Friday, March 14, 2008
Meet Carlisle’s new Recreation Director Holly Hamilton
This week Carlisle residents will receive in the mail a lime green brochure describing over 100 spring and summer classes and programs offered through Carlisle Recreation. The driving force behind these offerings is newly hired Recreation Director Holly Hamilton. Hamilton, who began work in November, came to Carlisle from the Chelmsford Recreation Department where she had served as recreation director for 14 years. A life-long resident of Chelmsford, where she currently resides with her two young children, Kevin and Mary, Hamilton enjoys bringing her experience into a new environment.
According to Hamilton, the recreation department exists to “foster the needs of the community by offering programs from infants to seniors.” Hamilton’s background is well-suited for this type of work. She earned a degree in elementary education and social rehabilitation in 1993 and has spent her entire professional career in recreation. “I organized a summer camp for about 25 kids while I was still in high school and I continued it straight through college. After I earned my degree, I had planned on teaching deaf children. During the summer after graduation, Chelmsford hired me as a part-time recreation director. I took the job thinking that it would be fun while I looked for a teaching position.” Instead, Chelmsford hired her as the full-time recreation director that fall, a position that she held until she came to Carlisle.
Hamilton acknowledged the work of previous Recreation Department Co-directors Cindy Nock and Jan Deyoe, noting that the department had offered a number of excellent and well-attended classes and programs including yoga, tennis and the summer camp. She would like to expand the program offerings for all age groups. “I hope to provide more variety. I have gotten feedback that people prefer classes here in town, and I also heard that there was a need for more pre-kindergarten programs. I have a whole pre-K section in the new brochure.”
When asked how she determines which courses should be offered, Hamilton responded, “I have gotten information from residents who have come in or called and asked for specific programs.” Since this is her first program cycle in Carlisle, Hamilton has added many programs that she had used in Chelmsford. She added, “We will be doing course evaluations and asking for feedback. I am already thinking about courses for this fall.”
Hamilton’s day-to-day work focuses largely on “finding appropriate programs, scheduling instructors, scheduling space and hopefully taking lots of registrations.” Together with Assistant Recreation Director Marcy Guttadauro, Hamilton has just finished compiling the list of spring and summer offerings. “We have added some new programs. I am particularly excited about ‘Home Alone’ which teaches after school safety and awareness. We are offering April vacation trips, kayaking, golf, cheerleading and track and field for youth. We are also offering ‘Star Party’ – an astronomy program that will be held at the state park. Kelly Beatty, the editor of Sky and Telescope magazine, will be involved.”
Hamilton sees space as the main challenge for the Recreation Department. Field space is at a premium. Field use is managed by Carlisle resident Terri Hoffman, who has worked in this capacity for several years. Indoor space can also be an issue. Many classes are offered at the Town Hall, but committee meetings have priority. Some classes are offered at the Carlisle School, but once again, school functions have priority. Hamilton noted, “Karen Tang of the Carlisle Kids House has been very helpful in providing space this year. I am very interested in the Highland Building. I know that it needs work. It kills me that it is empty. I have requested to be on the Highland Building Committee. I would love to see it used as a community center.”
Hamilton would like to get middle and high school students involved in the recreation program. Two student recreation boards will be formed. “I want to find out what the kids would like to do. Do they want a ‘Battle of the Bands?’ Coffee houses on Fridays? An after-school drop-in center? We will start meeting in the fall. The student board members are going to do the work. I will guide them through it, but they will do it. It will give them a chance to learn about town government and about how to organize and run programs for their own age group.” Hamilton suggests that any interested student contact her at the recreation office.
Hamilton acknowledged Guttadauro’s support. “Marcy is a pleasure to work with. She understands Carlisle and is a great help.” Guttadauro has been hired as a part-time “seasonal worker” focusing on special projects and high-volume office days and hours.
Hamilton enjoys her new working environment. “Everyone in the Town Hall has been wonderful. They’re all so welcoming. This is a great place to work.” ∆
© 2008 The