Published January 23, 2019


LYNNFIELD — As Lynnfield Recreation’s programming continues to grow and costs rise, a new nonprofit organization has been formed in order to help children and families take advantage of the department’s great activities.

Friends of Lynnfield Recreation (F.O.L.R.) formed earlier this month and seeks to raise funds to help support the department’s programs. The group is similar to other nonprofit organizations in town such as Friends of the Lynnfield Library and Friends of the Lynnfield Senior Center.

“This organization was created when several town members and Rec participants recognized the need for additional funding,” said F.O.L.R. Co-President Patricia Hazelton. “Transportation costs as well as program costs have grown with increased interest and participation. Recreation Director Julie Mallett has done a fabulous job of expanding the Recreation Department and needs additional financial support to keep up with demand.”

While the town budget funds Mallett’s position, Hazelton noted “100 percent of Rec programs are self-funded by participants.”

“The participation successes and increased expenses of Lynnfield Rec programs, camps and trips led the Recreation Commission to explore a fundraising arm through the creation of the Friends of Lynnfield Rec,” said Hazelton.

In addition to Hazelton, F.O.L.R. consists of Co-President Jessica Saccardo, Secretary Jessica Doherty, Communications Director Heather Rose, Treasurer Kerrianne Allain and board members Stacey Cook and Lauren Hurton.

“The Friends of Lynnfield Recreation is an enthusiastic group of volunteers dedicated to assisting the Lynnfield Recreation Department in the development, maintenance and operation of the Rec Department’s programs and facilities where needed,” said Hazelton. “F.O.L.R. will provide financial assistance for the development and upgrading of Rec programs, equipment and facilities that will continue to make Lynnfield a friendly, safe and fun place to enjoy both active and passive recreational activities.”

 Recreation Commission Chairman Rich Sjoberg, who was recently elected as co-president of Townscape, noted he proposed having F.O.L.R. serve as a “silo under the Townscape umbrella.”

“The missions and goals of Townscape and Lynnfield Rec are symbiotically focused on improving recreational spaces and programs in Lynnfield,” said Sjoberg. “With aligned missions, this new partnership voted on by Townscape offers F.O.L.R. an opportunity to immediately kick off fundraising efforts.”

As part of an inaugural fundraiser, F.O.L.R. will be a holding a cornhole tournament on Saturday, Feb. 9, from 7-11 p.m. at the Wakefield-Lynnfield Lodge of Elks.

“We believe this event serves two purposes,” said Hazelton. “It invites town members to get together and celebrate their Pioneer Pride and also will generate revenue for Rec Department programs. We are thrilled with the initial level of support and interest and very much believe this will become our annual event and key fundraiser.”

While F.O.L.R. has sold out of cornhole teams, general admission tickets are still available. Hazelton said the funds raised at the cornhole tournament will be used to support a variety of different programs.

“Equipment is needed for the new ‘Kids Can Run’ track program,” said Hazelton. “Increased participation means T-shirts are a large expense for the summer program. The Rec funded Tree Lighting Ceremony has grown in popularity with increased costs.”

In addition to the cornhole tournament, Hazelton said F.O.L.R. is looking to “capitalize on well-established Rec events by adding a fundraising component.”

“For example, there will be corsages available for purchase at the March 23 Father-Daughter Dances and items will be available at the companion Mother-Son Bowling event,” said Hazelton.

Hazelton noted the different fundraisers seek to ensure children of all abilities have the opportunity to participate in Lynnfield Rec programs.

“Rec works closely with parents and guardians, and Lynnfield Public Schools’ Student Services Department to make it a priority that all Rec opportunities are all-inclusive,” said Hazelton. “Lynnfield Rec also works hard to ensure there is never a lack of participation due to an individual’s financial restraints.”