Laura Maroon was introduced to Makers Mill in 2020 when Carol Holyoake reached out to her seeking the participation of both Laura and her husband, Brent, in the development of the center. Laura and Carol knew each other through friends, and Carol was aware of the rich and extensive background experience Laura could bring to the project. Laura had served for twenty-four years as the technology director in the Moultonborough School System. During that period from 1994 to 2019, she had been able to both observe and experience the “tremendous leap” of technological changes. What was the greatest lesson she learned from the experience? “I learned there was a lot to learn,” Laura observes. This was a lesson that became a deep motivational force in her life.
Referring to her initial exposure to Makers Mill early in 2020, Laura reviewed the construction plans with Josh and Carol and made suggestions on what network infrastructure was needed. Through 2021, Laura met with Josh and Carol regularly via Zoom to work on setting up the Google Workspace that is offered to non-profits free of charge, similar to the educational google workspace that she administered. Google Workspace is a collection of cloud based software, productivity and collaboration tools. Because of Laura’s experience, she was able to assess the needs of Makers Mill with what was available as well as navigate the backend setup for Carol and Josh. After traveling throughout the United States for eight months in a small RV with her husband, Laura returned to Wolfeboro in November 2023 and subsequently became involved in the IT circle that had formed while she was away.
Laura and the IT circle have not offered classes at the Mill yet. They are presently working on setting up processes and video instructions for people to use the Google Workspace and Chanty, the chat app used by Makers Mill circles. “We have been meeting with people who want to learn and are sometimes experiencing frustration with the process. Our goal is to develop a system that works for everybody and addresses the different issues of different people,” Laura affirms. “Makers Mill is a place for people to be working with others and sharing. You can often find such places in cities, places where people can congregate for this purpose, but it can be more difficult in rural areas. That is why Makers Mill is such an inspiring resource. It seeks to provide that space in which members of the community can gather with others who have the same interests to share knowledge and understanding and to learn and grow together.”
Laura admits that one of the greatest gifts she has received from her participation in Makers Mill is the time spent with Josh and Carol. Laura finds Josh Arnold to be a source of profound inspiration. “Josh is always a light. He is always driven by a desire to learn. All you have to do is look at his face. He glows with a neon glow that expresses his desire to learn and grow and to share that growth experience with others.”
Laura experiences a deep connection with her geographic setting in the Lakes Region. She says she loves every season, but she especially appreciates the particular beauty of the beginning of springtime. “Everything lights up with green. There is a pervasive ‘greenness’ that lights and warms the earth,”
she says with a grateful smile.
In summer, Laura loves to hike and swim in the lake. In the fall, she finds the foliage display to be “fantastic.”
“I really appreciate the seasons and the change,” Laura emphasizes. She says she especially likes swimming late in summer when she can look at the rippling water and imagine that in a few months it will be frozen.
Laura loves anything outdoors and active. Hiking is #1, but she also loves swimming and kayaking. For Laura, kayaking up the Smith River to Lake Wentworth has almost become a ritual, and in summer, she sometimes wants to perform that “ritual” every day
In winter, of course, it is cross-country skiing that draws her outside. Ultimately, there is something she loves to do every season, and every season offers a special opportunity.
Laura grew up in Niagara Falls, New York, and is the middle child in a family of eleven children. She admits that family relationships do change over time, but she tries to maintain these relationships by talking to her siblings at least three times a month.
During the pandemic, she actually joined her family for a Zoom meeting every month. For Laura, this was one gift of the pandemic. “We came to realize that this coming together was now possible, and we decided to maintain the contact.”
When asked about the impact her contact with Makers Mill has had in her life, Laura expresses gratitude.
“I got to know Josh and Carol, one of the greatest gifts. Also, I can keep my hands active in the realm of technology, sharing crafts with a community of people in a beautiful space developed and maintained for this purpose. In a society in which convenience and busyness seem to be the dominant values, at Makers Mill we make time for learning, growing, creating and sharing the human experience.”