Welcome to Berkshire South

 

As I write this, buds are finally starting to bloom on the trees, an apparent victory against the winter that seems to extend in season year after year. Some are driven to this ever changing yet always beautiful Berkshire landscape to embrace the winter bounty and hit the slopes. But I for one, always feel most energized when late spring rolls around and our halls are overflowing with joyful members, emerging from winter’s hibernation. My favorite months are May and June when it feels like the whole “family” is home – locals and seasonal members alike reuniting and rejoicing in the anticipated and promising summer bounty. We are so fortunate to have this town square to connect with one another as the fast paced and digital life seems to spread our direct interaction further apart by the day.

This winter the preschool bustled with the creative energy of growing minds led by their caring teachers. Sunshine Preschool students recently learned about fire fighters and their important job as part of a Community Helpers series. One student, when asked what she learned, offered this gem: “Fire fighters put on their fire clothes and save all the people.” So young, but so astutely correct. Even at the preschool ages students begin to internalize the importance of community connections. Many of these children will grow up together, right here, in our unique Berkshire towns and villages. In so many cases I will have the pleasure of watching this growth; we all will, as part of this tightly woven community. We are so very lucky.

Through all the blustery days of the past several months, the Norris Aquatics Center offered a warm respite, and an energizing, full-body fitness experience for members from two to 92. There, on March third, our eighth annual Swim-a-thon was a great success once again! We raised nearly $13,000 to fund our essential adaptive needs programs, and we witnessed some spectacular moments along the way: the Lopez family, swimming together as a team, cheering on one another and bringing lots of enthusiasm to the day; while 8 of our own swimming students with adaptive needs created new personal records for themselves, cheered along by family and teachers.

Looking ahead to spring and summer, we have some wonderful new programming ahead, inspired by some talented new team members that I am excited for you to meet. The entire team of the Community Center has been working to best understand your needs and has been tailoring our offerings to suit them. From new wellness programs to enhanced summer camp offerings and outdoor parks, this coming summer is full of opportunity.

If you haven’t been here in a while, you’ll also see some new projects underfoot. This year, thanks to your continued support, the Center will be making some critical shifts in our operations to allow us to bolster our mission and create a stronger impact on the community. Additional solar panels are being installed this spring which will create a cost savings to the Center while also using more environmentally friendly energy. Additionally, come the end of summer, you’ll see several of our administrative team members return to newly constructed offices inside the building after having been housed off-site for the last 8 years. While these shifts may feel as though they have little impact on you as a member, the result will ultimately allow us to strengthen our infrastructure and ensure we are able to serve your needs for time to come. In the end, all we do comes back to each one of you.

You are the reason we are here and the reason we try every day to build community and common purpose. As Center member, Alan Macy, 93, water aerobics participant since 2003, recently said to one of our staff, “The community has a lot to be thankful for in a place like this.” And so do we Alan, for you, and for our members near and far. Very thankful indeed.

 

Jenise Lucey
Executive Director