From lacrosse sticks and baseball mitts to Hula-Hoops and jump ropes, all were available for free to visitors stopping by Red Creek Park in Hampton Bays on Sunday morning.In an effort to help make the park’s amenities more accessible to everyone, members of Girl Scout Troop 468 have assembled a sports equipment cart, a converted grocery store shopping cart filled to its brim with donated sports equipment to be used throughout the Hampton Bays recreational facility.
“If someone comes to the park and they forget a soccer ball or something, they can come here, write their name down and take a soccer ball,” said Emma Naclerio, one of the Scouts. “Then they bring it back when they’re done.”
The cart is the Hampton Bays Troop’s project for the Bronze Award, the highest honor that can be earned by those in the Girl Scout Juniors.
Members of the eight-member troop, all fifth-graders at the Hampton Bays Middle School, came up with the idea about six months ago, according to Troop Leader Liz Scully. Ms. Scully, whose daughter, Saorla, is a member of the outfit, explained that the original idea was to establish a cart that would become a permanent fixture inside the park.
But the Southampton Town Board nixed that idea, citing the fact that such a cart would require a town employee to operate and manage it, an expense that the town was not ready to take on, Ms. Scully said.
“But they didn’t give up,” she said, referring to troop members. “They said, ‘What if we do it ourselves? How can we do it ourselves?’ It changed the way they approached it.”
Troop members decided to press on, getting Stop & Shop to donate a shopping cart and soliciting gently used equipment from other Girl Scouts, as well as family and friends. Eventually, they acquired a variety of balls, rackets and other pieces of equipment to complement the park’s facilities.
Emma, Saorla and their fellow Scouts—Abigail Galvan, Cassidy Moore, Holly Anderson, Katerina Reich, Jamie Moore and Grace Grimes—set the cart up in the park on Sunday and handed out equipment as part of the cart’s maiden voyage. Jamie could not attend Sunday’s event.
Ms. Scully said the goal is to find volunteers who can man the cart on the weekends, possibly rotating that duty with other Girl Scout troops, although those details still need to be worked out.
Because the cart is not a full-time element of the park, the girls also had to contribute something else that will provide a perpetual benefit for the community. So, they also raised money to buy the park’s first set of bike racks.
Troop members raised the necessary $500 by painting the faces of children attending this year’s Hampton Bays St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The bike racks are due to arrive later this summer.
“I think we work well together,” Saorla said. “And I think it’s great that we’re doing something to help our community.”