Community groups profit from race week
LOUDON — It’s been a long, hot week for 16-year-old Libby Brooks, who has been working a souvenir trailer at New Hampshire Motor Speedway during the Camping World RV Sales 301 race week.
But by the time Sunday night cleanup comes around, it will have been worth it, she says.
Because of their work in merchandising and sales this week, Brooks and her scout mates will bring home enough money to go to sea kayaking for a week off the coast of Maine later this summer. Last year they raised enough to go to the Grand Canyon.
“It’s been hot, but it was so totally worth it last year, I’m sure I’ll be feeling that way Sunday night,” she said with a smile.
Brooks and her fellow scouts from Venture Crew 55, a co-ed scout group from Farmington and Middleton, are among more than 3,000 volunteers with nonprofit organizations from New Hampshire and New England participating in race week, said Deb O’Neil, event staffing coordinator for the speedway.
The volunteers serve a variety of support functions at the speedway. The scouts from Venture Crew 55 run one of two speedway souvenir stands. Others are ushers, ticket sellers and takers, maintenance workers and hostesses, among many tasks.
“Every department on the property this weekend is supported by non-profit groups,” O’Neil said.
They come from scout and church groups, high school and college programs, and a few come from nonprofit groups on regional military bases, like a group supporting the 64th Air Refueling Squadron at the Pease Air National Guard Base in Newington.
The largest group this week comes Campbell High School in Litchfield, which will be sending 80 students to help support school athletic programs this weekend. The smallest group is two volunteers from the East Congregational Church in Concord.
In return, the groups leave with part of the hundreds of thousands of dollars the speedway donates back to the organizations for their work at the speedway’s two big race weeks.
“It can cost a lot to run an athletic program at a school, or a college fraternity, or a scouting troop, and the speedway gives back to the community, so it’s a win-win,” O’Neil said.
“The volunteers leave with valuable experience from their time with us,” she said. “And they’ll raise a lot more here than they would with a car wash or a raffle.”
As drivers took practice runs Thursday, Peter Cricones of Tyngsborough, Mass., was standing with some of his housemates from the Sigma Phi Omicron fraternity at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
They were working at the speedway to keep their house operating.
“It costs a lot to keep a big building going,” he said. “And this is really fun work.”