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The Groton Country Club hired me in 1999 as the recreation programs coordinator. When the Recreation Department was funded in April 2000, I was thrilled to be hired by the Board of Selectmen as recreation director that July.

My vision for the Groton Recreation Department was that Squannacook Hall would serve as our community center and programs would bring residents from across our town together to exercise, learn and enjoy each other’s company.

As a resident with two young children, I had lived the life of a working parent and commuter and knew what it was to live in Groton, but not to have that “community feeling.” Those memories guided me in creating a department whose goals were to be flexible and responsive to the needs of residents and to work to provide the best quality and variety of recreation services into the future.

The Recreation Department offered meaningful jobs and resume worthy work experience for an average of 30 local high school and college students each year. How proud I am that Groton’s young people could gain the work skills they need to help them in their academic and professional careers.

The Recreation Department provided a safe and inviting play-room space and a welcoming, experienced play-group host for parents and young children.

The Recreation Department and its Web site successfully provided a central clearinghouse for residents to inquire, express and locate information about recreation services in Groton.

Groton residents were able to stay within the boundaries of their own town to take advantage of educational and leisure activities including flag football, Music Ensemble, Chess Club, half-day trips and many others.

I am saddened that there may not be enough support to keep the Recreation Department open at this time. I look back with pride and gratitude on the opportunity I had to work with and serve over the past seven years.

I would like to thank many generous and helpful individuals: members of the Recreation Commission; parents and seniors who volunteered to organize and supervise and coach; staff of the schools and other town departments who supported facilities and amenities; and the talented and devoted instructors and numerous high school and college students who developed and supervised programs.

LIZA JUDGE

Recreation director

GROTON