Parks and Recreation Department
To the Citizens, the Board of Selectmen, and the Town Manager:
This past year has been full of changes for the Recreation Department. Programs and events have been added and other programs modified, but the most notable change that occurred this year was in our Assistant Director Position.
After a little over two years as our Assistant Director, Jaycee Jenckes accepted a position at Mount Blue Middle School as one of their newest Health Educators. Ms. Jenckes served a total of seven years working for the Recreation Department, nine years including her time as a volunteer. She was a great asset to our Department and her work in helping to develop and improve our programs during her time here was extremely valuable. We will miss her wonderful, fun-loving personality, but are happy to see her stay in our community and know she will do great things wherever she goes.
Taking Ms. Jenckes place as our new Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation is Paris Duhamel. Ms. Duhamel has worked for the Town of Skowhegan Parks and Recreation Department for the past year and a half under the guidance of Director Denise LeBlanc, who is also the former President of the Maine Recreation and Parks Association. Ms. Duhamel has come to our Department with passion for our industry and a good foundation in parks and recreation knowledge. She has a wonderful personality and is sure to be loved by our local residents.
Throughout the year, the Department, as well as other members from our community, have been meeting with The Atlantic Salmon Federation, David Maynes Studios (Landscape Architect), and Acadia Civil Works to go over design and planning of the Walton’s Mill Park. These updates are being paid for by the Atlantic Salmon Federation in conjunction with the removal of the dam. The plans include a larger parking lot, a 20’ x 30’ pavilion, a new restroom facility, pathway lighting, new observation deck, small amphitheater, better stream access, and new plantings as well as other new features. The project is expected to begin groundbreaking in the Spring 2021 and is sure to be an impressive remodel of the park that we are looking forward to. Another great addition to our community!
The Recreation Department was also able to introduce a few new programs this year like a new Easter Event, Kids Only 5K Running Camp, February Break Camp, Bug Camp, and Flag Football. Our Easter Event was held at the Community Center and drew around 100 children and parents. There were games, family photo booths, treats, and lights and decorations everywhere. Our Kids Only 5K Running Camp was a weekly running program for children that lasted the summer. At the end of the program the Department hosted a “Kids Only 5K” for anyone 12 years old and under and held it at the Water Department fields behind Narrow Gauge Cinema. Children who registered were then able to go see a movie and received a free popcorn and drink following the 5K as part of the event.
Our February Break Camp brought 35 children who spent the week off from school busy with activities and games here at the Community Center, along with swimming each day at the Fitness Center. Bug Camp was a big hit with the children. Hailey Mealey is fascinated with bugs and was the perfect person to introduce our local youth to the interesting world of insects! Hailey had access to many exotic bugs with her connections with the State and had several interesting art projects for the children to have fun with as well. We were also able to run a Flag Football Camp this past summer introducing children to football in a fun and safe way!
Lastly, I would like to say how proud I am to work for a town that was able to rally together to accomplish what felt like the impossible when our coworkers and citizens were shaken by the tremendous blow that was dealt us on September 16, 2019. Many people in our area were affected by the disaster, and several of our citizens and coworkers will be dealing with the aftermath of this event for some time to come. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all.
If anyone would like more information about the Parks and Recreation Department, feel free to stop by or check out our Facebook page www.facebook.com/farmingtonrec.
Matthew L. Foster, CPRP
Director of Parks and Recreation