Wiscasset Parks and Recreation

‘Where I’ve always felt at home’: Chelsea Taylor now rec programmer

Wed, 01/08/2020 - 7:30am

When Chelsea Taylor first stepped into Wiscasset Community Center, it was new and she was 9.

She was in its soccer and basketball programs and on its swim team. “I have always really appreciated it. And moving into high school, when I outgrew the youth programs, I used to walk down here after school every day and either exercise or just hang out with friends.”

Now 30, the 2007 Wiscasset High School graduate and past school committee member has been a trainer at WCC for years and recently became recreation programmer. What has made the lifelong user, turned employee and user, keep wanting to be there? “It’s really a true community center. You see everyone, from toddlers learning to swim, to ... a really active senior center. So it’s really great to see all the demographics from in town have a space to be in, (and) kind of feel at home.”

Her favorite spaces as a member are the fitness room and the pool. She’s been trying to swim more, for the exercise, now that she gets a little less on the job. “It’s been an adjustment. I’m doing a little less active teaching,” so she’s trying to make sure she has time to exercise, she said. Her job now is about 20-25 hours programming and about 5-10 hours fitness training. “It’s just sort of rolled into one,” she explained about her old and new duties. 

Taylor added, the pool is a huge asset because not every community center has one; WCC’s draws people from Bristol and other towns. One member who comes from Bremen now is her. She and fiancé Ben Richards, a Seacoast Security technician, moved there last year.

That gives Taylor about a 20-minute commute. “So it’s not too far. And I’m still here all the time,” she said, laughing. Behind her chair throughout the interview in the lobby, swimmers were spending their noon in the pool Jan. 2. 

Taylor’s new job results from changes she and some other staff were making. “It kind of all happened at once.” Last fall, she closed her Comfit Zone fitness studio of three years, in Damariscotta. She’d decided she wanted to move her career more into recreation. “I was doing personal training and group fitness here, so I was just going to try to get more personal training hours, and then (Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Thompson) gave her notice and asked if I would be willing to work temporarily doing some of the rec programming, to kind of bridge the gap until a new director was named.”

Rec programming includes athletics and their schedules, such as coordinating with schools on practices and games and keeping parents and coaches informed of changes, Taylor said. WCC and the school department work really well together, she said. Her job supports all WCC programming, and has had her posting on Facebook, writing some press releases and giving Wiscasset Area Chamber of Commerce information for its newsletter.  

Taylor said when Duane Goud moved from interim to permanent director, he asked if she was interested in keeping his old job as rec programmer. “I was super excited because it was what I was going to look for, so it couldn’t be more perfect to be here, where I’ve always felt at home.”

As an employee and as a volunteer on events like Wiscasset Holiday Marketfest, Taylor is enjoying promoting Wiscasset. “It’s your quintessential small town America. I grew up here, and I really believe in this place.”

She sees WCC’s having longtime staff members as a plus, for them and for members. “I think it’s great. People feel like they are heard and that they matter because they know that we’re all friendly faces and also community members. It’s not just business, you know? I think we all really want to make this a comfortable place for people to come, from little kids up to seniors.”

Taylor’s father is Wiscasset’s Dave Taylor. Past Wiscasset High School principal Deb Taylor is her stepmother.