WESTFIELD – After one year on the job as the field operations team leader at Hampton Ponds, Sean Gaffney reflected on getting to this point and what the future holds for the state park.
He said that in addition to being in charge at Hampton Ponds, he also oversees Robinson State Park, Chicopee State Park and the state pools in Ludlow, Agawam, Chicopee and Springfield.
Gaffney said that so far he has had a great experience in his new position.
“My first year as field operation team leader was exciting. I worked up the ladder [at the Department of Conservation and Recreation] to get into a full-time, year-round position like this. I had a great staff and a great boss and that made it easy working at the parks and the pools,” he said.
Prior to becoming the field operation team leader, he said he spent 10 seasons working on or being in charge of the pools. “I was in charge of the pools for the majority of that, so I would do all the maintenance for the four state pools, which is a lot of work but it was enjoyable and I took a lot of pride in that.”
Gaffney said he always knew he wanted a career with national parks and pools.
“Ever since I was a kid wearing a coonskin cap and loving the woods, I always wanted to be a part of the parks. When they first asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up in school I said I wanted to work in the parks any way I could,” he said.
One of the busiest days for the state parks is the Fourth of July and Gaffney said his first one as the team leader was a memorable part of his first year.
“To go through the parks and pools and see them all at capacity and everyone enjoying it, that’s what it’s all about. That’s the day that you really see it,” he said.
In the future, Gaffney said he wants to improve the park every day in any way they can along with new events.
“I try to make sure that we’re always trying to better the facilities. I personally like doing events, it gets the community more involved with the parks. I’m looking forward to spreading the word about Hampton Ponds and the other parks,” he said.
Gaffney said two events the park will definitely host this year are the Special Olympics Polar Plunge on March 7 and the Triathlon for Jimmy on June 14.
Gaffney explained that he was looking forward to the future of his parks and said, “We love having the public here, the staff works hard and we hope people keep on coming to the Parks.”
Hampton Ponds is located at 1048 North Rd.