This Fourth of July, our local fire and police departments led the annual children’s parade through the walks of Ocean Beach. Our men and women in uniform are a source of pride in our community.

West Point Graduate Emma Hampel

We are especially proud of Emma Hampel, daughter of Jeanette Hampel of Fire Island Plumbing. Emma graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point on May 21, and was commissioned into the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant. While at West Point, she played on the women’s Division 1 lacrosse team for four years. She will be serving in the field artillery branch stationed in Fort Hood, Texas, for the 3rd Brigade Combat Team. Emma is a graduate of West Islip High School. We wish her and her classmates all the best as they serve.

As mentioned previously in this column, a new and exciting program has been launched in Ocean Beach for teens and adults. The Ocean Beach Recreation Program is being coordinated by the Ocean Beach Youth Group (OBYG).

“We kind of thought, why do the kids get to have all the fun?!” said Patty Brahe, president of the OBYG board. She noted that her organization employs a team of professionals that can provide services to adults as well as the children they normally serve.

A teen night featuring ping-pong, foosball, video games, and more is held Tuesday through Saturday, from 7 to 10 p.m., at the OBYG’s Windswept facility on the bay at Ocean Road. Registration is not required for these events, called Teenswept. Most other recreation events and classes require registration, which may be completed by creating a camper profile at Thanks to the financial support of the Village of Ocean Beach and the Ocean

Beach Community Fund, services offered by the program are free of charge. Other highlights include adult game nights at the boathouse on Tuesdays, from 7 to 9 p.m.; sailing lessons Monday through Saturday, featuring a new adult-sized boat purchased by the Ocean Beach Community Fund; art classes; book club meetings; a Parenting Wellness Circle; and Vinyasa yoga classes.

Additionally, Patty tells us basketball is returning to town with the addition of portable basketball hoops on the tennis courts near the boathouse. Many more classes and events are scheduled throughout the summer and are listed on the OBYG website.

For all those asking, the cleared lot on the east side of the Free Union Church is being transformed into a community garden complete with seating and lush plantings. Don’t miss their annual book sale, July 7-9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Have you visited Luxury Fire Island Homes on Bay Walk at Evergreen Walk? The former Fire Island Homes recently relaunched with the help of founder Brian Smith and a new team of professionals. Stop in and see their broad range of properties.

We are grateful for all those in uniform who serve our community. Let’s follow their lead and lend a helping hand today and every day.