In the few months since Morgan Rocheleau has been the town’s parks and recreation director, offerings for young and old have expanded exponentially, from toddler gymnastics to senior lunch-and-learn sessions. His position was just increased from part-time to full-time at town meeting, so we’ll see even more opportunities for not just recreation, but for “womb to tomb” wellness.
Morgan explains, “Traditionally, the focus has been on youth sports and green space. I want every member of the community to be able to connect in some way, shape, or form with the department in bettering themselves and aspects of their wellbeing.”
Morgan is well qualified to make this vision a reality. He has undergraduate and graduate degrees in outdoor education and recreation management, and years of experience in outdoor education and higher education. He ran programs at the University of New Haven and St. Joseph’s College prior to coming to New Gloucester.
“I want to build a culture of involvement through offerings of quality and many ways to be involved.” First steps have been to educate himself about the community, and to build awareness of the department and its offerings. Morgan notes that Laura Sturgis told him she’d like to have senior programs, and he responded with several opportunities in collaboration with nearby towns. Building on successful programs, such as the Farmers’ Market and Becky Norton’s cheering program, and collaborating with other towns and organizations, such as the Royal River Conservation Trust, are key to being able to offer a rich array of quality opportunities for residents. There is now a Facebook page and a website for NG Parks & Recreation, which has up-to-date information on program offerings, and details such as registration forms and refund policies. Residents can also subscribe to the monthly newsletter.
Making better use of existing resources is another priority. “New Gloucester is in a unique spot: there’s a ton of green space owned by the town.” Improving the facilities and use of the Rowe Station recreation area is high on director Rocheleau’s list. Rowe Station courts have recently been resurfaced and more will be happening there, as well as at the Fairgrounds and at the Community Building.
Over the next year, kiosks at the Town Hall complex, Rowe Station, and the Fairgrounds will provide one way for people to learn about programs and resources.
To keep up with what’s happening:
• Follow New Gloucester Parks and Recreation Department on Facebook
• Check out ngrecreation.com for program information and subscribe to the newsletter
Written by Debra Smith, Edited by NGX