Norwich Recreation Department
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News: January/Town Report 2020

Date Published Author
3/2/2022 12:00:00 AM  Norwich Recreation 

This year, Norwich Recreation had a change in leadership.  After 27 years as the Recreation Director, Jill Kearney Niles retired.  Her guidance made the transition at the beginning of a busy spring sports season possible.  She was and is appreciated for her creativity and devotion to the residents of Norwich. This past September, the Huntley Meadows Pavilion was dedicated to her in a ceremony hosted by the Recreation Council. 
Norwich Recreation’s expansion of programming began in June, with the addition of a full-day option for our summer camps.  Campers over 3rd grade now have the option of taking Advance Transit over to Storrs Pond with our counselors, to enjoy the facilities before headed back to be picked up at Tracy Hall. Campers under 3rd grade have the option of joining our Good Life Camp for the second half of their day at the Marion Cross School.  An outdoor immersion camp was added for the 1st-3rd grades, with the Marion Cross and Mt. Lebanon outdoor Kindergarten teachers as instructors.  A partnership was established with the Upper Valley Trails Alliance to co-host a Trail Camp, familiarizing campers aged 12-16 with trail building considerations, stewardship and outreach.  We also formalized the counselor training program, to encourage more Hanover High School students to stay involved with Norwich Recreation throughout the calendar year. 
During the academic year, Norwich Recreation responded to the need for more options for children after school with two new offerings.  Creative Kids, is an open-studio program led by the Marion Cross Art teacher.  Weekday Wind Down serves working families whose children would not otherwise be able to attend our regular recreation programs, by bringing the kids to the field/forest/classroom/gym and back to Tracy Hall for pick up.  Both programs provide Hanover High School students with either after school employment or community service hours (required for graduation).  The students are required to attend either First Aid or Babysitting Certification classes, then mentored for two weeks before they begin assisting with our programs.  The students engage in games with children and chaperone the Wind Down kids to and from each site. Some of them have elected to become assistant coaches during their time with Norwich Recreation. 
Norwich Recreation, working with the Marion Cross Principals former (Bill Hammond) and current (Shawn Gonyaw) has begun exploring an Afterschool option for families.  This is a long range plan with partners that are still emerging.
The newly-named Jill Kearny Niles Pavilion and the Huntley tennis courts both required repairs this year.  Peter French, the original builder of the pavilion, graciously offered his organizational and roofing skills to gather a group of volunteers and lead them in replacing the cedar shake roof. 
The tennis courts suffered under the many freeze and thaw cycles Norwich experienced last winter.  The back court paint peeled up in sheets, and had to be removed.  Court #1 required crack sealant and resurfacing.  We were fortunate to be under warranty for some of this work, making the cost much less than anticipated.  We requested that the court be evaluated for the overall condition, and were advised the entire court will need to be completely resurfaced down to the concrete within the next 3 years at the most.  There was a positive note to having the tennis court surfacing company down at Huntley Meadows – this year, we put down two sets of Pickleball lines.  A group of Norwich residents with an interest in the sport, assisted in fundraising for the equipment, and organized an active group of Pickleball enthusiasts who played all summer, nearly every day.  They also hosted clinics and evening round robins.  In the fall, they raised enough money to pay for a set of Pickleball lines in Tracy Hall.  
Norwich Recreation upgraded our online registration system and website this year.  The new system will make all programs, site rentals, and calendars, accessible to the community online.