By Molly Congdon
Basketballs bounced, feet shuffled and the occasional crisp swish could be heard on the evening of Aug. 4, on the red clay-like courts at Clifton Common during the 11th annual National Night Out. The annual community-building campaign promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie, which creates safer, better places to live.
It is an event that every municipality or neighborhood across the country celebrates in a dissimilar fashion. Some host block parties, massive festivals, parades or cookouts. Clifton Park plays a little basketball.
“When we began National Night Out 11 years ago, we wanted the opportunity to interact and thank our first responders and policing agencies, but we wanted to also have it revolved around a sport to allow the children of our community to have a good time and compete for prizes and also receive professional instruction in a sport,” Town Supervisor Phil Barrett said. “At that time we chose basketball, and it’s worked out very well over the years.”
Even though the recreational aspect is geared toward the kids, the adults in attendance aren’t counting down the seconds before they can make an exit. National Night Out gives certain members of the community a chance to shine the spotlight and to be appreciated for their hard work and sacrifice.
“It’s a fun evening for people of all ages. The recreational activities are designed for the kids, but it’s also a celebration for our first responder community and policing agencies that work very hard in our community every day,” Barrett said. “It’s a way for us to thank them and an opportunity for Clifton Park residents to interact with our first responders and thank them personally for what they do.
“I think it’s always important to thank our police, first responders, military personnel and veterans throughout the year, but this is an opportunity for us to bring special attention to it through the National Night Out program; I think in today’s climate, it’s that much more important that we take time to say thank you and show our appreciation. Many people in our first responder community in Clifton Park are volunteers; they are working hard throughout the year training, responding to calls. . . . It’s a very large commitment for someone to make on behalf of their community.”
Even after all these years, Clifton Park’s National Night Out doesn’t disappoint. “It’s one of those events where people gravitate towards it, They are excited about it and look forward to it every year,” Barrett said. “We are very pleased to experience it with them.”
Each participant had 10 attempts at the foul line. Competition was tough, but the final counts and tallies revealed the winners in the following categories:
Boys (ages 6 and 7): 1. Cameron Seeberger, 2. Jeremy Michael Pace, 3. Liam Roberts.
Girls (6 and 7): 1. Nakya Thomas, 2. Isabella Nichols, 3. Autumn Krause.
Boys (8): 1. Ethan Farnan. 2. Ethan Rudd, 3. Dylan Sosler.
Girls (8 and 9): 1. Chole Gras, 2. Serena Sucheve, 3. Reilly Roberts.
Boys (9 and 10): 1. Anthony Verdile, 2. Aydon Williams, 3. Daniel Woloszyn.
Boys (11 and 12): 1.Brendan Kosztyo, 2. Carter Seeberger, 3. Tyler Clinton.
Girls (10-12): 1. Madelyn Wolf, 2. Leah Kile, 3. Anisha Sayni.
The satisfaction of making a basket: National Night