Parks and Rec News

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I look forward to writing articles for The Observer and sharing with you some Parks & Recreation highlights and happenings from time to time. This month I would like to change it up a bit and write more of an appreciation article for office staff that help make Parks & Recreation an amazing place to work and an asset to Suffield.

Since I became Director of Parks & Recreation in the summer of 2018, we have seen many changes in all aspects of our lives. The Parks & Recreation Department is no exception to that fact! Helping navigate many changes, editions, and an extreme increase in program offerings and diversity, is the staff in our office. For many of you, your first point of contact may be Pam Cocca, our Registration Administrative Assistant. Pam’s work title does not adequately describe her vital importance to our office culture, and providing excellent customer service. Whether it is assisting someone with their questions, coordinating programs with our other staff members, or finding ways to offer alternative programs to fit your family’s schedule, Pam is invaluable. She always looks for ways to “get things done” truly loves working with people, and is a great ambassador for the department as well as Suf field. It also does not hurt that she stocks a candy dish as I pass her desk on the way to my office!

Donna Carney-Bastrzycki is our Director of Special Programs. What does someone with a title like that actually do during a workday? In short, everything and anything needed to do a great job. Donna has been shining light at the department for 20 years, and continues to be as passionate about her job as the first day she started. Imagine being responsible for programs that are so diverse that you are serving everyone from pre-school age children and their families, after-school programs, adult fitness, nature hikes, to our very popular Bowling Buddies programs, just to name a few. From summer camps, daytime programming, after-school activities, special events, and fitness classes, Donna does it all, and does it at the highest level. Donna is not only a great resource to me, and leader in our field; she is well beyond a team player that works extremely hard for our community.

Last, but definitely not least, is our new Sports and Recreation Programmer, Dan Leonard. Dan started officially working full-time for the department in August of 2021, and has been doing a fantastic job ever since. I first got to know Dan when he participated in our Collegiate Internship Program, while completing his undergraduate degree in recreation management at Springfield College. Dan’s genuine caring for people and passion for recreation shown through instantly, and even more so was his commitment to doing the best job possible every day. Many of you have met Dan through one of his responsibilities, running our youth sports programs. I have been particularly impressed with the ease in which he relates to the children, coaches, officials, and parents as well. Dan is also responsible for after-school activities, adult sport opportunities, summer camps and special events. If you have not met him yet, be sure to introduce yourself at a program. He is easy to pick out of a crowd at 6’7” tall.

Many people help run the Parks & Recreation Department and our programs. Thank you for reading this brief article highlighting our office staff and some of what they do for Suffield and its residents. These past three years have been more enjoyable with them, and I am definitely looking forward to the next three years!

Upcoming event with the Conservation Commission:

Conservation Commission’s Fishing Derby in Memory of Kerry O’Brien
When: Saturday, May 14 (rain date of May 15)
Time: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Where: Sunrise Park
Ages: Age groups and prizes up to 16 years old
Cost: No charge. Donations will be accepted at the derby
Pre-Registration is required at:

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