Children volunteer to help clean up the Saxtons River Rec Area on April 20. (Chris Mays/Brattleboro Reformer)
Children volunteer to help clean up the Saxtons River Rec Area on April 20. (Chris Mays/Brattleboro Reformer)
Monday April 22, 2013

SAXTONS RIVER -- Preparing for the good weather, children raked up the Rec Area while adults supervised and organized the shed on site.

"We had a great turn out," said Saxtons River Rec Committee member Samantha Perry. "We cleaned up the edge line of the pond, did litter patrol, reorganized the shed, which we didn't even know what we had in it. I think we did what we had to do to have an effective year."

The Rec Committee asked for volunteers to help clean up the area located on Pleasant Valley Road on April 20. About 30 people showed up. Children from ages 4 to 13 pitched in to help.

"We found some old trophies and said that whoever picked up the most grass gets a trophy," said Rec Committee Chairman Chris Moore, who used to play little league baseball games on the field by the Rec Area.

The trophies were from 1987 and were found while cleaning out a shed that was built in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s. Moore's father was a mason who helped build that shed.

Cub Scouts from Pack 401 were at the clean up. There was also one Boy Scout and one Girl Scout on site.

"It was a way for them to help out the community and get a lot of their requirements done," said Cub Master of Pack 401 Amanda Desmarais. "The Cub Scouts helped us rebuild a picnic table and clean up (the Rec Area)."

There had been a sprinkle of rain, but not enough to stop the volunteers from cleaning up and organizing the Rec Area.

Last year, the Rec Committee trustees said they might have to close down the Rec Area due to lack of interest and volunteering from the residents unless someone stepped forward.

Moore stepped in and became the chairman of the committee.

"What's great is that it's all volunteerism," he said. "It exists solely because people want it to exist."

The Rec Area is run completely on donations and fundraising, which Perry spearheads.

Last fall, the Rec Committee drained the pond and then someone dredged it. The pond was completely skimmed. Then excessive mud was taken care of and old bicycles were taken out of the water.

"It's cleaner than it's ever been," said Moore.

During the summer, the Rockingham Rec Department provides lifeguards on site. Children along with their parents go swimming there. A diving board is placed on one end of the pond.

"Especially when its over 85 degrees, many kids from the village come," said Moore. "There are not many public pools in the area, so this is a place where people come to swim."

The Saxtons River Rec Committee is accepting donations. It is raising money to buy new equipment for the Rec Area. Money can be sent to P.O. Box 243, Saxtons River, V.T. 05154.

The Rec Committee wants to improve the baseball field, replace some swings and slides that have been on the site since the ‘70s as well as replace the roof on the pavilion.

"We want to keep people involved and interested," said Moore. "Our thought is to have an ‘Extreme Makeover' type of thing but it takes money."

Moore is hoping that baseball teams will be able to play games on the field this year. The soccer field has been in use, but the baseball field hasn't been for a few years.

Next month, children are encouraged to compete in the fishing derby held up the street at another pond in town.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.