The Friends of Pappas Recreation Complex is seeking volunteers interested in serving on the committee. The Friends was formed in 2011 to raise money for the Dr. Arthur and Dr. Martha Pappas Recreation Complex when construction bids came in somewhat higher than expected. The group raised about $450,000 to restore the lights to the baseball and soccer fields, complete the picnic pavilion at the concession stand, add irrigation and sod to the softball and practice fields, and to build a playground. The playground construction is slated to begin this spring with a completion date expected by early summer, weather dependent.

There will be an organizational/information meeting this Wednesday, December 10, at 7pm at Pakachoag Church. Anyone who might be interested is encouraged to attend to find out more.  The meeting should not last more than an hour, and if you have children in tow, there will be some activities there to keep them occupied.

With three major capital fundraising campaigns complete, the group is hoping to transition to a maintenance and upgrade mode. Several original board members have decided to step down after three years of work, and the remaining board members are hoping to find several volunteers interested in joining the committee.

According to Friends president, Jeff LaBonte, “We’re grateful for all the hard work our departing board members have contributed. We hope we can find some volunteers to continue their effort.”

LaBonte says ongoing efforts by the Friends won’t be quite as intensive as previous fundraising drives. “We were always under tight timelines” says LaBonte. “We had to raise ‘X’ number of dollars by some drop-dead date, because of construction timelines, or grant deadlines and things like that. There was pressure to find a lot of money in a pretty short time.”

Moving forward, the group is looking to build a reserve account that can help the Town of Auburn with future maintenance and upgrade issues that may not be part of the Town budget. “The complex would ideally be self-sustaining, but I don’t know how realistic that is” says LaBonte. “When we have damage to turf, or a fence, or, in the future, a piece of playground equipment, it would be nice to have funds to repair these things in a timely manner.  The Town may not have a couple hundred or couple thousand dollars they can allocate to things like that.”

There are also upgrades the group would like to see at the complex. “I am hearing from Little League that additional safety netting is needed on parts of Camosse Field for spectator safety” says LaBonte. “I know firsthand it would be great to extend the netting on the parking lot side of the soccer field. We get tired of chasing those balls down!”

LaBonte says they understand people can be reluctant to commit to volunteer activities due to time constraints.  He says there are some positions such as president and treasurer that require a bit more time.  But the goal for the group is four business meetings a year, and one or two larger fundraising events each year.  “Depending on the scale of fundraising we decide upon, I think you’re talking a couple hours a month, at the most” he says.

The group isn’t yet sure what those fundraisers will be, and is looking for input from residents as well as potential committee members.  “You don’t have to officially join” says LaBonte.  “If you have ideas, if you’re willing to help with one event, that’s great, too.  We’re building a list of people we can call on to help when these events do come to fruition.”  Worse case scenario, according to LaBonte, is you have some interesting conversation and some tasty baked goods.

The meeting time again is Dec 10 at 7pm.  Pakachoag Church is located at 203 Pakachoag St., directly in front of the Pappas Recreation Complex.