March 2011 - Parks & Recreation - 22

Who, What, Where & how Around the Parks

S T R AT E G I E S

Doing More with Less in New Hampshire
By combining school, park, and recreation resources,
three small towns achieved big-time results.
by Carolee Miot and Lisa Ash

T

hough we often hear
about state-of-the-art recreational community facilities being built, many small
New England towns cannot
afford these facilities. Because the needs
of these smaller rural communities are
no different, what has evolved here is a
creative school/community center facility approach.
The populations of the New Hampshire towns of Plymouth, Campton, and
Rumney range between 2,000 and 8,000.
Their recreation departments are located in their elementary schools, where all
departments use the school facilities after the school day and on weekends, evenings, and summer vacations.
This model is beneficial in many
ways. In these smaller towns, the recreation department fulfills the need for
less competitive sports and more well
rounded programs such as theater and
the arts, which YMCA and Girls and Boys
Clubs traditionally administer in urban
communities.
The school setting provides recreation departments easier access to families, and from this vantage point, staff can
better evaluate the community needs
and reach out with quality programming. Families can enjoy one-stop shopping: They see their children's teachers
and then register for the latest recreation
program. By combining such resources
as custodial services, electrical, heating,
equipment, and even playground maintenance and upkeep, taxpayers can save
thousands of dollars yearly.
While these arrangements require
scheduling for the sharing of gyms,

20	 Parks & Recreation      M A R C H

(Above) The jointly used gym at Plymouth Elementary School and (below) Campton
Department of Parks & Recreation located in the Campton Elementary School

playing fields, art rooms, etc., they also
bring a cooperative element to programming and an appreciation for what goes
into each other's programs. School staff,

2 0 1 1       w w w . N R P A . O R G

recreation staff, and parent-teacher organizations begin combining resources and
ideas with a result of shared events, such
as family nights, that peak in creativity.



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