About The Dalton CRA

Our Mission

The Dalton Community Recreation Association’s mission is to build a sense of community by offering social, educational, recreational, cultural and wellness programs to the Central Berkshire community in a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment. We are a collaborative non-profit charitable organization open to all ages since 1923.

Our History

In 1908, W. Murray Crane funded the construction of the Dalton Youth Center (DYC) and upon his death in the early 20’s, his will requested the construction of the community house.  The house opened in 1923 and has been continuously operational since that time, delivering quality programs through the organization referred to as Dalton Community Recreation Association (CRA).

Present Day

The Dalton Community Recreation Association is non profit organization that provides recreational, social, cultural and educational services for people of all ages in the Central Berkshire Regional School District and neighboring towns.  We welcome anyone interested in attending any of the many events held at our two facilities, the Dalton Youth Center and the W. Murray Crane Community House.

The CRA is an active organization, always changing with the needs of our community.  In the early 20’s, when it first opened, it was a place where men and women could come to meet, learn, attend shows and swim, bowl and play basketball.  Over the years, although the mission and values have remained the same, the social, educational, cultural and recreational activities continually evolved.  Men and women no longer come in their separate entrances, and the men’s smoking room was removed a long time ago!

Today, the CRA offers approximately 100 programs to the youth and adults of our community, making it a community house in the truest sense of the word.  We place a strong emphasis on children and families, delivering after school care, sports and a wide variety of enrichment programs to our community.

One of the vital services we provide is the after school program at Craneville Elementary School and the Dalton Youth Center (DYC).  These programs offer a safe environment for the children of working parents, providing a place to study, be tutored and play with peers.

These services are also offered during school vacations, snow-days and summer vacation.

We offer many types of sports programs, all focusing on building teamwork, good sportsmanship, healthy exercise and fun.   Every season offers a choice of sports including soccer, football, cheerleading, basketball, lacrosse, softball and baseball. In most of these sports we offer a house league and, for the more competitive in nature, the travel league, which competes with towns in our county.

At the Youth Center, young adults are offered services such as tutoring, MCAS/SAT-prep classes, dances, clubs and many other age appropriate programs.  The Junior/Senior Leaders club brings our young people together for fun and community involvement.  All members of the club volunteer in various town activities, from helping with holiday parties, working concession stands and coaching sports to collecting coats for a coat drive or serving lunch to senior citizens.  The Big Buddies program matches middle school and high school students with elementary students who need a mentor or good role model.  In addition, two years ago we began a program for families with children with disabilities.  We have 30 special needs children from all over Berkshire County paired up with a big buddy who meet every Sunday to play gym games, soccer, baseball, swim, and dance, among other things.  Parents and siblings are encouraged to participate.

At the CRA, members of our community enjoy a fitness center, indoor pool, basketball court, racquetball courts and meeting rooms for various functions.  Since 1995 the Dalton CRA Wellness Center has been meeting the community’s fitness needs in many ways. A variety of options are offered, from Nautilus equipment to free weights, to a variety of fitness classes including yoga, dance, and muscle strengthening.   The Wellness Center also includes a personal trainer, post-rehabilitation therapy, and sport/specific personal training.  This June also marked the first anniversary of our co-location with Berkshire Physical Therapy and Wellness. They have been a great addition to our center and our customers have found it very convenient.

Our pool also offers a variety of services to keep our community safe and active.  We offer swim lessons to all ages, and the CRA is home to the Dalton Otters swim club.  Water aerobics and adult lap swim are two of our most popular time slots.  The CRA is also a very popular venue for birthday parties.  Combining use of the pool and a meeting room, families have plenty of room for cake and presents and swimming!

The basketball court is one of our multi-purposes rooms.  In addition to lunch-time basketball every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, it is used extensively in the winter by our youth basketball programs, and kids are often found shooting hoop after school.  We also use the area for our Kindergym program.  Kindergym meets twice a week to allow pre-school children the opportunity to play and social with friends.  Numerous exercise classes also held in this area.

And last, the CRA offers programs for families – from family counseling to holiday events such as the fishing derby, Easter egg hunt, Halloween parade and visits with Santa.  The CRA recognizes the fact that families have changed over the years and therefore, their needs have changed, as well.  We pride ourselves in our flexibility and our ability to adjust to our ever-changing environment.

All of this could not happen without the CRA’s most valued asset: our 1,200 volunteers. Time after time they step forward to provide whatever is needed to make the programs work. They are the backbone of this agency and a key ingredient in what makes our community the wonderful place it is to live and work.  If you have a special talent and would like to volunteer at the CRA, please call us.  Whether you have carpentry skills, accounting talents or enjoy working with children, we can use your help!

The Community Recreation Association funding comes from a variety of sources. For many years, the Town of Dalton has provided funds for youth sports and the summer parks program.  The CRA also receives generous funding from Berkshire United Way for many of our youth programs, including the Dalton Youth Center.  Grants from other local sponsors, memberships, fees, donations, and grants are the final source of our funding. Financial aid is available for families needing assistance. We encourage those who lack the funds to participate in our sports or camps to please contact the CRA about their needs.

The Community House, Dalton Youth Center and the associated grounds are owned and managed by the Winthrop Murray Crane Trust. Their support and commitment is truly appreciated by the CRA staff, Board, and members of our community.

The CRA is governed by a fifteen member Board of Governors that meets approximately ten times a year. The Executive Board of Governors, which is made up of the officers from the Board, meets on an as needed basis.