Youth Program guarantees a summer like no other - BlueStone Press
October 18, 2019

Youth Program guarantees a summer like no other


The town of Rochester Summer Youth Program, open to both residents and non-residents is held for seven weeks during the months of July and August. This summer the program ran from July 8 through Aug. 23 with 32-40 participants, ranging in age from to 4-14, attending two weeks at a time. “It is such an amazing and fun program,” said Maryanne Gates, Director. “They can pick any two weeks. Each week is a different theme. The themes I made up for this summer were Nature week, Are you kidding me? week, Adventure week, Go for it week, Artful activities week, Easy does it week, and Tally ho week.” Each week encompasses different games, projects and field trips. “We try not to repeat anything twice,” said Gates. “Some of the field trips we have been on are Kinderland Park with the zoo, Great Escape in Lake George and Ellenville Library every Thursday. Many of the children now have library cards! Every Thursday campers travel to the Kerhonkson Pool at Kerhonkson Elementary School, home of the Barracudas Swim Team. “Many children have passed their swimming tests as well,” said Gates. It’s very exciting watching them!” Other field trips were to Bellaeyre Beach, Walkway over the Hudson, Poughkeepsie Children’s Museum, Skate Time 209, Howe Caverns, Splash Down, the Accord Rail Trail, Bear Mountain, the Ulster County Fair, the Accord Town Park, Krause’s Chocolate Factory, the Rosendale Trestle, JJ’s Country Cafe, the movies, Lake Taghkanic, and Zoom Flume. “We have had a great time,” said Gates.

Its a rewarding watching the children growing with the program. They come through the door on that first day of the summer program, so shy,explained Gates.I introduce them to one of the students that has attended the program for a while and off they go. Then the next day they come in and leave their parents at the door without a backward glance. It is so nice to see them make friends.Beyond the trips, daily events have the children together working on crafts and activities that fit everyone, no matter what their age. In addition, this summer session had Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County visit each Friday to share healthy eating tips with the kids for an hour. There was also a dance party with DJ Eric held twice during the summer, the fairy godmother came and made beautiful head wreaths with the children and cooking with Tana and her assistants was happening every Monday with a great demo and meal.I have been the summer program director here for over ten years,said Gates.It is a great community atmosphere, here at the Center, but I dont do it alone: Elaine Samuels is the Assistant Summer Program Director and we have had a lot of great counselors and volunteers, such as, Shaye Davis, Tabitha Capson, Amber Pendell, Aurora Karrow Serreno, Alice Gray, and Manuela Michailescu and our bus driver, Carol Pugliese, who has driven for us all the ten plus years I have been here.

With the growth of the program from year to year in both attendance and activities, Gates was hopeful in the effort to hire more counselors next year so even more students from all over Ulster County may attend. “The summer program loves donations so that some children can be sponsored,” said Gates. “Many donations were made this year that allowed some children to attend more weeks than they would have without the sponsorship. I am looking forward to next summer and have already begun planning the craft, activity and field trip schedule.” For more information, call the Town of Rochester Recreation Center at 626-3053 or the Youth Commission office at 626-2115.


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