Those Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer
by Lynne Ober
Remember those lazy, hazy days of summer that seemed to stretch endlessly the minute that the final school bell rang, but ended all too quickly and became memories to be cherished?
Children in Pelham have an opportunity to build memories of those days at the Summer Camp held at Pelham’s Veterans Memorial Park, which consists of 200 feet of sandy beach on Long Pond, changing rooms, picnic area, basketball courts, tennis courts, a ropes course and a multi-purpose ball field.
Children, divided into three different age categories, enjoy a plethora of activities. “I try to have every week be a different theme,” said Summer Camp Director Mary Johnson. “This week is Circus week for the younger kids and Retro week for the older kids. Each theme has activities associated with it. For example, this week the older campers are making tie die Tee shirts and the younger campers are enjoying some circus activities,” she smiled.
Johnson is very experienced in Pelham’s summer camp. “I grew up in Pelham and I’ve done everything that could be done at this camp. I was a camper myself for a couple of years. I remember a Poison Peanut Butter Swing. Then I was a Junior Leader, a Counselor and now the Camp Director.” During the school year, Johnson puts her Master’s Degree to work teaching English at Londonderry High School. “This is a perfect summer job for me. I love to work with kids and we have a lot of fun.”
Although it can look like chaos at times, there’s always an underlying organization. The Counselors obviously enjoy interaction with their charges and are visible at every activity.
Swimming lessons are held at Long Pond in the morning and then the campers each have a swim time in the afternoon. “We divide the swim times up by age group,” said Johnson. Lifeguards are on duty on the beach to help Counselors monitor the time in the water.
“We have a wonderful Junior Leader program,” said Johnson, who admits that about sixty percent of the Counselors started in the Junior Leader program.
The Junior Leader program is geared towards students in ninth grade or higher. The purpose of the program is to teach leadership skills and the responsibilities that accompany working with others. The Junior Leaders get a feel for what a Counselor does. As part of their program they are trained to work with the campers and exposed to camp organization and planning. “Each Junior Leader earns enough community service hours to fulfill that requirement at Pelham High School,” said Johnson. “It’s good for us and for them.”
This year a new ropes course has been added. “This is a new, popular feature,” said Johnson leading the way through the woods to the course. “We can teach climbing skills and teamwork because they have to learn how to be a spotter as well as to have fun.”
There’s also plenty of space for quiet activities. One group sat on top of a large boulder and told stories. There’s a large, shady grassy field next to the Tee-Pee where campers can eat lunch and participate in quiet activities.
The camp also has kayaks, which the older campers learn to use.
“We do field trips,” said Johnson. “Next week we are going to Fun World. The way we arrange them is to take the campers by age groups. The Seniors go one day. The Intermediates the next day and then the Juniors get to go.”
In addition to regular camp hours, there’s an extended day care program also offered and used by many parents. “That has made it especially difficult for us to have to close on rainy days this year,” said Johnson, “but the budget is what the budget is and we have to work with that. It’s still a great summer program,” she concluded and she’s right.
Concert on the Common
by Lynne Ober
Breezy summer evenings provide a wonderful venue for listening to music under the skies and on Sunday the Windham Concert Band played their second Pops Concert on Windham’s Commons.
The Windham Community Band celebrates nine years of grassroots, community music-making this year under the direction of Rob Daisy, a versatile woodwind musician who graduated from Carnegie Mellon University. The Windham Concert Band performs year-round throughout New England, but its favorite location is performing the “Ice Cream Social” concerts on the Commons. “This is a wonderful opportunity for us,” smiled Daisy.
They opened with a stirring rendition of Star Spangled Banner and then moved into the crowd pleaser, Strike the Band. They played a medley from Sound of Music that had the audience tapping their toes. American Pageant consists of a medley of many favorites, including I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy and other patriotic favorites from summers gone by. Karie Guyette, saxophone, was featured on the smooth Persuasion.
At intermission ice cream and all the fixin’s were enjoyed by the audience. Windham Representative Kevin Waterhouse organizes the ice cream as a fundraiser for the band. A number of other State Representatives helped collect money and serve the ice cream.
