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Popular all-ages Milford program for activities and learning keeps growing

Summer camp is a popular choice in the Milford Community School Use Program. Courtesy photo

Community School Use Program started in 1970s

By Linda Chuss

Estate planning. Kids camp. Pasta making. Lap swimming. Unified basketball. What this diverse group of activities have in common, along with many others, is they are all conducted at Milford’s school facilities outside of regular school hours.

Chris Burns, Assistant Director of the Milford Community School Use Program, explained the basics. “It started in the 1970s to put the school facilities to good use for educational, recreational, and cultural activities outside of regular school hours. I remember it from when I was growing up in town. While some offerings have changed over the years, the program has thrived.”

Sessions are listed on the website, and registration can be completed online. People can find out about new offerings by joining the email list or seeing flyers around town, like at the senior center and library.

“We add new classes by request,” Burns said. “Based on a suggestion, we recently started ‘Safe Sitter’ to teach teens about caring for younger children. Another way we introduce new offerings is when an instructor has an idea. Someone with a skill teaching people a hobby they have or something they have worked at, like guitar, or makeup application, can propose a class. Then, there’s a budget we need to work out to pay the instruction fees, so we don’t lose money on the programs we run.”

The town’s Community School Use Program Committee helps promote the program. Tony Chinappi, a committee member, is “looking for more ways to get the word out, like mailings and listings in local papers.” 

Because there is no facility use fee for the classes, prices tend to be lower than similar offerings at other locations. As one example, lap swimming is $6 for a 90-minute session, with non-residents paying a slightly higher fee of $7. The Community School Use Program is not-for-profit and is self-funded, meaning registration fees pay for the instructors and the management of the program. Not all towns offer a program like this and in some situations, charge a facility use fee.

In Milford, there are over 30 programs conducted each year, and over 1,000 people attend sessions. One of the most popular is the after-school program for children ages 3 to 5, and students in kindergarten through fifth grade who attend Milford Public Schools.

For more information or to register or sign up for the email list, visit Follow the latest on Facebook: @milfordcommunityuse. For questions, call 508-478-1119 or email the director at [email protected].