In 2010 a small group Needham residents got together at a local café to chat about the need for a new Town pool. The Community Center of Needham grew out of that meeting of concerned citizens into an established non-profit organization (without walls) working collaboratively with diverse stakeholders to achieve its goals to have year-round swimming and increased recreational space for Needham residents.
Early on, the grass roots organization embarked on a "Listening and Learning" campaign to understand the needs of the town and explore existing resources. This process included examining other community models throughout New England, identifying public and private stakeholders and potential partners, and building relationships with local leaders. CCN identified three strategic objectives:
- to create year-round swimming capacity
- a safe gathering place for youth
- to increase community-wide recreational opportunities in Needham
CCN has put advocacy into action with the establishment of the New Pool So Cool campaign - helping to bring the need for a new pool and to build support for this project and to include year-round community space as part of the project. CCN has also helped build community with the Luminary Stroll, which joined forces in its fourth year (2015) with Needham Blue Tree Lighting and the Needham Business Association (NBA) Holiday Stroll to create Needham Lights-a larger community experience with a full day of activities for families and individuals in Needham Center.
In 2015, we launched our Open Gym initiative, offering a safe place to "hang out," play sports, and recreate without needing to sign up for a team during the winter months.