Idea to Use Locals for Beefcake Calendar Fund-Raiser Really Takes Off
It’s not every day Cornelia Emlen asks more than a dozen men to take off their clothes.
But a worthy cause sometimes calls for a little discomfort.
As a small group of bystanders and bemused fishermen looked on, the men of Calais bared it all--or almost all of it--and waded into the chilly waters of Curtis Pond. All for a calendar that will be sold to raise money for the local community center.
They didn’t really mind.
“Control yourself, girls,” said J. C. Myers, who posed for the November page with his brother, Matt Myers, putting the total number of calendar men at 13.
Calendar organizers at first called their project the Full Vermonty in honor of the British film about an unlikely troupe of male strippers. But Twentieth Century-Fox owns the rights to the name. And even though Fox said the community center could use it, there were restrictions. For simplicity’s sake, the organizers settled on the Men of Maple Corner.
The calendar is an unapologetic takeoff of a popular calendar published in 1999 featuring middle-aged Englishwomen from the Rylstone Alternative Women’s Institute. That calendar, called the Ladies of Rylstone, made international news.
Nobody expects that kind of success from the Men of Maple Corner, named after the small crossroads in Calais where many of the participants live.
But Emlen, a resident who is leading fund-raising efforts for the community center, has high hopes that the project will at least raise enough money to install a new bathroom, fire escape and septic system at the century-old building.
And the calendar makes a nice change from the bake sales and other annual events that the community center board has used in the past to raise funds.
“We enjoy having fun,” she said. “And we wanted to do something that wasn’t our standard letter to the community asking for money or ‘Can you make five dozen cookies to sell?’ ”
The idea was popular from the start. There were many more volunteers than there were calendar pages. Emlen’s husband didn’t want to sign up, but a lot of men did at the urging of their wives, Emlen said.
Each page features a man of Calais seemingly in the buff, posing with a strategically placed sap bucket, chain saw or tool belt to keep the picture G-rated.
As for whether they’re really naked, it depends on which page you’re looking at, said photographer Craig Line, who also photographed the April page. It features Don Heise, owner of the Reel Vermont boat rental and fishing guide service on Curtis Pond.
“I’d say three-fourths have done it naked . . . and the other one-fourth was three-fourths naked,” Line said.
Emlen has learned a lot about her town through her work with the calendar. For instance, her neighbors are older than she thought. The men in the calendar range from their mid-30s to late 70s.
None of the men knows what the impact of the black-and-white calendar will be. It could sell dozens of copies; it could sell millions.
It could turn the men of Maple Corner into cult figures the world over.
If that happens, said David Schutz, who poses on the July page, “then, and only then, will we leave Maple Corner.”