2010-07-16 / Letters

Poor Start For Jump Start

Dear Editor,

I volunteered my services as a coach for the Jump Start Basketball Camp because I thought this was a good thing for the community. Rockaway’s first ever co-ed day camp for children, kindergarten through eighth grade, turned out to be quite a success for the approximately 150 participants. Not so for their parents.

Registration started out on Monday at 8:30 a.m. At approximately 8:35 a.m., when there were about 75 cars parked along the road, a National Park Service supervisor drove up to tell me that these people couldn’t park there. I tried to explain that they were parents registering their children but to no avail. He summoned the Park Police who responded within a few minutes. By that time there were more parents and cars. Police Officer Debbie Pecoraro, who was “just doing her job,” began writing summonses. I pleaded with her to be reasonable and I believe she used sound judgment. She got in her car and over the loud speaker announced for everyone to move their cars or she would ticket them. She even got out of her car to verbally let the parents know. The day ended with a thunderstorm right before dismissal, so you can imagine the chaos, one hundred and fifty parents and kids running around trying to avoid the rain.

Day two began with Police Officer Pecoraro “just doing her job” while she already had three cars pulled over and their identification collected. I again went over to speak to her. She insisted that we should have had someone in the area to prevent these people from entering “do not enter” area. I agreed and asked her if it

Letters would not have been more prudent of her to put her vehicle there and prevent this as well. I could see it in her eyes that she had had enough of me. In her defense, I believe she didn’t issue the tickets and acted with prudence.

Dismissal was a lot better on day two because Mother Nature cooperated. After four hours in the sun everyone was spent. Enter the National Park Service cleanup crew with two trucks and dispersed about six seasonal workers to empty garbage cans and pick up what was left behind. The supervisor was complaining to another volunteer of the mess we had left. He said he has 1,000 firemen and they left less of a mess. I’ll have to admit, when I got involved in this conversation I didn’t choose my words too carefully and wouldn’t print them anyway. I’m certain we will be admonished on day three.

My point is this – can we have an event that is positive for the children of our neighborhood with cooperation from all necessary department supervisors without creating a mess? My guess is better planning. Good luck trying to get a permit, a Park Police official and a Park Service Supervisor in the same room for the common purpose of having a good experience.

Happy trails,

COACH “UNCLE BOB LECKIE”

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