DIX HILLS, New York, November 13
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
Parents watching their children compete in the sports they love is arguably one of parenthood’s most satisfying feelings. Buying new equipment year after year as those children continue to grow, however, now that’s a different story.
“Having four children myself I know they can outgrow [equipment] quickly… In one season, or even growing out of it mid-season… It can be really expensive,” Huntington Councilwoman Susan Berland said. “The ‘Sport Swap’ provides an opportunity to swap something that doesn’t fit anymore for something that does.”
Having kicked off the swap on Nov. 3 at the Dix Hills Park Ice Rink, Berland partnered with the Huntington Youth Council to put together the second-annual “Sport Swap” – a slight alteration to the traditional “Skate Swap.” Now, any gently used sporting equipment – not just skating and hockey gear – can be brought to the ice rink in exchange for a voucher to be redeemed on Nov. 22. On that day, residents can come back to the rink from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., vouchers in hand, to shop, swap and socialize. Those unable to donate equipment can receive a voucher with a $5 donation per item purchased.
“We thought this was an awesome opportunity to give students the chance to, instead of buying new equipment, trade it in for something new,” Rachel Anszelowicz, a junior at Half Hollow Hills High School East and co-supervisor of the Huntington Youth Council, which organized the swap, said. “This is great, not only to help athletes, but to help people who can’t necessarily afford new equipment.”
All of the proceeds generated by the Sport Swap will be donated to a charity chosen by the Huntington Youth Council.
“This really gets the community to come together,” Annie Nikunen, deputy supervisor of the youth council and a junior at Northport High School, said. “We [at the youth council] love to be a part of the community and to immersive ourselves with in it… We’re like the voices for our peers, and it’s a great opportunity to help others.”
Anszelowicz and Nikunen, both 16 years old, have been a part of the youth council since their freshman years. Founded in 2003 by Berland, the youth council is made up of students from high schools throughout the Town of Huntington that meet twice a month to discuss opportunities for events – like the Sport Swap – to engage the community in local issues.
“They’re really an incredible group of kids who are involved in 100 different things and do everything well,” Berland said. “They care about the town and really want to make a difference… It’s important to get them involved with local politics early on so that they realize that they really can make a difference.”
Originally published: Long Islander News: Half Hollow Hills
(Thursday, November 13, 2014; A26)