TOWNSEND-- Even in chaotic situations, Emy Hoff knows how to juggle her task load with a smile on her face. In addition to having four children ranging in ages between 3 and 18 and having maintained a long-term career in hospitality customer service and marketing, she and her husband Dan Shine have been renovating their over-200-year-old farmhouse for years, including adding an apartment for her parents, who co-own the house. So when she applied for the position of recreation director for Townsend, it wasn't just her impressive career resume that drew the Recreation Commission to her.

"They wanted to find somebody that would really be able to focus on outreach and visibility, someone to have business mindset that is looking for long-term forward momentum. I'm looking to build that momentum that is far-reaching so things start handling themselves basically," said Hoff. "The job is 15 hours a week, which is not a lots of hours to get a whole lot done, so they needed someone with my energy level."

"That's one of the things we really, truly liked about her -- that she has that enthusiasm," said Sharon Whittier, chairwoman of the Recreation Commission. "She's very personable, very gung-ho. She wants to get out there, she wants to start doing things."

Hoff was officially appointed to the position at the Board of Selectmen meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 11. Within her first two days on the job, she already had her hands full with networking and brainstorming new concepts to introduce to the commission.


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"I'm in my learning curve. I'm doing the absolute best I can to reach out to as many people as I possibly can as quickly as I possibly can to look at what's been successful and see what we can do to expand it, see where we can push it," said Hoff.

Hoff, a self-described "townie," has lived in Townsend since she was 10 and plans to be here long-term. Deciding that she needed a change from her previous career as a director of sales and marketing for a hotel, she knew she wanted to do something that she could help mold and that would also reflect her strong family and community values.

"I was corporately burned out...I needed to go back to work but I didn't want to get my soul sucked out of me again. I wanted to build something, not recycle someone else's something. I wanted to give back and build an adventure, be a party of the community spirit," she said.

Already Hoff has begun developing a program she calls PREP-- professional recreation education program, which will utilize the skills of the people in the community to introduce new classes, as well as give the instructors an outlet to practice their interests. She is looking to introduce sessions ranging from photography classes to garage band jam sessions. A winter golf clinic is already in the works, she said.

"It's all about people and their talents and passions. Not everyone has the benefit of loving what they do," said Hoff. "My goal with PREP is to partner with knowledgeable (business people) and their resources to put together classes, events and programs that benefit the whole community. For people who don't have time to do everything but would love to give a piece of what they can, it's a way to showcase their talents, their skills and their gifts, and bring them to kids all the way from 2 to 202."

In addition, Hoff said, she values the wide range of knowledge that others can offer.

"I'm really good at...accepting my own restrictions. I'm a lover of learning and I'm always up for others' input and expertise. There's a whole lot of people who know a whole lot more than I do," she said.

Hoff also hopes to have a town-wide brainstorming session for residents 12 and up to see what kinds of courses people are looking for, and what kinds of skills people are looking to offer.

"I love the collective energy that happens when people brainstorm together...There are a lot of people out there who are hungry for the same kind of community I'm hungry for," she said.

As for feeling nervous about her new career, Hoff said she is more excited than anything.

"I've got two teenage daughters, my parents are living with me, and we're just trying to make it in today's crazy world. I've got nothing to be nervous about," she said.

For more information about upcoming Recreation Commission events, Hoff can be contacted at ehtownrec@yahoo.com.