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Nov 6, 2019 9:25 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

SYS Pickleball Players Come Out In Support Of Heart Of The Hamptons

Pickleball players enjoyed playing at SYS on October 30, and in the process raising funds for Heart of the Hamtpons.
Nov 8, 2019 9:59 AM

The pickleball community at Southampton Youth Services came out last week to support a local charity, Heart of the Hamptons. While the main fundraising day was October 30, which saw 25 different players take the court that day, nearly 40 different players took part in the effort throughout the pickleball program’s four-day sessions, since it has regular sessions at SYS on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Vinny Mangano, U.S.A. Pickleball Association ambassador for the Southampton/New York Metro area and instructor at SYS, said by the end of the week $855 was raised for Heart of the Hamptons, which is home to the Southampton Food Pantry and located right in Southampton Village and serves over 500 households. Services of the nonprofit, which has been in existence for over 30 years, includes a multi-faceted assistance program offering crisis intervention, medical assistance funding, aid for seniors, school supplies and summer lunches for school children, and a meals program for the homebound.

Hilton Crosby, executive director of Heart of the Hamptons, along with board member Aaron Halsey, joined in on the pickleball fun last week and were gracious in the players’ fundraising efforts, especially this time of year with the holidays right around the corner.

“It’s amazing,” Crosby said. “It’s great to see people coming together in the community to help a community-based program. I learned so much about the game of pickleball and Aaron even got some time on the court.”

Crosby said that Heart of the Hamptons is currently working on its annual Turkeys Wanted program for Thanksgiving and more information on that can be found at heartofthehamptons.org. It’s biggest fundraiser, the annual Polar Bear Plunge at Coopers Beach, is also upcoming on December 14.

Mangano said that he and his fellow pickleball players felt like they should do something in the community for a locally based program and Heart of the Hamptons was a perfect fit. He is confident that the fundraiser will become an annual tradition at SYS and they may even do more fundraisers for other programs in the future.

Pickleball, which Mangano noted is the fastest growing sport in the country, is really picking up steam at SYS, which installed new LED lighting on its indoor center courts. Mangano said by doing so, lighting has improved by 300 percent and is more cost effective since LEDs save on electricity.

Mangano said that the pickleball community was most likely the most vocal about getting the new lighting, but it will benefit everyone.

“It’s much easier to see the ball now and it’s much safer,” he said. “The kids who play field hockey, indoor soccer, basketball, will also benefit from it, and it really is a great improvement for the rec center. Our sport really requires playing in a bright environment so we petitioned for the lights for two years. [Director Scott Johnson] was able to secure the funds and SYS will certainly see a significant savings in power. It’s win-win for everybody.”

Mangano also said that SYS currently has a proposal out to the Southampton Town Parks and Recreation Department on building four brand new outdoor pickleball courts, which would be located behind the bocce ball courts. He said it would be the only public outdoor pickleball courts on the South Fork. SYS members can play pickleball for free and there is a $5 walk-in fee to play for non-members.

Pickleball is played every Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Sundays from 8 to 9 a.m. at SYS.

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