Program Sees Highest Enrollment Numbers to Date
BEDFORD — Chief Robert Bongiorno and Recreation Youth Program Coordinator Nikki Taylor are pleased to announce that the Police-Recreation Basketball League completed another successful basketball season.
The league, which just wrapped its sixth season, brings together Bedford High School students (who are not on the school’s basketball teams) and members of the Bedford Police Department for pick-up basketball.
This year, 73 students — the highest number to date — enrolled in the program. The group was broken into six teams, each of which worked with Bedford Police, who served as coaches, throughout the January-March season.
Participating Bedford officers included: Sgt. Richard Vitale, Sgt. Jeffrey Wardwell, Officer Sheldon Maloney, Detective Gary Martin, Officer Jeffrey French, Officer Timothy Pike, Officer Eric Isnor, Officer Jason Kennedy, Officer Stephen Waite, Officer Robert Abajian, Emergency Communications Officer Justin Brooks, ECO Mary Ellen Brickey and ECO Jeff Vinciulla.
“The kids love being coached by the officers and look forward to this league each year. There is always excitement surrounding this wonderful program and the players genuinely appreciate the time and effort given by the coaches,” Taylor said. “Throughout the season you begin to see sincere relationships form between the coaches and the players, and by the end of the season there is a feeling of accomplishment and unity. This program is so beneficial to high school students and the Recreation Department appreciates all of the time and hard work from the Bedford Police Department.”
Throughout the season, the teams compete against one another in weekly games, culminating with a high school seniors vs. police department game. After the final game, the entire league celebrated with a pizza party and awards ceremony.
The league was founded after Chief Bongiorno approached the Recreation Department about starting a pick-up league for the kids and police officers as a way to foster relationships between both groups.
“One of our top priorities at the department is to maintain positive relationships with our community members, and this basketball league allows officers to develop bonds with our youth,” Chief Bongiorno said. “Officers look forward to this program every year because it gives them a fun and easy way to connect with students during an activity where everyone has the same passion.”