Grafton’s new recreation director hopes to encourage community involvement


Jen Andersen, Grafton’s new director of recreation. (Photo/submitted)
Jen Andersen, Grafton’s new director of recreation. (Photo/submitted)

Grafton – Grafton resident Jen Andersen has been named the town’s new director of recreation, replacing Betty Wright who recently retired.

“I started working in this office in 2014 when Betty Wright, the former director, asked me to help,” Andersen said. She was appointed interim director in May, taking over as permanent director this month.

Andersen has been a lifelong skier and met her predecessor through the sport. She was working at a ski shop when she started helping in the Grafton Recreation Office, located on the second floor of Grafton Town Hall.

Andersen attended Sacred Heart University in Connecticut for a year before transferring to UMass-Lowell, where she completed a degree in mathematics.

The new director will oversee a number of recreation programs. Activities are largely seasonal. In the summer they feature swimming and beach activities, while in colder months, football and skiing predominate. For children and adults alike, the Recreation Department runs Grafton Celebrates the Holidays in December; the Amazing Turkey Race, a scavenger hunt, in November; the May Road Race; and other activities.

“I plan to hold an open house soon,” Andersen said. “I’d like to get feedback on existing programs and suggestions on possible new ones.”

Andersen is one of two full-time employees. She has a part-time helper and is currently interviewing for a new office manager and is working to update the summer parks program. She hopes for greater involvement by Grafton residents.

“It’s pretty easy getting volunteers,” she explained. “The problem is having enough meaningful work for them.”

Helpers are drawn from the Senior Volunteers Program, which offers seniors tax breaks in return for such work. Other volunteers come from the high school Special Education Program and the Honor Society.

The Recreation Department also links with a number of commercial sports and exercise facilities, such as Zoomba and Skyhawks Sports Academy, the latter involved in such activities as tennis clinics.

Residents are encouraged to contact the Recreation Department and see what they have to offer. Most programs are self-funded, although the department does have a line item in the annual town budget that is approved at Town Meeting.

The Recreation Office is open Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Meetings are the first Monday of every month or as posted. For information, call 508-839-5335, ext. 1156.

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