Her third day on the job, Jessie Hampson, the new Program Coordinator for the Burlington Parks & Recreation Dept., doesn’t have to think too long about what is her favorite program.
“The ski program,” she said. “That’s my favorite to go to, to plan. I love when kids get excited about it because I love skiing.”
She said that program has probably tripled in size from when she first started in Burlington some six years ago. The older group consisting of about 80 middle and high school skiers goes to Wachusett Mountain, and over 80 elementary school children hit the slopes at Nashoba Valley.
As the new Program Coordinator, Hampson sits in the same office she had when she was an assistant for six years, but her view is obviously larger now. However, she sees her main responsibility as continuing the “great work” that has already been established.
“I feel like we’re always on the forefront of coming up with like real creative and innovative programs and events,” Hampson said. “I just want to continue to move that ball forward … and maintain our reputation that we have now just being one of the best.”
Soon the department will be looking for a new assistant, she said. The former Program Coordinator, Kelly Lehman, has been elevated to the newly created position of Assistant Director of Parks & Recreation, working with Director Brendan Egan.
“So our department is growing,” Hampson said proudly.
The Arlington resident grew up in Littleton, N.H., and worked for that town’s Parks & Recreation Dept. as Aquatics Director and Recreation Leader. When she first started working here, she was surprised by the scope of what is offered.
In addition to hosting the tree lighting and fireworks display at the Town Common, and the Summer Concert Series at the same location, Burlington’s Parks & Rec offers a variety of events and programs ranging from adult softball and fitness to youth basketball and everything in between. There is even a Pickle Ball program.
“Events and programs, we try to make sure we’re meeting the needs of all the residents, regardless of age, ability, etc.,” she said. “Just try to make sure we’re providing for everyone.”
Summer is the busiest time of year for the department with the most residents participating, she said. But the month or two the staff prepares for that season are the busiest.
Among her other favorite events are the fishing festival at Mill Pond Reservoir and the “egg-cursion” hunt at area parks, which is an Easter event.
“I like those two events because they’re very wholesome,” Hampson said. “They’re just very family friendly, fun, free. And kind of low-stakes events. If you sign up for our egg-cursion and go out to our parks and you find a couple of eggs, great. You want to go out and dedicate a week to it, excellent!”
Hampson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from URI in 2011.