5 QUICK QUESTIONS with Recreation Director Karen Campbell

WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Apple recently caught up with Recreation Director Karen Campbell for five quick questions.

What can families expect at this year’s Santa’s Workshop, organized by the Recreation Department?

“Santa’s Workshop is on Thursday, December 6, from 6pm to 7:30pm, at Town Hall in Room 9. If you want to be here at 6pm, that’s great, but be prepared to wait. If you come at 7pm, you might have the benefit of less of a line. You should expect to have your kids see Santa individually. Be ready to take a few quick family photos. We do ask that families try to be considerate of the other families waiting to see Santa.

Santa is so gracious to spend his time with the children of Wilmington. We’re very lucky to be on his route again this year.”

Does the Recreation Department have any new program offerings for children coming up?

“We have some really cool new things for children. We have a magic class, for example, which we’ve never done before. I was very interested in magic as a child and I think many kids today are as well. We have another new program called ‘Business Sharks,’ which is just like the TV show ‘Shark Tank.’ Children can join in and prepare their own business plan, which they present to their parents at the end of the series.”

Does the Recreation Department have any interesting trips planned in the coming months?

“We have unbelievable trips coming up. We really hope people will join us to travel. All you have to do is get yourself to the Fourth of July Building and we will take you to the airport or onto the motor coach and take care of things until we’re back home. It’s not like you’re traveling with groups of people you’ll never see again. We have great friendships forming and it’s nice to see familiar faces in places like Market Basket after experiencing trips together.

We’re off to Southern California in April, which is a great, great trip. We’re going to be in Santa Monica for two nights, near the Pier, then south to Catalina Islands, then San Diego for two nights, including a visit to the San Diego Zoo. We also have some resort life mixed in at Palm Springs for several nights. We still have room on the trip.

We’re headed to Ocean City, Maryland at the end of May. We’re going to see the wild ponies of Chincoteague, plus an optional visit to a casino and other fun things on the itinerary. That’s just a three-night trip, which makes for a great getaway at a great time of the year.

We have our Northeast Historical Tour in September. We’ll take a motor coach to New York City, then to Gettysburg and Philadelphia, then onto Charlottesville, and finally ending in Washington, DC for two nights. There will be historical tours all throughout at the most popular places, with some free times in the big cities. We’ll be flying home from DC. There’s currently plenty of room on the trip.

We’re also running a day trip on New Year’s Eve Day. If there’s anybody that either doesn’t have plan for New Year’s and would like to have a plan, or would like to just do their celebrating during the day and hunker down at night, this is the trip for them. We’re going to take our motor coach down to Lake Pearl in Wrentham and have a really nice lunch. And then we’ll enjoy American Bandstand Music concert and hit the dance floor. We’ll be home in Wilmington by 6pm.”

Is Pickleball still a thing in town?

“Pickleball is booming. We have been running classes for two years now. Every class has been filling up with a waitlist. We’re now not even allowing non-residents in because we’ve filled with Wilmington residents, who are so excited to be on the courts.

We’ve opened the new courts outside of Town Hall. They’ve come out beautifully. DPW, in conjunction with our vendor, did a great job. There’s now three dedicated, permanent Pickleball courts there. People can come and play at their leisure. We even have them lit so people can play after work at night. They’re available all the time so people can take advantage of them when we open up again in the spring. Nets are down in the meantime. We’ll be back as soon as we can. We’re playing indoors at the Woburn Street School during the bad weather.”

What’s the next “Pickleball” in Wilmington — something that residents request and the Recreation Department delivers? 

“We’re always listening to understand what people are interested in. Right now, we’ve had sets of 1-2 people ask for varied things. If we start to hear a lot of the same thing, that’s when we would certainly jump on it. But there’s nothing new that has been asked for a lot lately. We’re always working towards the next best thing, but we’re also having a lot of fun with all the things we’re already offering.”

BONUS QUESTION: Does the Recreation Department have any ‘Stocking Stuffer’-type gifts that residents should know about?

“We have gift certificates year-round, but they make a great holiday gift. Anyone can have the gift of recreation — the certificates are good for any of our programs, classes, trips, tickets and anything else we offer. They can be purchased anytime in the Recreation Office — $25 and up, in any denomination. We also offer movie passes — Showcase & AMC for $10 and IMAX for $11.”

Karen Campbell (Large)
Wilmington Recreation Director Karen Campbell (center) with Program Coordinator Jason Mainini (left) and Senior Clerk Linda Kanter (right)

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