Winter Activities and Wonders
Skate swaps at the park, winning house designs, toys for the tots and Community Center offers certifications.
Ready, Set, Skate!
Weather permitting–cold weather that is–the Grover Cleveland Park Conservancy will once again help to get you and the kids up and out of the house this winter. For an ideal winter experience, head down to the park for some good old-fashioned ice skating fun. If you don't have skates or the old ones hanging in the basement don't quite fit anymore, give the conservancy a call. The group runs a low-key skate swap. So, take down the old skates that no longer fit and donate them to the cause. Then, ask and they just may have the size you need to hit the ice. You never know! If you love the idea, but would rather be inside by a roaring fire, then consider volunteering at the cocoa stand. The Conservancy offers hot chocolate and a place to warm your toes on weekends and holidays, and volunteers are always welcome. Good on the ice? Volunteers are also needed for ice maintenance and skating safety. For more information, contact the Conservancy at 973-618-9154 or the Essex County Park System at 973-268-3500.
Gingerbread Homes and Habitats
Combine tasty gingerbread, a creative spirit and a love of the environment, and what do you get? The winners of the Essex County Environmental Center's sixth annual Gingerbread Homes and Habitats Contest. On Saturday, Dec. 18, at the Essex County Environmental Center in Roseland, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. congratulated the winners in the contest that helps raise awareness about nature and the environment. There were 70 entries in this year's contest, an increase from 43 entries in 2009. This year, second place went to student Miko Noel and Culinary Arts Teacher Victoria Atfield from the West Caldwell campus of the Essex County Vocational Technical School, and honorable mention went to Marion Peterson from Caldwell, both in the Non-Professional Adult category. Other students who worked on the second-place entry were Jackens Lherisson, Juan Familia and Ashley Ortiz. In the Professional Adult category, third place went to Sunrise Bakery from West Caldwell.
Entries were judged on distinctiveness, creative use of a nature theme, use of "green" building design techniques and skill in decoration. The gingerbread homes were on display at the Essex County Environmental Center during the month of December.
The Center offers a variety of nature-related classes and programs throughout the year. Registration is required. For more information or to register, call 973-228-8776. The Center is located at 621B Eagle Rock Avenue in Roseland.
Scouts Bring Smiles With Annual Toy Collections
Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts from Troops 6 and 9, representing Caldwell, West Caldwell and North Caldwell, were all hard at work this month, collecting toys for children throughout Essex County. For more than a decade, the Troop 6 Boy Scouts of Caldwell, North Caldwell and West Caldwell, and Pack 6 Cub Scouts of Caldwell and West Caldwell, have donated toys to Toys for Tots, a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve, which donates toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas.
The Cub Scouts from Pack 9 also banded together to help those in need this holiday season. At its annual holiday party and pack-wide meeting, the cub scouts from West Caldwell collected new, unwrapped toys and winter coats to donate to St. Michael's Church in Newark. The church has ministry programs for children who have no parents and for those who have HIV and AIDS. The scouts have donated toys to the church for several years. Pack master Ed Kohler delivers the toys the weekend after the scout meeting.
Looking for something rewarding to do this winter season? Consider participating in one of the American Red Cross Lifeguard, or CPR and AED Certification courses. The Lifeguard course is open to anyone 15 and older, and includes lifeguarding, CPR and first aid. Classes begin Jan. 10, 2011. The Adult CPR/AED course includes Adult CPR and instruction on how to use an Automated External Defibrillator. Classes are Feb. 8 or March 15, 2011, from 6 to 10 p.m. Re-certifications for both programs held at the Caldwell Community Center are also available. Call 973-228-POOL for details.