August 20, 2014 | 858 views
Town rec aides enjoying summer gigs
Town parks are a hotbed of activity over the summer, as Wantagh and Seaford residents head out in full force to enjoy the outdoors.
With the Town of Hempstead hosting a variety of activities for children in July and August, someone has to make sure that they are safe and having a good time. Those are the summer recreation aides, seasonal workers who are typically high school and college students.
Throughout the town, there are dozens of summer workers who help out with the summer programs, including arts and crafts, cheerleading, archery, street hockey and a variety of other sports.
“It’s good work for in between school years,” said Rich Marte, 23, of Wantagh, who has worked eight summers at Forest City Community Park. He just graduated from SUNY Cortland with a degree in exercise science, so supervising children in sports is right up his alley.
Marte was at Seaman’s Neck Park in Seaford last week, watching his kids compete in the annual street hockey tournament against teams from across the town. Many of the children come back to play year after year, so he has gotten to know them well. “We’re here for them,” he said.
While Marte is a veteran employee now, 17-year-old Connor Greene, who will be entering his senior year at MacArthur High School, spent the summer working at Forest City for the first time. He coached hockey two days a week, and also did some landscaping.
Greene used to play hockey with a youth league in Bethpage, so he was able to share his expertise with the children. “I like teaching kids, showing them what I know about hockey,” he said. “They’re energetic. I like seeing them grow as hockey players.”
Working as a recreation aide was Greene’s first summer job and he said he enjoyed it. He liked his co-workers and plans to return next year.
Alexi Lee, 17, a senior at Seaford High School, was a first-time recreation aide at Seaman’s Neck Park, also her first summer job. She helped keep the park clean and worked with children.
Barbara Simms, the town’s recreation director, said there is a supervisor at each park, and then a handful of aides. “They’re our backbone,” she said. “We couldn’t run the programs without them.”