Bristol fills recreation-related positions

BRISTOL — With recent departures, hires and some reorganization, the Bristol Recreation Department and Hub Teen Center & Skatepark are sporting fresh faces.
In May Meridith McFarland took over as Rec Director, replacing Darla Senecal, who ran the department for 17 years.
In June, after two years as the Hub’s programs manager and five months as its interim director, Brian LaClair officially took over as the Hub’s director, replacing Ryan Krushenick, who had led the program since 2013.
In August Alex Mishavics will begin work in a brand new position: assistant programs director, a job that combines the assistant director of the Rec Department (most recently held by Valerie Hanson) with the programs manager of the Hub (which LaClair vacated upon becoming director). Mishavics will split a 40-hour workweek between what was formerly two positions.
McFarland explained the change.
“This could lead to lower costs, improved efficiencies, and more diverse programming over time, and allow the Rec Department to be more accessible to the community,” she said.
The Hub serves youths up to age 19 with the mission of providing a safe, supervised, substance-free environment when school is not in session. According to its website, more than 400 individual teens visit each year, with 20 to 50 teens stopping in each day on average.
For LaClair the transition from programs manager to director of the program has been a happy one.
“We had a wonderful end to the school year with some of our highest daily attendance on record for March, April, May, and June. There are a lot of little challenges faced daily, considering the teen center has been understaffed for a few months, but with everything else in order, I am excited to hit the ground running once we have the proper support staff in place,” he said.
Among the first orders of business, LaClair said, was continuing some of the center’s cosmetic work.
“We’ve spent a ton of energy on making the interior of the teen center open and welcoming over the last few years. It’s no longer the dimly lit space it once was. Thanks to support from the Bristol Recreation Club, we’ll be sprucing up the outside of the teen center this summer as well. Will Kasso, an artist-in-residence at Middlebury College, will be painting a new mural on the front of the building to replace one that has weathered significantly over the last nine years. The hope is to be a vibrant and welcoming space, not only for teens but also for community members,” he said.
LaClair is also setting his sights set on getting Hub youth out into the community more frequently through volunteering with local organizations.
“We’re excited to create a program where community members benefit from and get the opportunity to interact with our wonderful teens, and in turn, teens can learn new skills, find passions and work with each other to impact their community in extraordinary ways,” he said.
On Aug. 17 the Hub will celebrate its 20th anniversary with food, games, skateboarding and live music. Details about the event are forthcoming and will be announced via Facebook and Front Porch Forum.
Reach Christopher Ross at [email protected].

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