KENNEBUNK — The Adult Enrichment program in Kennebunk has found a new home to continue serving the area — the Parks and Recreation Department.

Though long operated by the school district, last fall the program was moved over the Parks and Recreation Department when declining numbers made it no longer fiscally viable for the school department to continue.

As the Parks and Recreation Department already offered trips and experiential courses for adults, it was determined that moving the program was an appropriate fit.

“It was decided last fall that we would be taking over the courses, and it just made sense,” said Parks and Recreation Director Tasha Pinkham. “It hasn’t been as smooth a transition as we had hoped, but we feel that we’re now in a great place with the programs.”

According to Pinkham, there was a miscommunication between the two entities as to how teachers for the courses should move from one to the other, leaving Parks and Recreation without many of the staff members who had offered courses previously.

“It’s been a slow start, but one by one they’ve been able to make their way over to us, and we’re so happy to have them,” said Pinkham.

While parks and rec could only absorb the adult enrichment courses, the range offered continues to grow and change throughout the year. Although Pinkham redescribed the transition as slow, the department is now in a position to offer programs for around 100 students.

The shift required no fiscal implications, as the courses have prices built-in to pay for themselves, including teacher and materials fees. As part of the move, one full-time staff member was hired to oversee the new program. Pinkham holds her department’s financial independence as a point of pride, and said during an April 19 interview that she would like to be completely independent one day.

Pinkham also noted that for the more than 600 programs the department offers, it receives $100,000 annually from the town of Kennebunk.

One change that accompanies the shift is the lack of continuing education courses being offered in Kennebunk, leaving residents to pursue other programs such as Biddeford Adult Education and the Saco-Old Orchard Beach programs for in-class learning.

According to the Adult Education of the Kennebunks and Arundel, limited courses will still be offered online.

“We have a great relationship with the school, but we don’t have the resources to compete with other programs,” Pinkham said.

The courses offered through parks and recreation have a schedule that mirrors the school year, with courses offered in fall and spring semesters, but also has excursions and workshops during the summer months.

The courses offered for adult enrichment are diverse, and will continue to evolve as the program settles into its new home. Classes currently being offered include tap dancing, photography and guitar lessons.

“It’s great to be able to offer classes that allow people to try something new without making a huge investment, like our paint nights,” Pinkham said, referencing a one-night course offered on occasion that will allow students the opportunity to socialize and take a guided paint class for $40.

“People can come to a one-night class and see if painting is something they’ll want to pursue,” she said.

All classes can be registered for online with a secure login, allowing students to look through the catalog and pay from home. When asked what was the most popular course to be offered at the center, she answered quickly that it was a wine tasting event.

“Our class allows people to pair food with really great wine, so they can learn and socialize at the same time,” Pinkham said. “We get really great feedback for that one.”

The Adult Enrichment program also offered a four-week Wine Appreciation course in April, where attendees paid $100 to learn about the basics of red and white wine, and how to pair them with food.

For more information about the adult enrichment program and the classes offered, visit the parks and recreation website at www.kennebunkme.myrec.com.

— Contact Staff Writer Abigail Worthing at [email protected].

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