Windham resident Joe Crocker has been chosen as Raymond’s recreation director, a new position for the town. Jane Vaughan / Lakes Region Weekly

RAYMOND — The town’s new recreation director said the position is “a dream scenario” for him and he looks forward to getting to know the community and learning about what residents are looking for in their recreational programming.

Joe Crocker of Windham currently works in Lewiston’s recreation division and has worked in recreation for nearly 10 years, including in Saco, Auburn and Kennebunk. He has a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and an MBA in sports and recreation management.

“He’s just what we’re looking for,” Town Manager Don Willard said. “We’re very excited for him to come.”

Raymond has never had a recreation department before, and Crocker said building the department will be “a unique experience.”
“There’s never been a situation that you’re just really building from the ground up. Everything is up to your design,” he said. 
For the first year, he said, he will be building relationships, meeting with volunteers and community groups and figuring out what the town’s needs are: “I’m just guiding the process and helping allocate whatever we can to those groups.”
“I’ll be gathering as much information as possible,” he said. “I want to build (the department) organically, not force something onto the town.”

Crocker will also be working on the town’s beaches, including Tassel Top Park, and ensuring they are prepared for the summer.

He will work with a multitude of volunteers, who have been running programs in town up to this point, and said he would be open to partnering with other towns as well.

In addition, he would like to work on a marketing plan and a master plan for the recreation department.

Looking into the future, he wants to ensure that the Raymond recreation department “is out there, is in the community.” He wants people, both residents and visitors, to be aware of the department’s resources and the opportunities that it provides and said he hopes to build a summer camp and after-school program as well.

Crocker’s starting salary will be $57,000. The Board voted unanimously to approve his confirmation on Feb. 11, and his first day will be Feb. 18.

Human Resources Officer Rita Theriault said that Crocker’s work “is going to be a challenge. We’re building from the ground up.”

Willard said he first proposed creating a rec director position 15 years ago, but the timing wasn’t right. Public Works Director Nathan White recently proposed adding the new position again, and this time, it stuck.

Because “this is a first-ever position for us,” Willard said, “we’re going to try to build a town recreation department and a comprehensive recreation program. Task one will be getting Tassel Top Park up and running. We’ll be baby-stepping into other stuff.” 

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