Fall is my favorite season! Although shorter days, the air is crisp and scented with pumpkin spice, kiddos return to routines and Sundays are for family and football!
I hope your summer allowed time to experience new programs offered by our revitalized Parks and Recreation Department (P&R) under Director Pete Leclerc, new Recreation and Sports Programmer Jen Filer, Special Programs Coordinator Donna Carney-Bastrzycki and Assistant Pam Cocca.
P&R’s fun-filled camps highlighted new learning-based activities: nature education, swimming, hiking and cooperative games. Guest presenters, the Monarch Butterfly Ranch, Police and Fire Departments and two-time Himalayan Mountain trekker Scott Emmons, engaged and inspired campers.
Amped up excursions, tubing down the Farmington River and zip lining at Brownstone Adventure Park, yielded rave reviews from Tween Adventure Campers and parents alike. Youth Services Coordinator Nikki Lengyel led team-building activities and hosted youth center field trips. Campers admired the center’s amenities and promised visits during the year. Nikki will surely remind them in the halls as school administration welcomed her this Fall with open-arms and office space in both SMS and SHS.
A fantastic collaboration between SHS student Charles Brydges and P&R brought the Suffield Summer 5k Race Series blazing through Bazin N. Bruce Memorial Park for four weeks. An average of more than 75 runners of all ages from around the region enjoyed the low-cost and well-run events. The effort resulted in over $500 donated to Suffield Community Aid.
P&R hosted Suffield Day at Yard Goats Stadium. Hundreds of residents sporting blue Suffield T-shirts attended. Pre-game festivities recognized four resident volunteers for their commitment to Suffield with P&R’s first annual awards. Suffield Police, Fire and Ambulance comprised the on-field Honor Guard, and SHS student Eva Nick beautifully sang God Bless America.
Campers praised P&R’s second field hockey camp featuring expert coaches and 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist Samantha Livingstone, who motivated attending young women to be brave, resilient and mindful leaders.
P&R held its first “boat-in” movie, showing Jaws at Babb’s Beach. A remote-controlled shark fin in the water added to the ambiance! Over 100 people on shore and 12 boats loved the event! I personally attended newly offered Babb’s Beach yoga, a serene contrast to Jaws!
Also at Babb’s, Public Works installed stairs providing safe passage between the upper level and beachfront and a flag pole honoring Nelson Babb. Shortly, a water line will be brought to the turn-of-the-century building finally utilizing a $75,000 state grant awarded to Suffield in 2000! Stay tuned for continuing improvements to this beloved historical treasure.
Construction of the nature-themed playscape at Sunrise Park, adding to the amenities provided by the Town, is underway at a cost of $121,000, $21,000 greater than the Town’s approved budget. I am grateful to report that the Rotary Club of Suffield generously donated $20,000 and the District Rotary $1,800 to make up the shortfall.
P&R Director Pete Leclerc describes more exciting changes to P&R’s Fall offerings in his article. I anxiously await his expert vision for Suffield’s future P&R offerings and facility needs.