Let Them Play!.. at Compo Beach
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"NO SPORT ACTIVITIES AT THE BEACH???? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!" overheard from a parent on 05.26.18
Dear Fellow Residents:
On Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, I observed a father and two young boys playing catch with a Nerf football at Compo Beach-- one boy was trying to defend the other as the father was instructing which routes to run. Normal. Fun. Beautiful... then a "Loud Whistle" from the lifeguard. The lifeguard waves his arms telling them no game playing. I was shocked as were a group of young parents looking on from their yard across Compo Beach Road. Really? You are going to tell a father he cannot play ball with his children at the beach?
There are many new rules at Compo Beach this year. Many of the new regulations involve parking, emblems, and limiting non-resident patronage. This petition is not about those changes. This petition is about what "going to the beach" means to a child, teenager, or active adult. It is about the summer experience and freedom to rest, read, eat, swim, and yes... PLAY at the beach (not necessarily in that order).
It appears a decision was made by the Parks & Recreation Department to not allow any sporting activities (other than swimming) at town beaches. This includes any ball playing, Frisbee, or other game playing in or out of the water. A review of the meeting minutes on 12.20.17 references a discussion of new rules and regulations for the 2018 season. Interestingly, there is a comment noted from "the Public" stating: "would LIKE to see games played on the sand" (emphasis mine). Unfortunately, there is no further mention of any discussion in subsequent minutes published on the P&R website.
I encourage you to sign this petition to allow physical activity and athletics at the beach.
A few reasons that athletics and game playing should be allowed:
1. Limiting opportunities for physical activity is simply bad public health policy. Children should be encouraged to be active and creative in their leisure time. Playing at the beach is also a time to be "off-line" from electronic devices. Increased awareness of children's mental health with regard to devices vs physical activity is evident by the recent Westport Magazine cover story on childhood anxiety.
2. Playing at the beach provides a unique and enjoyable experience which can induce lifelong habits and memories.
3. Parents who commute (or work long hours) during the week may look forward to spending time while playing with their children at the beach.
4. Safety. Beachgoers all over the world self-govern game playing at the beach. A little communication goes a long way.
5. It is normal beach decorum.
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