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Bartlett Recreation hosts home runs, touchdowns, craft fairs, Zumba dancing & more

This isn't your parents' town rec department

March 25, 2010
Libby explains that before the "rec department" came to be in 2000, a group of community members started Bartlett Athletic Recreation Association (BARA) in 1978, a non-profit organization dedicated solely to youth sports. What emerged from that organization in 2000 became Bartlett Recreation Department, also organized as a non-profit.

"I would love for everyone to know that our funding comes from the Town of Bartlett for the director's salary and benefits and monies for a part-time assistant," says Libby. She explains that the school [Josiah Bartlett Elementary] gives the Rec Dept. stipends, which go directly to coaches — some who give their stipends right back to the program — and to support youth sports in grades one through six. The rest of the budget is met through fund-raising and donations.

Libby, with her part-time administrator, Tammy Bronejko, a myriad of dedicated volunteers and a 13-member board of directors, put together an impressive program to raise funds for the school children the department serves.

Here's what they do.

"Eighty percent of our overall budget is done through fundraising. Our biggest fundraisers are the golf tournament in May and we also send out a major donation letter in the fall to raise funds," Libby says. She explains that donations were down a bit this year, about 25 percent. She is looking forward to the golf tournament.

"Golfers last year were surprised at the good prizes — anyone who donates over $50 receives a gift as a thank-you. I think it is important to thank people," says Libby. During this time, the Joe Rivers family writes a check for a scholarship for the department's summer program. The 4th annual golf tournament will be held May 28 at the Indian Mound Golf Club in Ossipee.

When Spring season blossoms in Bartlett, there is the yearly trip to the Boston Flower Show, the Easter Egg Hunt, the Mother-Daughter Social Tea and Touch the Truck.

Libby says they were the first town to host Touch the Truck and now other towns are following. At Touch the Truck, local emergency departments and area businesses bring their trucks to town for children to look at, investigate and explore. "This is a great opportunity for local businesses! Last year we even had a glider," says Libby.

Summertime brings the Fourth of July Parade and festivities, Concerts in the Park, Bartlett Yard Sale and of course, the summer programs.

"The Fourth of July festivities fall under the rec department. We are always looking for more floats and we give cash prizes," says Libby. Concerts in the Park are held every Wednesday beginning Aug. 4. The yard sale is new this year. Interested parties will be able to rent a space and sell their wares.

The summer program is the only venue that is self-sufficient. The program runs for six weeks, five days a week, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is open to students from Bartlett, Jackson, and Hart's Location who will be either entering first grade in September up to those who have exited sixth grade. Libby says the program includes field trips, tennis, arts and crafts, beach days and organized games. Though tennis and swim lessons can be a little extra, the program is very reasonable at $50 per week.

Moving on to fall, programs include Flashlight Egg Hunt and the Annual Craft Fair in November. The craft fair is the third biggest fundraiser and Libby says last year there were more than 40 crafters filling the gym cafeteria and spilling out into the halls.

Though readers may not be thinking about winter quite yet, next winter will bring Breakfast with Santa, the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, Skate Night in January, the Father-Daughter Dance and don't forget Nordic skiing, which is sponsored by Bear Notch Ski Touring. Bear Notch rents Nordic equipment to students at no charge and allows the children to use the trails for free on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The adults in the community have not been forgotten. The rec department offers Zumba classes at 5:15 p.m. on Monday evenings. Libby says that they have tried many different adult programs, including scrapbooking, ballroom dancing, adult basketball. Some programs have worked; others have not. She is eager to hear from the public what their interest may be and she will run with it.

"We do a lot of community stuff; there's a lot that happens in the department," she says.

All this stuff goes into helping the kids in the towns served. "The kids want for nothing. If kids want to play a sport, regardless of any financial hardship, we make it happen," says Libby.

For more information, call Annette Libby at 374-1952, e-mail: bartlettrec@gmail.com or visit www.bartlettnh.org.

Littleton Chmber
Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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