Nuffort honored for four decades of service to recCenter

By on November 29, 2017

Dick Nuffort has been a driving force at the Lititz recCenter for 42 years. Photo by Laura Knowles

It was back in the mid-1970s, when Dick Nuffort would pick up his son from childcare at the Lititz Community Center.

The building was small, a donation to the community from Elmer H. Bobst, chairman of the board of directors of the Warner-Lambert Pharmaceutical Company, dating back to the early 1960s. It was located right next to Lititz Springs Park, a convenient spot.

“Other than that, it didn’t seem to serve much purpose, other than to have rooms for meetings,” Nuffort recalls. “There was no gym, no room for activities.”

Around that time, the community center was looking for board members. Nuffort decided to volunteer, hoping to make a difference.

Four decades later, the board members, administration, staff and community seem to agree that he has. Last week, Nuffort was honored with a plaque marking his 42 years of service to the Lititz recCenter, once known as the Lititz Community Center.

He joined the board in 1975, and has served as president and chairman of the building and fundraising steering committee. He is currently serving as vice president of the board, and also volunteers with the Lititz AMBUCS and the Warwick Education Foundation.

“Back in the ‘70s, we were new to the area and I think that was helpful in guiding the Lititz recCenter over the years,” says Nuffort, who moved from northern New Jersey with his wife Eleanor. Their three children, Matthew, Caroline and Kathleen, all went to the childcare program at the recCenter and swam on the Five Star Swim Team.

Nuffort has been an attorney with Zimmerman, Pfannebecker, Nuffort & Albert, LLP, in Lancaster and Lititz, since 1972. The family has been an integral part of the Lititz community and now have three grandchildren, with one on the way.

Nuffort’s first impressions of the Lititz Community Center served him well, as he and other board members began to consider a new building for a true recreational center. It would be a place for dance classes and basketball, a place where youngsters could learn to swim and run and play in early childcare programs.

“We started a steering committee, with members who included John Bonfield, Roy Clair, Gene Clair, Bob Hershey, Jim Yerger, and others,” he recalls.

By the 1980s, the new Lititz Community Center wasn’t just a concept. It was really going to happen. In 1984, the growth in the Lititz population and the popularity of indoor sports and recreation prompted community surveys to see what was wanted.

That turned out to be a 44,000-square-foot facility with an indoor pool. In May of 1987, groundbreaking for the $1.5 million Lititz Community Center building began on land leased from Lititz Borough behind Warwick High School. In June of 1989, the community center moved from Lititz Springs Park to its current location.

That was just the beginning for Nuffort and other members of the community center board. Over the years, the center flourished and served the needs of the community.

“I’m guessing that just about every kid who grew up in Lititz learned to swim in that pool,” says Nuffort. “Including my own children.”

By the late 1990s, the Lititz Community Center was suffering growing pains. The community was looking for more and the center wasn’t keeping up. They needed to renovate, expand and look toward the future.

Nuffort credits the board’s choice of hiring Karen Mailen as executive director in 2003. The center was struggling and Mailen was a breath of fresh air, with her energy and professionalism.

“She came from Lebanon County and had worked at the Y there. She took a walk through the Lititz center and saw ways it could be improved. She wasn’t as close to it as we were, and she could be more objective,” says Nuffort, adding that Mailen immediately noticed that the center had become faded and worn over time.

That’s when the Lititz Community Center launched a $2 million renovation and expansion project that would become a reinvestment in the Lititz community.

Nuffort and other board members appealed to the community and to local municipalities to support the expansion.

In September 2005, the newly renovated and renamed Lititz recCenter was dedicated with a state-of-the-art fitness center. The emphasis was on recreation.

By January 2010, Phase I continued with doubling the size of the fitness center to 6,000-square-feet. The swimming area was expanded with a second indoor pool, providing the community with a $2.5 million pool expansion with an eight-lane main pool and a new splash pool with four lanes and a water play area.

“It’s amazing to see all the changes and improvements over the years,” says Nuffort, who frequents the recCenter for basketball in the gym and exercise in the fitness center, while his wife participates in everything from swimming to spinning to body flow yoga.

They haven’t taken up the popular pickleball yet, but as Nuffort says, “It’s looks like something we would like. Everyone seems to be having a lot of fun.”

With programs for all ages, such as childcare, aquatic classes, funZone activities, basketball, a cardio center, functional training center, massage therapy, and much more, the Lititz recCenter continues to grow.

In January 2017, the Lititz recCenter opened Lititz recROC, located at 201 Rock Lititz Boulevard, Suite 11, which includes a 15-foot high boulder with over 2,000-square-feet of climbing space.

“What makes me most proud of the Lititz recCenter is that no family is turned away. If someone can’t afford a membership, there is a scholarship fund that quietly makes that possible,” says Nuffort. “It’s great to be a part of a center that serves the community so well.”

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the Record Express. She can be reached at lknowles21@gmail.com.

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