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Monday, January 30, 2023
Home Government City of Rye Our Recreation Sheriff Rides Off After 37 Years

Our Recreation Sheriff Rides Off After 37 Years

(PHOTO: Rogol's 37 years: Sheriff Sally at the senior Halloween party circa 2008.)
(PHOTO: Rogol’s 37 years: Sheriff Sally at the senior Halloween party circa 2008.)

Sally Rogol, the superintendent of Rye Recreation, retires this coming week after 37 years of service. It is the only full time job she has ever had, hired in 1985 for $16,100.

“Best place in the world to work,” said Rogol, when asked the first thing that comes to mind thinking about her 37 years at “the Rec”, where she has held every conceivable role and responsibility from tennis instructor to badminton supervisor to CPR instructor to camp director.

Using different words, Rogol credits innovation as the key to Rec’s success. “There was always a team of us hanging out in the basement, trying to pick up the next event or how to make an event better and I hope the one thing that is resounding with them is never do what you did yesterday, just because you did it,” said Rogol. “You’ve got to always search and look out for what is the next thing that’s going to be good for the community.”

A Title IX Baby 

Rogol has athletics and recreation in her blood. “I’m a Title IX baby,” said Rogol, having entered the private Wooster High School in 1972, referring to the landmark civil rights legislation that banned sex-based discrimination schools and ushered in competitive athletics for girls.  

“My freshman year in high school was the first year they had athletics at my school for women.” Rogol went on to play varsity tennis, basketball and soccer all four years in high school and collegiate tennis and basketball at Ithaca College, where she gained a BS degree in physical education. She also holds a masters in sports science from the University of Denver. In 2017, her high school inducted her into its inaugural class of its athletic hall of fame.

Hiring and Camp

Through the years, as the Rec created another new successful program “then you hired the next great person. Like Jeanne Romano–she was the perfect fit, she had just graduated from Springfield College, and you know, you latch yourself on to people who are going to make you successful,” said Rogol, who was the Rec camp director in the early days when 168 or so kids were enrolled in the camp program.

(PHOTO: Rogol's 37 years: a staff party at Rye Roadhouse. From left to right: John DeMarco, Frank Cecere, Dennis Hurlie, Randy Cohen, Janet O’Neill, Julianne May, Laura Schilling, Matthew Nordt, Kevin Cook, Danielle Angilleta, Diane Moran, Cara Barnhardt, Sophie Diamond.)
(PHOTO: Rogol’s 37 years: a staff party at Rye Roadhouse. From left to right: John DeMarco, Frank Cecere, Dennis Hurlie, Randy Cohen, Janet O’Neill, Julianne May, Laura Schilling, Matthew Nordt, Kevin Cook, Danielle Angilleta, Diane Moran, Cara Barnhardt, Sophie Diamond.)

Today there are over 700 campers enrolled in Rec programs, and of the 125 or so counselors each summer, Rogol says fully two-thirds of them are prior campers. “You say to the kids in the [counselor] group, how many of you were campers here, and more than two thirds of the room raise their hand and you say, that’s why you’re here. And that’s why you’re going to be a great counselor.” 

The camp programs evolved over the years. There was the teenscape camp that turned into camp seven that is now the ever popular camp 78. These evolutions reflect Rogol’s philosophy of always innovating and pushing.

Names and the Next Superintendent

Names keep coming–you could think Rogol is talking about the extended family at the holidays versus work. Park Forman John DeMarco, Margaret DeFilippo who just retired from tennis, and former yoga and aerobics instructor Janet Muller are some of the names with the longest overlapping tenures with Rogol.

(PHOTO: Rogol's 37 years: Sally Rogol and the heir apparent Erin Mantz at the Halloween window painting circa 2018.)
(PHOTO: Rogol’s 37 years: Sally Rogol and the heir apparent Erin Mantz at the Halloween window painting circa 2018.)

Erin Mantz will be the new superintendent, but she is an old hand at the Rec. “People have to give her the opportunity,” said Rogol. “She will be amazing. She is amazing.” Mantz started part time, joining full time in 2008 as a senior recreation leader. “She was the most professional candidate we interviewed, and was the most enthusiastic about what she could bring to the table. And nobody else could show that. It really is who she is.”

The affections runs both ways “Rye will forever benefit from the fact that Sally has spent her life’s work with Rye Recreation,” said incoming Superintendent Erin Mantz. “She is a selfless and dedicated employee, co-worker and friend. She has always lived by going above and beyond the call of duty and putting the residents and the recreation department first. When you meet Sally you are instantly her best friend and she will do anything she can for you. She has been a pioneering force in the recreation world and is a huge supportive advocate. We are grateful for Sally’s leadership and how much she has given to each one of us.”

