G.C. Youth Bureau fundraiser aims to help sports programs


From fostering physical fitness to instilling life skills, youth sports offer myriad benefits that extend far beyond the playing field. They help develop character, mental and physical well-being and a sense of community. And funding youth sports has always been a priority for Spiro Tsirkas, executive director of Glen Cove’s Youth Services and Recreation.
The third annual fundraiser for the Glen Cove Youth Bureau is scheduled for April 4. Organized by Tsirkas and City Councilman Kevin Maccarone, the event aims to raise money to support youth sports programs in the community, ensuring young athletes’ access to quality facilities and equipment.
The fundraiser will honor people who have made significant contributions to youth sports in Glen Cove. Among the honorees will be Sal Basile, for his work in baseball and softball; Bob Panzenbeck, junior basketball; Bob Weimer, junior football and cheer; Doug Schneider, junior lacrosse; and Ken Pilla, junior soccer. In addition, David Huggins will be presented with a lifetime achievement award.
Reflecting on the motivation for resurrecting the event, which had not been held for two decades until 2022, Tsirkas said that when it comes to improving Glen Cove’s athletic facilities, the city has been a tremendous help, but it often has to prioritize other projects. This year, the fundraiser will make a difference in the lives of over 1,000 of the city’s young people, who play baseball, football, soccer and lacrosse on teams that operate as independent organizations.
The Youth Bureau also offers other services, such as summer youth employment, after-school and summer programs, and mentorships.

“The Youth Bureau’s position has always been working closely with the city and finding out what the city’s needs are,” Tsirkas said. “We’re the first ones to know — God forbid — if there’s a fire or an eviction where families need extra help, or whatever the case might be. We’re there to assist the families. We’ve grown a culture of being there for the community”
He added, of the fundraiser, “We try to make it a fun night for everyone. There’s nothing nicer than seeing some of these athletes honoring their coaches from 15 years ago.”
Huggins has helped coach many of the city’s sports teams, and founded the junior lacrosse club nearly 30 years ago. He played on the teams as a young athlete, and understands how big an impact sports can have on youth. He grew up without a father, and as he got older, he wanted to make sure that he would available to help not only his own children, but others as well.
“I try to make every kid who plays for me be seen, whether the parents are there or not,” Huggins said. “My team isn’t about winning championships or winning trophies; they’re about the kids having fun, and learning the game so they can get better as they get older — and they become the best version of themselves.”
Over the past two years, the fundraiser has brought in $50,000, a testament to the community’s commitment to youth sports. The money has been used for the installation of sprinkler systems at the city stadium, the acquisition of industrial-strength blowers to clean fields of goose droppings, and the purchase of fencing and equipment used to clean baseball fields. Additionally, each sports team has received $2,000 last year to buy equipment or fund scholarships for low-income athletes.
Looking ahead, the Youth Bureau’s plans include upgrading restrooms at the baseball fields, installing LED lights at Pascucci Field, and erecting scoreboards.
As Tsirkas points out, maintaining youth services has become increasingly challenging, and the fundraiser’s return for a third year symbolizes not only a celebration of the city’s sports activities, but its enduring spirit of unity and support.
The event will be held on April 4, at 6 p.m., at the Crescent Beach Club, at 333 Bayville Avenue in Bayville. Tickets are $125 per person, which includes dinner. Raffle tickets will be sold separately.