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Kelley Dole: Hanover's Teacher, Health Guru & Radio Host Tells All

Apr 06, 2017 06:44PM ● Published by Victoria Pipas

If you’ve lived in the Upper Valley long enough, you probably know several community members who typify this locale—certain names and faces that turn up again and again at events, on local boards, and working for organizations and as volunteers. They are the ones who live and breathe the Upper Valley.

Kelley Dole is one of them. You might recognize her voice from radio or recall her bubbly energy from an exercise class at one of several gyms. Maybe one of your kids has been a friend of one of hers or your dog has made friends with hers on a local trail. Whether you know Kelley personally or only from a distance, she is one of those quintessential Upper Valley community members who epitomize the values of this place.

Kelley moved to the Upper Valley in 1996 with her family. She recalls that a big draw was an environment that offered indoor and outdoor recreational resources for her three very active children, the youngest of whom is now a senior at Kimball Union Academy.

Her children are now grown, but Kelley continues to enjoy the opportunities available for outdoor exercise. Some of her favorites include cycling, rowing on the Connecticut River, and hiking or running on local trails. She also cites the landscape and clean air in the Granite State and the Green Mountain State as critical to her well-being. Most of all, she declares that her friends make these places special.

In her working roles, Kelley has touched nearly every way of life in the Upper Valley. She says, “My career path has been incredibly blessed with variety and with the most amazing people,” many she also considers lifelong friends. Her UV career path began in the late ’90s at the CCBA in Lebanon where she was a fitness and spinning instructor.

Since that position, Kelley has maintained close ties to the CCBA, whose mission is to serve all members of the community in their pursuit of a healthy and balanced lifestyle. This way of living was clearly important to Kelley, who maintained a part-time position there for 11 years. Indeed, her time at the CCBA offered a holistic family experience.

“My kids enjoyed the child care, swimming, and their CCBA friends,” she shares, while she found fulfillment in her work with a group of teenagers with autism spectrum disorder and in other instructor positions over the years. Her children’s experience closely paralleled hers at the CCBA, and on service days they often went to work with her as her “assistants.”

Teaching children has always been important to Kelley. She translated her own health and wellness practices into health and P.E. classes for children in kindergarten through eighth grade at a local private school. Later, she fulfilled her desire to teach science by attending the Upper Valley Teacher Institute and earning certification in middle school general science. This led to a hiatus from the fitness world as she taught science at Hartford Middle School, the Ray School, Richmond Middle School, and Hanover High in both full-time and substitute roles.

Kelley’s passion for educating young people and her enthusiasm for the natural world have had a lasting impact on dozens of young Upper Valley community members. Anyone who has passed through her classroom will recall the positive energy with which she imparts knowledge. For Kelley, learning about the world around us is a critical step toward understanding our own place in it, and children are the most important audience for such a philosophy.

About four years ago, Kelley decided to bring this life philosophy back to the Upper Valley community at large. She found platforms for her practice in a return to the health and fitness world, as well as in a new undertaking in the world of radio, which she calls her “radio journey.”

Kelley joined a team that launched what is now the Upper Valley’s local community station, The River (106.7), and she attributes much of her personal development as a radio host to that original team. “I owe my growth and successes starting out to all my friends at The River,” she says. Now in her third year in radio, Kelley has hosting down to an art form. Her calm, steady voice and clear opinions make the in-between bits just as good as the music.

But Kelley’s easy-going manner as a host is not effortless. She lists the most important qualities for a radio host: guts, confidence, good public speaking, clear diction, and creativity. An appealing radio voice is supported by the work that goes on inside a host’s mind, namely, “the ability to condense information into compelling and poignant delivery inside short breaks of time.”

In anywhere from 5 to 60 seconds, a host needs to capture our attention, deliver an interesting tidbit of information or a response to what was just played, and then introduce the next item. It’s a delicate balance between performing and observing out loud. Kelley calls this skill sharpness and says, “You have to be sharp enough for a listener to stay on your channel and not drop you in a split second for another.” And for Kelley, listener response is the true reward. “Connecting people to good music they like and want to sing and move to is what we are all about. Life without good music just isn’t life,” she says.

Kelley is now a member of the River Valley Club fitness team, where she is a personal trainer, spin instructor, and host at the front desk. She has moved to The Point for a Sunday show, where you can hear her from 11am to 2pm at 103.1FM or stream the show online anytime at pointfm.com.

Kelley’s passion for health and for giving back to the Upper Valley community comes full circle in her radio work. Her show always includes a research-based health and fitness feature, further affirming her belief in the importance of being a “lifelong learner in all aspects.” In fact, Kelley’s philosophy of life coincides nicely with the five words she produced when asked to summarize the Upper Valley: simple, clean, resource-filled, friendly, and vibrant. Thanks to Kelley and people like her, those words will describe the Upper Valley for years to come.

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