Extravaganza” banquet and dance at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel here on Nov. 7.
More than 150 people and former high school athletes from all over Mount Desert Island attended. Starting from humble beginnings as a feeder program for high school basketball, the organization has grown to include football as well as baseball and softball teams involved in Little League.
The baseball program alone involves more than 150 kids. The group has been responsible for improvements to playing fields and operation of concession stands.
Executive Director Kyle McKim told those in attendance that the goal for 2016 is to add a youth golf program to the mix. “With the support of this community, there’s really no telling where we’ll head next,” he said.
At the banquet, the group gave out eight awards, primarily to adults who have been instrumental in supporting the program.
The Baseball/Softball Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award was given to Leslyn Shea of Bar Harbor. Millard Dority of Bar Harbor won the Football MVP Award.
MDI High School boys varsity basketball team Coach Justin Norwood won the Basketball MVP Award. The late Bill McFarland of Bar Harbor was named the inaugural recipient of the AYS Legacy Award. It was accepted by his wife, Karen McFarland.
David Gray of Southwest Harbor was named the winner of the Coach’s Award. Nia Maguire won the Female Alumni Award. Sean Parady of Bar Harbor won the Male Alumni Award.
The evening’s highest honor went to Tony McKim of Trenton. He was named the AYS MVP for the year. McKim, who is president of the group, has worked tireless over the years to strengthen the organization. “He has been instrumental across all sports,” said presenter Andy Shea.
During 2015, AYS hired an executive director and raised more than $40,000 in donations.
In his remarks, McKim credited several other AYS volunteer for making the evening a success. They included Brenda Fernald, Katie Lawson, Ingrid Kachmar and Margie Phelps.
The major underwriters of AYS for this year include Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, The First, Cross Insurance, Geddy’s Restaurant, The Harborside Motel and Marina and the McKim Family.