Although each was drawn to the Friends of Hamlin Beach for different reasons, Holly Jennejahn and Jeanine Klopp have teamed up to chair the Friends’ I Love My Park Day committee for the second year. This model has helped the all-volunteer Friends continue their track record of hosting highly successful I Love My Park Day events.
Holly, a retired nurse and self-proclaimed “persistent volunteer,” moved to Hamlin in 2013 with her husband Dale, who grew up there. His grandparents owned some of the property that is now owned by Hamlin Beach State Park. Holly and Dale even spent their honeymoon tent camping at the park. As Holly says, “It was a given that we became involved in this community.”
Jeanine, a retired teacher, is also a member of the Town of Hamlin Conservation Board. Jeanine recounts:
Several years ago, the Conservation Board, collaborating with the manager and staff of Hamlin Beach State Park and SUNY Brockport Dept. of Environmental Sciences, expanded our annual tree seedling give-away into an Earth Day event which we held at Hamlin Beach State Park for several years. The idea of actually creating the Friends of Hamlin Beach State Park evolved from that. Signing on as a member of that newly formed group was a logical next step for me.
Both are now members of the Friends’ board, with Holly serving as Secretary. Together, Holly and Jeanine are in their second year as co-chairs of the I Love My Park Day planning committee.
“Being a co-chair by far was the best way to go!” says Holly. “We worked well together, each having a specific part to cover and yet being flexible to cover all aspects that were needed. It truly made the job much less stressful which is a reason why we are doing it again this year.”
Jeanine adds, “Sharing all the responsibilities, from contacting sponsors to communicating with volunteers and dignitaries, to organizing the day was so much easier when these tasks were shared.”
“The Friends of Hamlin Beach State Park are the guiding force behind 3 very successful years of I Love My Park Day’s at Hamlin Beach State Park,” says Hamlin Beach State Park Manager Kate Gross. “Jeanine and Holly have spent countless hours working behind the scenes to make our fourth year the best ever. They, along with Linda Rabjohn, have been great assets in making ILMPD such a great success here at Hamlin.” [See a profile of Linda Rabjohn in the July 2014 issue of Park Connect.]
Both Holly and Jeanine also echo the importance of having the help of the previous chair, Linda Rabjohn, and cite the support provided by Parks & Trails New York as being important to the event’s success as well.
“Although a lot goes into organizing an I Love My Park Day event, the resources provided by Parks & Trails New York were extremely helpful,” says Jeanine.
Holly adds, “The webinars hosted by PTNY and their staff being there to answer questions was awesome.”
Located on the shores of Lake Ontario, Hamlin Beach State Park is a wonderful summertime getaway location for camping, swimming, fishing or just picnicking. Visitors can walk the Yanty Creek Marsh Nature Trail or use the car-top boat launch. In the winter the park is open to snowmobilers and cross-country skiers. Its location on a major bird migratory route makes it a great place for bird-watching, too.
“There is so much to do in the immediate area as well as a short ride away that it holds many attractions for day trips,” notes Holly.
At this year’s I Love My Park Day, the Friends once again have several projects that will make a big difference to the park. Volunteers are going to work on beautifying Hamlin Beach State Park by planting tree seedlings in a previously started tree nursery; painting 3 bathrooms in one of the campsite loops; cleaning up the flower beds and vegetable gardens at the adjacent farmhouse established last year at I Love My Park Day; cleaning up the basketball court; and cleaning up the historic CCC/POW camp site from winter debris. In the near future, the farmhouse will become a CCC/POW museum and the Friends of Hamlin Beach headquarters.
Jeanine and Holly both clearly have a strong sense of giving back and enjoy meeting people in the community.
Jeanine notes, “It’s very rewarding to see the interest and enthusiasm the public has in caring for our local park. I’ve made many new friends who share this common interest.”