In an effort to rally support and raise funds for Farmingdale's youth athletic programs, the Friends of Farmingdale Athletics, a newly formed booster club for local sports teams, is in the midst of a communitywide membership drive.
Pushing Farmingdale's Athletics...The Friends of Farmingdale Athletics made their debut at a recent evening of basketball games at Farmingdale High School, in an effort to increase support for the community's sports teams. Shown from left to right are: Frank Brennan, Walter Celenski, Frank Nocerino and Lenny Panarelli.
The organization, formed by a group of local parents, made its first public appearance last Friday night during the boys varsity, and girls varsity and junior varsity, basketball games at Farmingdale High School. Members sold T-shirts and refreshments, and recruited volunteers.
"We want to show the good of Farmingdale. This is a great school district. We have great people, and we want to bring them out," member Frank Nocerino said during Friday's games.
According to Nocerino, money raised through membership donations and sales will help pay for athletic equipment and facilities not included in the school district budget. "The school district is very cooperative, but there is only so much in the pot," he said.
For example, the group hopes to eventually purchase lighting for the football field at Farmingdale High School. This, according to Nocerino, would benefit a variety of school district and community league teams that use the field.
The group also hopes to gradually become an umbrella support organization for not only high school athletics, but also sports teams from all aspects of the Farmingdale community, including Howitt Middle School and such community league teams as Wolverine Soccer, Hawks Football and Police Activity League (PAL). "Right now, we're trying to organize and take small steps," said Nocerino, noting that the group also plans to reach out to businesses and alumni.
Increasing school spirit by getting folks to attend sports games is another major goal. "What it really does is it creates school spirit. It brings parents together for the benefit of children," added Nocerino.
The organization is spearheaded by a group of key members, which includes John Danowski, Frank Nocerino, Norm Engelke, Frank Brennan, Lenny Panarelli, Walter Celenski, and John Gabrielli. Tom Howard, in his role as district athletic director, is helping the group get off the ground.
"They're here as a community organization, just like the Kiwanis or Lions clubs. The Friends of Farmingdale Athletics wants to be a positive force like that, and we're excited to have them around - because they're here to help," said Howard. "Their mission is to help the athletes and coaches in Farmingdale."
"We really want to get it out the community, because it's brand new...The goal right now is membership...And the unique thing about this club is the fact that if you become a member, you can designate your money to a specific sport," he added, noting that members also have the option of directing donations into the organization's general fund.
According to members Panarelli and Brennan, this is the first booster club that Farmingdale has seen since the Farmingdale High School Dad's Club went out of existence during the 1970s.
"We hope to get something started that will last for decades," said Panarelli.
"And give the kids a sense of pride," added Brennan.
The momentum the group has gained is expected to continue over the next few months with some key events. When Farmingdale High School hosts the Nassau County Basketball playoffs in February, the Friends of Farmingdale will be there selling refreshments. Then, on March 11, the group will host a breakfast for the school district's spring athletes, their parents, and coaches, following the athletic director's annual pre-season meeting.
Those interested in joining the Friends of Farmingdale Athletics may contact Tom Howard at 752-6600, or attend the group's next meeting. The club meets the first Tuesday of every month at Farmingdale High School. The cost of membership is $25 per family, and $250 for lifetime membership.