PEPPERELL — The Friends of Pepperell Recreation is a somewhat new organization in town. Its goal is to support the existing Recreation Department and town facilities as well as to enhance them through new events such as the middle school early release game day scheduled for Feb. 8, and through fund-raising events such as the Halloween Costume Sale and the Used Bike Sale and Bike Safety Day, scheduled for April 14.
The Friends group meets one evening each month at the Community Center. These meetings are open to anyone interested in finding out more, to anyone who would like to make a request for something they wish the town could offer, or to join the energetic group of residents who have formed this new organization. The Friends group is looking to unite people of all ages. One objective of this group is to convey to everyone that the Recreation Department reaches out to not only the toddlers, elementary, middle and high school ages but also to the adults in Pepperell.
In the past several months, FOP has met once each month. A board has been established with a regular group of attendees. Following the annual Costume Sale, a bank account was set up and a Web page is under construction: www.geocities.com/friends_of_pepperell.
“There is also a list that is growing ever longer of ‘wishes’ brought to us by residents,” according to Sue Boswell, FOP president. “People have come to meetings just to ask if we could consider one thing or another. Two of those items are on the top of our list. One, a handicap swing for town field. Barbara Stone, Pepperell resident and member of Friends of Pepperell Recreation, asked us if we could help her to get a swing on town field. It was unanimously voted to make this our first purchase. It is scheduled to be swinging by April 2007. The second request was that we try to plan something to engage the middle school population on early release days.”
It was said that many times on these early school release days, the children just wander about downtown Pepperell, Boswell noted. On Feb. 8, a trial Game Day has been scheduled.
Early Release Game Day will run from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with ping-pong, air hockey, Pictionary, Dance Revolution, cards and many other games set up and available for the students to enjoy. Tickets will be sold at NMS during lunches on Feb. 5 with 20 tickets held for each of grades six, seven and eight. Pizza will be available for purchase at $1 per slice.
“Our hope is that this will be a successful event and will be offered regularly in the future,” said Boswell.
Right now there are a few different age groups represented in the current membership. The Friends are looking for more members to provide a better cross-section of Pepperell’s population. This group has energy and drive and can make a big difference in town. FOP is not a huge commitment, Boswell said, though there are monthly meetings. The more members, the better.
People can also participate as a Friend of Pepperell Recreation by becoming a donating member. Membership forms can be picked up in the Community Center. (Forms can eventually be downloaded from the coming Web site.)
Another objective is to find a way to unite the many different groups in town to work together toward common goals. Several people have suggested “the beautification of town field” as a possible goal for FOP. Ideas are being collected as the group continues to grow. Ideas that bring several different groups together on a common goal, include the historical society planning a “period” garden; the garden club working on landscape ideas, Scout groups assisting with projects, or the skateboard park coordinating with their existing layout plans. A pair of local seniors thought it would be great to have a strolling path in town field; others hope for a paved walking track where people could walk, run or skate and children could ride their bikes while parents walked. This idea is fashioned after Dunstable’s Larter Field, where there is a 360 degree view of your children as they ride or scooter. Others have requested a playground on town field that can be accessed 365 days a year, while the biggest request has been for a town pool.
“We want to dream big,” said Boswell, “But in order to be successful, we need more people to participate, volunteer their time and become members of this great new group, the Friends of Pepperell Recreation.”