Saxtons River Rec Area preps for summer

SAXTONS RIVER — Community members gathered at the Saxtons River Recreation Area recently to clean up and get everything in order for the upcoming season.

Volunteers raked the grounds, repaired picnic tables, and sorted through many years' accumulation of sports gear, crafts supplies and unidentified lying objects in the storage shed.

Willis “Chip” Stearns III, Rockingham's newly named interim town manager, took charge of moving brush into the compost pile.

Kids even got into the act, pulling grass out of their playground area before helping to spread a small mountain of new sand on it.

Webelos Scouts, a Girl Scout Junior and a Boy Scout also performed good deeds.

Adam Sullivan of WCAX-TV was on hand to interview Kendra Atkin, a member of Troop 40107; and Austin Mallan of the Webelos was also caught on camera saying why he volunteers - and why he loves visiting the Rec.

“Because it is really fun, and the water is just right,” he offered with a big grin.

Adults have also been spurred by their memories of good times at the Rec - either as kids or as parents - to get involved in the newly revived committee: New Rec committee chair Chris Moore, who played and swam there as a kid and whose father helped construct the shed and built the entrance pillars, now says he looks forward to bringing his own children to enjoy the facility.

“It's great to have such community support,” he said. “We're looking forward to having many more folks use the area this summer now that it looks better.”

Moore and Samantha Perry Fletcher and the members of the Rec committee have spearheaded a drive to raise awareness about the needs of the area, which has seen rough times in recent years, with vandalism and a lack of volunteer participation discouraging those few who had given it so much of their time and energy.

With new leadership, the committee is making improvements, including repairing picnic tables and dredging the pond. Plans call for upgrading the ball field, replacing the swings and slides, and topping the pavilion with a new roof.

“Our community is what makes us strong,” said Fletcher as she supervised the work. “The support that individuals and businesses in our community provide us keeps us going. Without those volunteers or donations, we could not continue to do what we do.”

Some of those local businesses are LaValley Building Supply, which donated three picnic tables to replace those damaged by vandals; Thad Guild of TMG Enterprises, LLC, who donated the hauling of a load of sand and the pond dredging; and Ned Mortensen of “Hammer for Hire,” who spent hours fixing the picnic tables, and has committed to replacing the ball field bleachers.

This winter, the Rec held a health challenge to get people up and moving, and raised funds through a chili cook-off and a community yard sale. It also offers the use of its pavilion for birthday parties and other family events for $25.

The Rec continues providing fun and recreation even before the pond is warm enough for swimming, as it holds its traditional youth fishing derby at the trout pond up the road, Saturday, May 4, with a 50/50 raffle and bake sale thrown in for good measure.

Fletcher encourages community members to become friends of the Rec by signing up for its e-newsletter and its volunteer list by contacting her at [email protected] or 802-869-1407 or by “liking” the Rec on Facebook.

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