More than 50 volunteers got their hands dirty last Sunday during the West Hempstead Community Support Association’s annual cleanup at Hall’s Pond Park. Working with West Hempstead’s Boy Scout Troop 240 and local elected leaders such as State Sen. Todd Kaminsky and Assemblymen Brian Curran and Ed Ra, the group brought the community together to spruce up the 11-acre park, the largest in West Hempstead.
“We do this cleanup because Hall’s Pond is really a shining star in the community,” said Rosalie Norton, WHCSA’s president. She explained that taking part in a community cleanup has a positive impact on residents.
Other organizations that took part include the West Hempstead and Lakeview fire departments, the West Hempstead Education Association and the youth group at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in West Hempstead.
“We love this park, and we want to do our share to keep this community beautiful and teach the scouts the same,” said Scoutmaster Ivan Shinsato, who, along with Assistant Scoutmaster Nick Hoh, led the cleanup among their troops.
Eight years ago, Norton said, the civic association started the annual cleanup to maintain one of West Hempstead’s gems, bring residents together and promote community service. Throughout the year, the Boy Scouts also clean up the park before big events.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the town to get together and work for the betterment of the community,” said WHEA President and sixth-grade teacher Barbara Hafner.
Norton said she was pleased that so many parents and children took time out of their weekend to give back to the community. Receiving support and care from the community’s local elected leaders also played a key role in the cleanup, since they helped provide tools and garbage bags for the event.
“Because of their affiliation to groups like the Boy Scouts, these kids are already civic-minded,” said Curran, who has been a part of the annual cleanup for four years. “But events like this also add to the cultivation of that mindset and encourage the young kids around here to continue it when they’re older.”
“There’s nothing like good old-fashioned elbow grease when working to make the community better,” said Kaminsky, who is also a member of the Environmental Conservation Committee. “I think that doing something like this gives ownership of the community to the people.” He added that events like the park cleanup influence residents to be more conscious not only civically, but also environmentally.
Members of the West Hempstead Community Support Association agreed that the cleanup was a success and a strong representation of community pride.