By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(March 21, 2019) Participants in the SABERS program of Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services hope to secure grant money to improve Dr. William Henry Park in Berlin.
Worcester Youth’s Youth Programs Coordinator Tiffany Scott, during a March 5 Berlin Parks Commission meeting, said she was approached about attending the upcoming “Youth Environmental Action Summit” hosted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In meeting with organizers, Scott said SABERS participants were invited to “take on an environmental project that’s important to them.”
“SABERS” is short for Strengthening Adolescent Boys with Education and Resources, and is a two-year program for local seventh and eighth graders.
“They would write a proposal for it and then, in April, they’re having a summit at the Ward Museum,” Scott said. “All the kids from all across the counties will come there and present it, and they basically made it sound like everybody is going to get funding.”
Scott said she presented the project to SABERS participants as an optional activity.
“They decided that they wanted to do it and something that was important to them is Henry Park,” she said.
The boys apparently had a short list of improvements they wanted to make, which parks commission members helped to refine. The commission endorsed the project.
Then, on March 11, the Berlin Town Council voted to approve a grant application for a rain garden, signage, and solar trash compactors at Henry Park.
Scott told councilmembers the SABERS participants quickly took to the idea.
“The first thing that they said is, ‘We want to do some things out at Henry Park,’ because they play a lot of basketball out there,” she said. “We jumped in a van and we all rolled over to Henry Park that day, and they showed us some things out there that they wanted to change.”
Scott said the rain garden would help with flooding issues on the court, and Maryland Coastal Bays would be a partner in implementing that project.
“When you shoot the ball out there, there’s a big puddle if it floods and the ball gets wet, and, of course, nobody wants to play basketball when the ball is wet.” She said. “Easy fix – a rain garden … so it will soak up that water and they will no longer have that problem.”
Scott said signs could help reduce littering that sometimes hinders the court, while a solar-powered trash compactor would “encourage recycling, along with throwing away trash.”
Councilman Dean Burrell asked if improvements at Stephen Decatur Park could be included. Scott said that would depend on how much funding is granted.
“We … are going to be tomorrow doing the actual proposal, so we’ll be able to know how much the cost of those different things [are],” she said.
Scott, in a follow-up interview last Wednesday, said proposals were due on March 15 and the Youth Environmental Action Summit was scheduled April 4.
“The SABERS boys will present their proposal at the YEAS event and possible grant funding will be awarded after,” she said.
In addition, the annual “Pirate Party” fundraiser for Worcester Youth is scheduled May 17 on the docks at Sunset Grille in West Ocean City. Tickets are $49 at the door and benefit Worcester Youth programs and children of Worcester County.
Pirate attire is encouraged, but not required.
A rain date was set for May 31.
For more information, call 410-641-4598, visit www.gowoyo.org, or www.facebook.com/WYFCS.