By Leslie Moses
Eastman Recreation has been creating and sponsoring activities, programs and special events for the community since the early 1970’s. Many of the activities and events have changed, but others have become tradition. It is hard to imagine the 4th of July weekend without the chicken barbecue or a winter season without a moon light ski and snowshoe dinner. The menu for a moonlight ski may have changed from cheese fondue in 1984 to roasted veggie lasagna in 2011, but the activity continues to be a favorite.
Special events are an integral part of Eastman, bringing the community together. The craft fair, yard sale, Fall Fest and Turkey Trot are repeated annually to the delight of many. The David’s House event each winter has become a family-centered event with a fun and competitive chili cook-off. This is very different from the ski-a-thon that raised funds for David’s House years ago.
The Splash, Mash and Dash Sprint Triathlon, a USA Triathlon sanctioned event held each June, brings hundreds of athletes, spectators and volunteers to South Cove, but it is not the first triathlon in Eastman’s history. The first triathlon was a one-mile swim, three-mile run and a one-and-a-half-mile canoe race. That certainly is different from the one-third-mile swim, 12-mile bike and 5K run that Eastman hosts currently.
A triathlon is not just an event for the summer months. In January 1990, an Eastman-sponsored triathlon included a run, a downhill ski and a cross country ski.
One thing that has not changed is the spirit of volunteerism. It takes dozens of volunteers to pull-off events like David’s House Winter Fest and the triathlon, and Eastman Members never hesitate to donate their time and talents to make special events a success.
The Summer Youth Programs have undergone significant changes. Past programming has taken many different forms. In the late 80’s and early 90’s, an activity tag could be purchased that allowed children to take part in any clinic or program that was offered, including swimming, tennis and soccer. A program for 3- to 6-year-olds called Tots was very similar to our Kid City program. It took place in the Snow Hill warming hut and offered crafts, swimming and tennis. The hours were from 10 a.m.- noon Friday-Tuesday. Another offering was called Potpourri and was comprised of arts & crafts activities offered in two-hour blocks on Sundays, Mondays and Fridays.
Currently the offerings for Eastman youth center on a robust camp program that is licensed by the state of New Hampshire. The three programs offered are Kid City, All Day Gang and the Adventure Program. Kid City is a half-day program for 4- and5-year-olds that includes arts & crafts, swimming, hiking and activities based on a weekly theme. All Day Gang for 6- to 11-year-olds is an active, all day camp program that includes field games, kayaking, golf, tennis, weekly themed activities, hiking and swimming. Kid City and All Day Gang meet Monday through Friday. The Adventure Program, for individuals 12 to14, is an all-day program that meets Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Each week is geared around a specific activity such as kayaking, rock climbing or camping, and works to develop leadership skills.
Programs for adults and families have expanded over the years, providing for paddling trips, both day-long and overnight, days-long trips to Quebec and Vermont, and shared, gourmet theme dinners. But that doesn’t mean the monthly adult potluck dinners and weekly Bridge nights are a thing of the past. Popular programs continue and other programs are added.
And with the popularity of exercise and fitness, Recreation sponsors Strength Training and Aerobics, water aerobics, as well as seasonal fitness classes to get people ready for skiing or other outdoor activities.
The programs may have changed, but the desire to take advantage of all that Eastman has to offer while creating memories and friendships that last forever has not. Recreation’s programs, activities and events will continue to change (or sometimes stay the same) based on the desires of the community. The community’s input shapes what Recreation offers. Come join in or volunteer on a Recreation activity or event.