Meet Pawling’s New Recreation Director

Left to right: Assistant Director Robyn Priano, Recreation Director Jessica Dickinson, and Rec team member Kristen Polgreen.

Late last month, a Special Town Board meeting was held to appoint a new Director for the Pawling Recreation Department. Jessica Dickinson began her tenure on October 1 and is already looking forward to continuing the department’s tradition of community involvement in Pawling.

The position of Recreation Director in Pawling became available last month following the retirement of Melissa Smith. Jessica Dickinson had previously served as the Recreation Director for the town of Union Vale and sees the transition to Pawling as an opportunity to explore a new challenge. “I met with Supervisor Schmitt and Councilman Bill Johnson, and we had a really great talk about the goals that Pawling has for their Rec Department, and the town in general,” says Dickinson. “I think the stars aligned that day. We not only had a great conversation, but also a lot of great ideas for the positive direction that we want things to go in for the town to thrive and be successful.”

Jessica Dickinson began working for the Union Vale Recreation Department in 2011 and was promoted to Director in 2016. Her experience with recreation departments dates back to her teenage years, growing up in Florida. “I started with recreation when I was 15-years-old,” she says. “I was a counselor in training, a camp counselor, and I ran a lot of after-school programs. Parks and Rec has always been a part of my life.”

As she settles into her new role in Pawling, Dickinson praises the Rec Department staff including Assistant Director Robyn Priano and team members Lori Corvell and Kristen Polgreen. Dickinson is also excited to discover the needs of the community. “Our plans are always based on what the community needs and wants,” she says. “I want to learn and assess what Pawling wants from their Recreation Department. I’ve jumped into a great team that already has some wonderful existing programs. Robyn has been great, and the team has really been encouraging me to lead them.”

Going forward, says Dickinson, the Pawling Recreation Department will continue to evolve with the needs of the community and continue the programs that have already been established: “We want to try new things, but also honor the programs that have existed in the past. We have a great summer camp program, and right now we’re really looking forward to Trick or Treat on the Village Streets.” Dickinson also plans to conduct a survey to assess the needs of Pawling’s seniors, as well as increase the Rec Department’s presence on social media to increase accessibility. Residents can now follow the Department on Instagram. There will also be a print newsletter published monthly.

“Pawling is a hidden gem,” Dickinson says. “There is so much potential here to challenge ourselves and our community. I’ve always thought of the Rec Department as a mirror of the community. We want people to be excited. That’s why I love this job – it’s unlimited.”

For more information on upcoming programs, visit online.