Westchester County Legislators Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh) and Ben Boykin (D-White Plains) kicked off the "Recycling Rangers" program with 160 participating grade-schoolers yesterday at the Bits 'n' Pieces Enrichment Camp, a summer program run by the White Plains Youth Bureau and held at the Church Street Elementary School here in White Plains.
The "Recycling Rangers" program was created by former Legislator Bill Ryan in 2003 as a way to encourage young people to protect the environment. By emphasizing recycling, the legislators can help show the campers how to be good stewards of the environment, one recyclable item at a time. The campers will put together recycling projects and visit the County's Recycling Center as part of the program.
"Having these kids interested in being 'Recycling Rangers' keeps them busy with fun activities during the summer and teaches them the importance of protecting our environment," said Boykin. "These campers are eager to make a difference right now, which will benefit our community in so many ways in the future. Being able to tell difference between garbage and recyclable material for these kids is like a game."
The "Recycling Rangers" program is being introduced this year by Boykin, with the help of his colleague Legislator Alfreda Williams and the White Plains Youth Bureau. Joining Boykin and Williams at today's kick off was the bureau's executive director, Frank Williams, and Byron Smalls, the camp's director.
After being introduced to the "Recycling Rangers" program, the campers, who range between Grade 1 and 5, will start planning an activity or project to raise awareness about recycling. After these are completed, the two legislators will return to the camp and review the students' presentations. Participating students receive certificates signifying their completion of the program, plus sheriff-like "Recycling Rangers" badges.
Among the items the campers learn to recycle are computers, cell phones, ketchup bottles, glass jars, newspapers, aluminum cans, junk mail, pie pans and plastic containers marked 1 through 7 on the recycling seal.
"This is where you start to instill good behavioral practices in our young people," said Williams, chair of the BOL Community Services Committee. "They need to know how to keep their world as clean as possible."