Hitchcock Free Academy has stood at the corner of Brookfield Road and Route 20 in Brimfield since 1855. It strives to be a vital part of the community by reacting and adapting to changing times. With the turn of the season comes new challenges and, as always, Hitchcock meets them with some innovative ways to enjoy favorite activities.
With the weather becoming cooler it is time to bring Outdoor Yoga indoors. Beginning September 21 practitioners can savor the relaxation and revitalization of a Sharon Palmer yoga class at home. All that is needed are a mat and a WiFi connection and for one hour and 15 minutes, from 7:15 to 8:30 pm on Monday evenings, yogis can flow into the rest of the work week. Online yoga is just one way Hitchcock Academy has adjusted to the guidelines dictated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Did your family recently acquire a new canine member? Put your relationship on a firm foundation by signing up for Buddies Dog Training with Laurie Merritt at Hitchcock Academy in Brimfield. Classes begin on Wednesday, February 3 and lessons stress positive training methods and problem solving strategies for dogs of any age. Get the most from being a pet owner by learning from an expert the best way to guide your animal into the behavior patterns that form a solid foundation for a happy life together. For the dog owner looking to expand their canine’s skills Merritt offers progressive training in the sport of K9 Nosework® on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings.
Hitchcock Academy presents a fabulous social distancing community event just in time for February vacation. It’s a car based Scavenger Hunt, sponsored by West Wind Farm in Brimfield. The Hunt is a fun adventure for friends and families, which will lead them throughout Brimfield and the surrounding towns to earn points. Some of the clues are easy, but all of the clues will make you think while you learn local lore and visit areas of geographical interest. Teams will be given February vacation week to complete the hunt to accommodate for any weather event that may pop up. Although the expectation is that no team will get every clue, the adventure is set up to bring maximum enjoyment. Prizes will be awarded to the top five highest scoring teams. Some clues will get an automatic entry into a raffle. The list of clues will be emailed to teams and teams will have until 5 pm, Saturday, February 20 to finish.
Don’t let the cold weather dampen your enthusiasm for getting out and trying new things. Hitchcock Academy in Brimfield has plenty on its upcoming roster of classes to get your juices flowing in March. With both in house and online offerings, hitchcockacademy.org is sure to have an activity to pique your interest.
Looking to connect with your inner self? Hitchcock has classes in Mindfulness Meditation, Pilates, and Yoga to help you throw off your winter fog. Beginning on March 2 and continuing over the next four weeks Instructor Annette Farrington will be your online guide to forming Mindfulness Meditation practices which will help you deal with and manage your stress level. On March 15, a new session of online Yoga begins with the ever popular Sharon Palmer. As a Certified Kripalu Yoga teacher Palmer can help anyone, from fledgling to veteran, to progress in the discipline of Hatha Yoga. The one and a quarter hour sessions are sure to relax, rejuvenate and reinvigorate your body and your psyche. Pilates, with seasoned instructor Karen Larsen, gives you eight sessions of a world recognized exercise system geared to improve flexibility, posture, balance, and strength. Most importantly, Pilates targets and builds the core muscles, which are essential to lifelong health. This is an in person class.
Brimfield, MA, February 26, 2020
The Trustees of Hitchcock Free Academy are pleased to announce the hiring of Cynthia Skowyra as the new Executive Director of the Academy. Skowyra takes over from Sue Gregory, who retires from the position on February 29 after a tenure of over 30 years. Skowyra enjoys significant personal history with the Academy and says, “Hitchcock Academy has long held a special place in my heart … For many years I attended Girl Scout meetings, which is where I first learned about community and serving others, and I participated in the summer recreation program, learning tennis, which became an integral part of my own high school experience. I was even,” she notes, “the recipient of a Hitchcock Academy Scholarship.”
By Sharon Palmer
Certified 500-hr Kripalu Yoga Teacher
Certified Let Your Yoga Dance Teacher
My very first Yoga class, with Joan Allen at Hitchcock Free Academy (over 25 years ago) was so relaxing that I fell soundly asleep in the relaxation at the end of the class! I loved it, but thought I was too busy for regular Yoga classes. Years later, with three young children at home, I signed up for a 6-week session with Jane Anable, who was then the Yoga teacher at HFA. I remember the evening of the first class: for some reason (can’t imagine why!) supper was delayed, the kids were making a stink because we were having broccoli, I got out of the house later than I’d planned, and as I opened the door to the Yoga room at Hitchcock, class had already started. I was about to turn around and leave when Jane said to me, “Come on in! There’s a place for you right here!” And that was it. Yoga has been part of my life ever since.
A Change in Leadership on the Horizon After Years of Evolution at Area Community Center When Susan Gregory started working at Hitchcock Free Academy in 1989, cake decorating was a big trend. Like all trends, it had its run, and in time, slowly faded away. “Recently someone came to me and introduced the idea of cake decorating as a new thing. I laughed. Life is cyclical.”