GRAFTON, Mass. — An account for the Grafton Recreation Commission to subsidize needy families who can’t afford outdoor events such as horseback riding and swimming lessons was approved in a unanimous vote Tuesday by the Board of Selectmen.
The plan is to create a check box on the program application for a donation to the Recreation Department Scholarship Fund, said Betty Wright, director of the Recreation Department. The amount requested would be small, perhaps a $1 or $5, but that would go a long way to help children, she said.
“There are no scholarships,” said Wright, who has turned away people in the past. This new fund account would make a difference, she said. She plans to have the new program in place for the spring and summer programs.
The time is right to start this fund, said Robert Fitzpatrick, chairman of the Grafton Recreation Committee.
“In the past, there has been a procedure where we have waived fees for families to pay for the recreation program,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s a great idea. Swimming lessons are $75 a session. If a family has four kids, it gets pricey.”
The town has relied on the generosity of residents, who have donated hundreds of dollars so children can enjoy a summer of playing basketball just like they did when they were young, Fitzpatrick said.
The department will set up a three-member board to review applications and determine a family’s financial need, Wright said.
The department will also create fundraising programs throughout the year to raise even more money, she said. On New Year’s Day, the Recreation Department planned to hold its first Penguin Plunge at Silver Lake Beach.
But the lake froze, canceling the event. Jack Z. Walker, a resident who wanted to contribute to the scholarship cause, spent nine hours that day at Silver Lake Beach and raised $1,100.