Rec Programs

There are many Rec programs, events and facilities that came into being during Rogol’s tenure. She was heavily involved in the skate park, as well as the expansion of the Damiano Recreation Center. The amphitheater opening this coming week will be her swansong. 

(PHOTO: Rogol's 37 years: The Rye Rec Skate Park Opening in 2007> Sally Rogol at the podium. Behind her: Steve Otis, Joanne O’Malley, Bob Cypher, Doug French, Bill Rodriguez (then superintendent).)
(PHOTO: Rogol’s 37 years: The Rye Rec Skate Park Opening in 2007. Sally Rogol at the podium. Behind her: Steve Otis, Joanne O’Malley, Bob Cypher, Doug French, Bill Rodriguez (then superintendent).)

“In Sally’s 37 years at Rye Recreation, 14 as Superintendent, she has brought extraordinary energy, innovation, enthusiasm and leadership in providing Rye expanded and engaging recreation programs for every age,” said current State Assemblyman Steve Otis, who served as Mayor from 1998 to 2009. “Rye has benefited from her devotion and commitment to great activities to meet the needs of the community. Her legacy of excellence and caring will continue to benefit Rye for generations.”

(PHOTO: Rogol's 37 years: 2021 Senior Christmas Party at the Shenorock Shore Club.)
(PHOTO: Rogol’s 37 years: 2021 Senior Christmas Party at the Shenorock Shore Club.)

The list of programs is too numerous to list–basketball, softball, volleyball, badminton, now corn hole and pickleball. When she talks about the seniors in the various programs, she talks with an affection most reserve for their parents. “The seniors are a big rewarding part of my job,” said Rogol, recounting how hard it was to tell her seniors she was retiring. 

“Sally has been inextricably tied to Rye Recreation since she arrived here 37 years ago,” said Rye City Manager Greg Usry. “Since becoming Superintendent in 2008 her love for the community, and its residents, has been felt by all.  The amazing rec programming, special events and facilities are now a staple of the City. It has truly been a pleasure working with her these last three years, as we navigated some extraordinarily challenging times. The creativity and enthusiasm she and her staff provided during the pandemic demonstrates how fortunate the City has been to have her. I am so grateful for her, speaking as a parent and resident, as well as a friend and colleague. I will certainly miss her.”

What’s Next for Rogol

(PHOTO: Rogol's 37 years: Sally Rogol hiking in the Tetons in September 2011.)
(PHOTO: Rogol’s 37 years: Sally Rogol hiking in the Tetons in September 2011.)

“I’m looking forward to traveling. I’m looking forward to making my golf game a whole lot better than it is now,” said Rogol when asked what she is going to do when she wakes up on Thursday, her first day of retirement. On her bucket list is an RV drive across the USA, the National Parks, and seeing polar bears in Canada.

“It’s been quite a ride,” said Rogol. “You never think it’s going to end even when you make the decision [to retire]. Rye is really my second home.”

Sally Rogol will be missed by Rye City and Rec staff and residents. Her impact on the Rec programs, events and facilities and the benefits they accrue to residents will endure.

(PHOTO: Rogol's 37 years: Passport to Playgrounds in 2008 – Healthier Community Initiative. Back row – Sally Rogol, Erin Mantz, Matt Trainor, Matthew Hillsberg Front row – Vicky Hulit, Catherine Cypher.)
(PHOTO: Rogol’s 37 years: Passport to Playgrounds in 2008 – Healthier Community Initiative.
Back row – Sally Rogol, Erin Mantz, Matt Trainor, Matthew Hillsberg Front row – Vicky Hulit, Catherine Cypher.)

(PHOTO: Rogol's 37 years: Westchester Recreation and Park Society Awards Luncheon 2016 Voluntary Service Award – Organization presented to the Kirby Golf Outing Committee Members (they donate all proceeds to the Senior Citizen Club). Left to right: George Kirby, Mike Maloney, Kerry Lenihan, Me, Willie Totten, Thomas Maloney, Chris Maloney.)
(PHOTO: Rogol’s 37 years: Westchester Recreation and Park Society Awards Luncheon 2016
Voluntary Service Award – Organization presented to the Kirby Golf Outing Committee Members (they donate all proceeds to the Senior Citizen Club). Left to right: George Kirby, Mike Maloney, Kerry Lenihan, Me, Willie Totten, Thomas Maloney, Chris Maloney.)

(PHOTO: Rogol's 37 years: Sally Rogol in the lower level office at Rye Rec in 1993.)
(PHOTO: Rogol’s 37 years: Sally Rogol in the lower level office at Rye Rec in 1993.)

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