Smoke-Free Zones: Rockingham Free Public Library

Announcing the launch of our latest video, which promotes the Smoke-Free Zone at the Rockingham Public Library.

Learn about the impact of the Smoke-Free Zone at the Rockingham Free Public Library. In this edition, Celina Houlne and Sam Maskell are interviewed by Greater Falls Connections’ Scott Sharland. To get your very own Smoke-Free Zone sign, contact Greater Falls Connections at scott (at) or call us at 802-463-9927 x213.

Thanks to all the following businesses, schools, and public places that participated:
Greater Falls Pharmacy
Rockingham Medical Group and Squeaky Sneakers
Lisai’s Market
Shona Grill
Windham Northeast Supervisory Union (WNESU)
Rockingham Parks and Recreation

Thanks to FACT TV and Alex Stradling for filming this video. Thanks to Eileen Katchen for the great photography work. Video edited by Scott Sharland and Dominic Farinoli.

Park-a-Palooza 3 – Thank You!

Thank you for another successful Park-a-Palooza!

On Behalf of Greater Falls Connections, parent and youth organizers, we would like to share an ecstatic thank you to the many people, businesses and organizations that contributed to the Park-a-Palooza Neighborhood Block Party on Saturday, June 28th in Bellows Falls. Now in its third year, Park-a-Palooza is a completely community-driven, old school, crazy-fun block party. Festivities again took place at the Central Elementary School playground and included: A potato-sack race, jellybean contest, bicycle-powered smoothies, apple-bob contest, face painting, dodgeball, baseball bat spin-off and a water balloon “throw-down.” Plus, with a little help from our friends at the Bellows Falls Fire & Police Departments, kids and adults were able to cool off and play around a gushing fire hydrant.


Thanks to our two Grill Masters, Rose Smith and Marcy Fazzolare, as well as the numerous people who brought food, people were able to eat and snack all day long.

Thank you to the following local businesses, community organizations and individuals for your generous contributions and involvement that were vital to the day’s success: The Moose, Lisai’s Market, Parks Place Community Resource Center, United Natural Foods, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Youth Services, Windham Northeast Supervisory Union, Bellows Falls Community Bike Project, the Fatherhood Project, Hannaford’s, Brattleboro Food Co-Op, and the VT Liquor Store in Bellows Falls.

Through creative play using the games our parents and grandparents taught us, Park-a-Palooza is another example of community-driven change in action. Community-led activities such as this build trust and create connection. Not to mention, a whole lot of laughter.

We thank everyone involved for creating a fun, positive and meaningful day.


A.C.E. Brings Sunshine to Greater Falls

As I sit next to the window, soaking in as much sunshine as humanly possible (finally, yes!), I’m struck with how much sunshine we’ve got right here in our community. Cheesy analogy, sure, but it needs to be said from time to time. I’ll own the cheese.

Last week, Greater Falls Connections announced our second A.C.E. Award recipient. What’s A.C.E. you ask? In an effort to recognize the inspired, positive action happening every day, we created the Active Community Engagement (A.C.E.) Award. A.C.E. recipients are the unsung heroes within our community who foster positive change and are dedicated to creating safe, healthy and fun options for youth, families and the community at large.

Makes sense, right? So who’s our March A.C.E.? Congratulations goes to Sam Maskell, Youth Services Librarian for the Rockingham Free Public Library (RFPL). 

Deb Witkus (left) presenting Sam Maskell (right) the A.C.E. Award.

Deb Witkus (left) presenting Sam Maskell (right) the A.C.E. Award.

Sam started as a part-time assistant in 2001. As the Youth Services Librarian, her role is to support youth from birth through adult-transitioning become curious, engaged members of the community. Sam oversees the Youth Department programs, which fosters creativity and leadership. The Teen Advisory Council meets monthly and plans various activities and programs at the library. Programs include: an annual lock-in, Teen Tech Week, “Magic” tournaments and Teen Tabletop Game Nights. Sam sees libraries as “community centers” and “moving from passive to proactive” institutions within communities. In addition to making sure the collection of youth books are “fun and inspire learning,” Sam is determined to making sure “information is available anywhere” by maintaining an active web, social media and instant message presence.

“Sam is committed to providing a safe, welcoming and judgment-free environment for our young people. She is generous, creative and has a huge amount of integrity,” says Deb Witkus, Parent Outreach Coordinator.

Sam’s passion and love for the library is unwavering. But it is her commitment to youth and the community that make her an A.C.E. Congrats to Sam Maskell and the entire Rockingham Free Public Library.

Stay sunny Greater Falls!
The ChadderBox