The second half of the concert was an enjoyable as the first half. Wood Sprites seemed perfect for a summer evening, as did a medley of Gershwin favorites. The Concert Band interspersed some music that was not as well known, but was equally enjoyable. Daisy always told the audience a little bit about each song. Ray, Shaker and Instant Concert were instant hits with the audience. The concert ended with the toe-tapping, always crowd-pleasing Stars and Stripes.
If you missed this concert, be sure to attend the next one on August 14.
Project 54 Grant Updates Windham Cruisers
The University of New Hampshire has a research project, Project 54, named after the 50s TV program, “Car 54 Where Are You?” Its aim is to test and evaluate technology that could be used in police cruisers.
According to the research team, led by Bill Lenhearth, Director of the UNH Research Computing Center, the goal is for a cruiser to have state of the art controls that employ technology, using a built-in computer, to make an officer’s job easier.
Officers can use spoken commands to operate equipment such as lights, sirens, and radio or to retrieve motor vehicle information from a database. The computer keeps an audio and video log of all cruiser activities and uses a global positioning system (GPS) to keep the dispatch center informed of the cruiser's location at all times.
Windham Police Chief Gerald Lewis told Selectmen that a Project 54 grant would provide for the installation of new equipment in five of the Town’s cruisers. Each cruiser will get:
The grant, valued at approximately $55,000, requires no matching tax dollars. Lewis felt that it was an opportune time to upgrade the equipment, especially since no tax dollars were needed.
Selectman, Galen Stearns, moved to accept the Project 54 Grant and Selectman, Bruce Breton, seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Grills Donated to Town by Friends of the Library of Windham
Friends of the Library of Windham (FLOW) offered to donate two commercial grills to the Town with the stipulation that FLOW be allowed to use them at the Strawberry Festival every year.
FLOW members Bev Donovan and Mindy Davis explained that one of the goals of FLOW every year is to enhance their available equipment and this led to their research into purchasing commercial grills that could be used at a variety of Town events.
Explaining that the funding for the grills came through donations made to FLOW, they offered to donate the grills to the Town.
Selectman Alan Carpenter moved to accept the donation with thanks. Selectman Galen Stearns seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Esty Road Paving Contract Awarded
Windham Selectmen received two revised bids for the Esty Road paving project. Previously the Windham Board or Selectmen had requested that the bids be revised to include improvement at the playground and Roger’s Field parking areas.
Tate Brothers Paving bid $6,000 and Taylor Paving bid $7,600. Town Administrator, David Sullivan, told Selectmen that paving Esty Road remained the primary focus of the project and incurred most of the costs.
Sullivan said that Highway Agent, Jack McCartney, had clarified Tate’s price to ensure that both vendors had bid the projects equitably. The Town’s portion of the repairs, if awarded to Tate, would be $5,000 according to Sullivan. The residents would contribute $1,000.
When Selectman, Roger Hohenberger, asked if an estimate to repair the Wonderland Playground had been determined, Sullivan replied that this cost had yet to be established, but that funds were available in the Highway budget for the Esty Road / parking lot repairs.
Selectman, Alan Carpenter, moved to award the project to Tate Brothers for a cost of $6,000 to repair Esty Road, the playground parking lot and Roger’s parking lot with the award to include a $1,000 contribution from the area residents. Selectman, Galen Stearns, seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Pelham Arts Council Organizing
Charlene Takesian, who is active in many Pelham organizations, wants to start a Pelham Arts Council. According to Takesian, this group would bring together several independent existing committees and have representatives from all interests in Pelham. “It is our intent to form a 501c3 organization to raise money through private donations and public and private grants to fund Cultural activities in Pelham and to support building and/or reconstruction projects in Pelham that would house such Cultural activities.”
Her vision sees a group, The Pelham Arts Council, that would bring performing artists into Pelham, including professional and talented people from Pelham, into an extended, scheduled series of events, including plays, musicians, arts, performing arts, writers, and programs for children to introduce them to the arts.
Takesian thinks that in addition to community members who are interested, “it should have representatives from (not limited to) the Senior Center, the Library, the Recreation Department as well as Community representatives, perhaps including someone from the Pelham Community Theater.”
If you are interested in forming such a group, you can contact Charlene Takesian at 603-635-7215.