Ludlow Select Board sees merits in summer program
By Christian Avard
Staff Writer | January 25,2013
LUDLOW — Ludlow voters might have the chance to approve a new middle school summer program on Town Meeting Day.
The Select Board on Monday lent its support to an article for a proposed joint program run by the town and Ludlow Rotary that would offer a variety of academic and social activities during the summer months.
The board did not give final approval to the program yet, in hopes that other towns, including Mount Holly, would consider a joint funding effort.
The program was initiated by Town Manager Frank Heald with the help of Ludlow Rotary Club members.
According to Heald, Ludlow has a gap in summer enrichment programs for middle school students. He came across Quest, a student program in Jaffrey, N.H., that offers academic enrichment and a wide range of camping activities including athletics, swimming, arts and crafts.
As it is now, Ludlow summer programs are only available to students up to grade six and seven, Heald said. Quest is offered to middle and high school students up to sophomore year.
A program like Quest’s would fill that hole, Heald said.
“We envision using educators, camp staff and rotary members and operating parallel to the Ludlow Recreation Summer Program, which lasts seven weeks,” he said.
Heald met with a focus group comprising middle school and high school students from Black River. The program was well-received, he said. Students said they would support a summer camp program that would include a variety of activities. In terms of summer academic programs, students suggested foreign language classes, professional development opportunities, vocational activities, outdoors, recreation and more.
“We asked, ‘How many would be interested?’ I couldn’t believe how fast all of the hands went up,” Heald said.
The proposed budget for a middle school summer program may cost up to $25,000.
The dollar amount requested in the article may be adjusted if Mount Holly, or other towns, approve similar articles for funding the program. In return, the program would be offered to the students in those participating towns.
The proposed article for Town Meeting Day would read, “Shall the voters of the town of Ludlow authorize $20,000 with the Ludlow Rotary Club fund to ... implement a program for middle school students that will provide an opportunity to improve academic performance, foster new friendships and share ... experiences with the overall objective of increasing their skills, self-confidence and growth.”
Discussion on the article will continue Feb. 4, at the next Select Board meeting.