During the FY22 Vassalboro budget process a new part-time position, “Community Program Director”, was funded as of July 1, 2022, to not only oversee the youth sports aspect of the recreation department but to also bring new recreational programs to the Community.
A “little” history:
Previously, the Vassalboro Recreation Department was run by volunteers on the Vassalboro Recreation Committee. Members were appointed to the committee by the select board. By-laws were set in place for the committee. A chairman was designated and paid a small stipend to oversee the youth sports. Each youth sport currently has a volunteer “Commissioner” that have the responsibility of setting up all the logistics that are needed to instruct the children, purchase supplies, obtain and train coaches and any volunteers needed to help run the program.
Unfortunately, there has been a lot of turnovers on the committee causing the towns folks concern of what appeared to be disorganization of the recreation department. New folks joining the board found themselves starting from scratch and having to figure out things as they went.
The current members of the recreation committee are Melissa Olsen, soccer commissioner, Ryan Reed, basketball commissioner, John Fortin, coach, and Karen Howard, sponsor commissioner. Vacant are snack shack commissioner, and baseball and softball commissioner.
Karen Hatch has a bachelor of science degree in health, physical education and recreation from the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Throughout her career she has held a variety of positions that have kept her in the recreation realm. When she was hired by the city of Augusta it was first as the assistant recreation director along with overseeing the School Age Childcare Program. The Childcare Program grew such that it needed a director of its own, so she chose that position over recreation. She was still able to work on committees with the recreation department planning special events such as the annual Christmas Tree Lighting.
She retired in 2019, after working 27 years for the city of Augusta as the School-Aged Childcare Director. When she retired, she had accomplished obtaining State Childcare Licensing for five childcare sites, with each one being Nationally Accredited School-Age Childcare Programs. She didn’t accomplish the task on her own. She had a terrific staff that worked alongside her.
She was happily retired until she saw the advertisement in The Town Line newspaper for a part-time, 20 hour a week, work from home, Community Program Director for the town of Vassalboro.
She applied for the position in July and was hired. She began work on August 1, 2022.
Her first day she spent going over the “who-was-who” list in Vassalboro with her boss, the Town Manager, Mary Sabins, and getting a tour of the town. They talked about the job description and that the focus of the position is to provide non-athletic recreational activities for the residents of Vassalboro of all ages.
She was then a bit surprised when she was told they had a 10 a.m. meeting with folks on the recreation fields to see about getting work done on them. It didn’t take her long to realize the job was the community program director, a/k/a recreation director.
She soon found herself busy with meeting folks and learning what events took place by which group and when. Her first big event was Vassalboro Days where she set up a booth to be able to introduce herself as the new community program director. As she began planning a trip to the Fryeburg Fair in October for the seniors, the youth soccer season was underway. Thankfully, Melissa Olsen, the soccer commissioner was experienced in running the program so Karen could observe how things ran and assist where needed. Due to there not being a person in charge of the snack shack for the fall season and some folks that signed up to work in there not being able to work, Karen spend Saturdays volunteering time working with folks that were able to be there.
On October 19, 2022, she began offering cribbage to seniors (and anyone really that wanted to play) at the town office from 1 – 3 p.m. To date there has been a nice turnout. What a joy it is to see folks having a good time playing cribbage and enjoying each other’s company.
Basketball is now upon us. Commissioner Ryan Reed is doing a great job rounding up coaches and volunteers. Basketball requires a lot more volunteers than most sports because you not only need coaches and assistants, but you need volunteers to run the clock, keep score and officiate the games. There is a lot of coordinating with the Vassalboro Community School Administration to use the school for games and practices.
The Vassalboro Recreation Department pays for custodians to be in the school building for the Saturday basketball games.
Currently there is not a baseball or softball commissioner, and Karen is searching for someone to fill these positions. If anyone is interested, please contact her at email@example.com.
Hatch says the Vassalboro Recreation Department unpaid volunteers are the glue that holds the department together. Volunteers enable sports programs to be offered, officiate sport games, help with special events, help with fundraising, work in the snack shack, are on the rec committee and maintain the sports fields.
Volunteering benefits the communities in which folks live and serve. Come be part of the community, meet new people, gain confidence in trying something new, learn new skills, share skills you have, take on a challenge, make a difference, have FUN!
All volunteers are required to have a background check done by the town. If anyone is interested in volunteering, contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DID YOU KNOW…
The Maine Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry Department-Parks & Lands, offer a X-Country Ski & Snowshoe Trailer at Maine State Parks, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., on certain dates? Jan. 28 & 29 – Camden Hills State Park, Camden, Maine (207) 368-0849.
You may contact Karen with any thoughts, suggestions or concerns by email at email@example.com.
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