Located in the small Catskill hamlet of Pine Hill in rural northwestern Ulster County, the Pine Hill Community Center aims to be a place of connection by providing community-building activities that nurture creativity and life-long growth. As with many community centers, its programs are broad in scope and offer something for everyone. In 2022, the center saw about 9,000 in-person visits, plus about 3,000 virtual visits, serving people from the immediate vicinity as well as from neighboring hamlets and farther afield.
Pine Hill Community Center offers formal and informal activities six days per week. It hosts a range of weekly exercise and wellness classes, including in-person and online options, such as yoga, chair exercise, and meditation. It also offers language classes, including Spanish for Beginners and English classes, and several activities that combat isolation, particularly among seniors, such as potlucks, seasonal events, and social circles. For children and youth, the center offers after-school, school break, and summer programming. Kids and teens can also access books, arts and craft supplies, and air hockey, ping pong, and pool tables during the center’s open hours. For families, the center coordinates caregiver/child activities and game nights.
The center provides abundant ways to engage in the arts either as a supporter or a maker. Offerings include painting classes, sewing and knitting groups, and pottery classes with multiple kilns onsite. Visitors can view works in the center’s gallery or participate in a regular schedule of musical events including concerts, jams, and other opportunities to hear and make music.
Supporting community access to additional resources is another important function of the center. Free wi-fi and tablets are available for visitors to use on site. It routinely provides space for staff from government entities, such as the Ulster County Office for the Aging, and other nonprofits to meet with local residents. It provides its indoor space to the Phoenicia Farmer’s Market for its winter market, which accepts SNAP food benefits, and it operates a thrift store and provides a market space for local vendors to sell their wares. The center is a key participant in a working group of residents, businesses, and town government focused on assessing community needs, including housing, and finding ways to address them.
In 2022, the Dyson Foundation made a renewed general operating support grant to the Pine Hill Community Center to support this important community resource.