The Town of Halifax has had a rich history with no shortage of dedicated residents who are willing to exert personal effort in making the town an enjoyable place to live. Until a dozen years or so ago, Halifax had a fairly limited number of recreational facilities. There were athletic fields located behind the Central School (now the Police Station), behind the current Halifax Elementary School and a third field (Lingan Street) was added when the Town of Halifax (and the Water Department) purchased the state youth detention camp (near Great Cedar Swamp) along West Monponsett Lake. The Town has one smaller playground with a basketball court on Holmes Street as well as The Halifax Open Play Space (HOPS PLAYGROUND a community build in 1991).The growth of Halifax in the 90s was only surpassed by the growth of its various youth sports programs. Field use had unfortunately become an ugly tug-of-war of town facilities which was (by default) refereed by Youth and Recreation. The need of new and additional facilities was obvious and required in order to properly serve the growing number of residents and visitors alike. A "revamp" was needed and the Halifax Community pushed for it.
In 1996 the Commission started a string of projects when they broke ground on the courts complex located behind Halifax Elementary School. In 1997 the Commission introduced a new wheels park at the Central School site for another popular sport: Skateboarding. In 1998 the Commission secured funds from the Annual Town Meeting to expand community use of the Halifax Elementary School Gym. (Please note that an Annual Town Meeting vote in 2003 converted the gymnasium from a school facility to a town facility during non-school hours).
Additionally, (in 2002) the stress on our central fields was significantly lessened by the construction of a multiple fields complex on Summit Street. Finally and later in this same year, the Commission built a new senior little league field and added a 3,400 foot long perimeter track at our central fields complex. The drive to upgrade our athletic facilities has continued and even some of our youngest athletes now enjoy Tee Ball, Softball and Farm League Baseball at Vaughn Fields.
The Halifax Youth and Recreation Commission maintains an interesting hands off role with the towns various sports programs. The baseball, softball, soccer and basketball programs are independently administered while the Youth and Recreation Commission provides them with the tools and facilities to best run their programs. In effect, the Commission sponsors these programs, monitoring their proceedings to justify facility use.
In 2000 Dick Steele was hired as part-time Program Director to coordinate and offer more activities and events to residents. One program that HYRD is perhaps most proud of, is a Student Job Service Program. This program was developed to combine a limited number of chosen student applicants (who are from the local high school and nearby colleges) and to train them to work directly and supervise participants of HYRD programs and events. There are over 250 children (not including adults) who take part in our programs. This unique position combines traditional job pay with community service and not only teaches basic job skills, safety and first aid measures, athletic instruction, and responsibilities but also develops friendships that last a lifetime. This program gives back to our Community in a positive way. The Job Service Program was created by Mr. Steele and has been successfully operating for over 20 years under his guidance.
Pre-teen and Teen Dances, Free to the Public Holiday Events, Elementary Afterschool Programs, and Field Trips are just some of the other efforts made to supply a suitable outlet for our youth at a reasonable cost, Mr. Steele has expanded the summer camp programs to offer camps during school vacations throughout the year. The Youth and Recreation Commission has also assumed a larger role in the Holidays in Halifax's yearly Event.
A more recent memorable time for the Town of Halifax starts in 2012, when the HOPS Playground started showing severe signs of aging and in need of repair. Due to structure safety concerns Halifax's beloved park had to be demolished. HOPS was one of the most popular playgrounds on the South Shore. It was especially loved by the youngest residents yet the loss of the park was felt by people of all ages.
The Halifax Recreation Commission along with numerous other Town Departments started to research how to fix this. Together they found that Halifax could apply for a Massachusetts PARC Grant which was (if granted) a reimbursement to the Town in the amount of $50,000 after the project was complete and also the Playground would be built without a tax increase- as long as the Town met all of the "requirements". In order to qualify for the grant the Residents (very limited involvement from any of the Town Departments per the rules and regulations of the Grant) needed to independently fundraise at least the total cost of the project. During the summer of 2014, The Town rallied together and voted to apply for the grant and created The Friends of HOPS Volunteer Group. The Group consisted of President Jonathan Selig, Assistant President Sarah Nobles, Treasurer Lindy Grossman, Secretary Susan Lawless as well as many MANY volunteers. Together with the help of the Halifax Youth and Recreation Commission and Director Mr. Steele they began relentlessly fundraising and by March 2018 the Group raised $220,000.00 meeting their goal. New construction for the HOPS Playground began April 14, 2019 and officially reopened to the public June 4, 2019.
Please check out the HOPS PLAYGROUND under the "photos" section of this website.
We would like to conclude this report with thanks and appreciation to the many dedicated individuals who volunteer their services and involve themselves in our various projects, sports and recreational programs. You are our greatest resource and you are why we do this!
Code of Conduct:
Equal Access: No participants shall on the basis of race, sex, creed, national origin or disability, be denied equal access to programs, activities, services or benefits, or be limited in the exercise of any right privilege, advantage, or opportunity.
Behavior: Participants are expected to exhibit appropriate behavior at all times. The following guidelines have been developed to make recreation department programs safe and enjoyable for all participants. Additional rules may be developed for particular programs and leagues as deemed necessary by the staff.
� show respect to all participants, volunteers and staff
� refrain from using foul language
Discipline: A positive approach will be used. The Halifax Youth and Recreation Department reserves the right to dismiss a participant. Each situation will be evaluated on its own merit.
Help Keep Your Parks Clean: Please place your garbage or rubbish in the proper rubbish containers located on all parks, fields and playgrounds.