Warren benefactor pledges $5K match to summer recreation fund

Warren benefactor pledges $5K match to summer recreation fund


1242211_1397413632.2363Two generations of Warren’s youth have spent their summers at the town’s summer recreation program at Burr’s Hill. Now, boosters are trying to ensure that the good times continue this year and into the future.

Boosters are trying to raise $25,000 to help fund the summer program after the Warren Town Council members two weeks ago cut funding to the recreation department.

And until May 12, those who donate to the cause will have their money matched, dollar for dollar, up to $5,000. It comes courtesy of an anonymous summer program alumni who pledged up to $5,000 to the cause.

“This (Burr’s Hill and other town fields) has been a part of Warren youths’ summer for 50 years,” said Tara Thibaudeau, a former recreation board member who was a supervisor in the program years ago.

“It would be a shame if it didn’t go on.”

The plan is this:

Raise $25,000 through an online fund-raising page and give it to the town to pay the salaries of supervisors at Burr’s Hill. Organizers have already spoken to town finance director Michael Abbruzzi, and the town has set up an account specifically for donated proceeds from the fund drive.

Though the summer program usually starts at the end of the school year and ends a week or so before school starts, organizers plan to run the program between July 7 and August 15 this year. It will run 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. In recent years, both Burr’s Hill and Hugh Cole have been used for the summer program. But the plan is to consolidate everything at Burr’s Hill this year, not just because of the beach but also because supervisors can bring the kids to the Mary V. Quirk school in case of inclement weather.

Parents have been charged fees in recent years —$50 per child, with a max of $125 per family — and Ms. Thibaudeau said that will continue.

But “we’re trying to keep it affordable. (Warren recreation booster) Pete Sepe was a big advocate of charging the kids nothing, so we are trying to maintain that as much as possible.”

If the $25,000 goal is not reached, Ms. Thibaudeau said the money raised will be used to offset fees, making the program more affordable for families.

Organizers have started seeing donations and they’re getting a lot of support. But “now we just need people to donate,” Ms. Thibaudeau said.

They hope to reach their goal by mid-June, and are planning a Family Day at Burr’s Hill for Saturday, May 31.