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Youth Bureau Director Tells Rotarians About Programs

OSWEGO, NY – Oswego City-County Youth Bureau Director Kathy Fenlon told the members of the Oswego Sunrise Rotary about the many programs her organization runs.

Youth Bureau Director Kathy Fenlon, left, and Rotary President Michelle McGrath.

Youth Bureau Director Kathy Fenlon, left, and Rotary President Michelle McGrath.

The Youth Bureau works with young people up to age 21.

Unlike other programs she does not simply assist at-risk children, nor just boys or girls.

She provides programs that develop leadership development.

They train members of the Youth Court that work with young people who have violated the law.

Some of her members have gone on to become lawyers and police officers.

The Youth Bureau runs various recreation programs in public parks and at Camp Hollis.

Tennis Carnival Serves Up Fun For Youngsters

OSWEGO, NY – Elementary school age youngsters got to show off their tennis skills and win some neat prizes over the weekend.

Arin Wendt follows through as she returns a serve.

Arin Wendt follows through as she returns a serve.

A USTA Tennis Program carnival was held at the Riley Elementary School tennis court. More than two dozen young tennis players stopped by the court during the four-hour event.

The USTA Summer Tennis Program began in 2006 and is run through the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau.

“We try to do games that introduce basic tennis skills and give the kids a chance to get outside and exercise,” explained Megan Andolina, coordinator of the USTA Tennis Program at the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau.

This is her sixth year with the program.

Two AmeriCorps members, Adam Wolford and Leigh Bergman, are working with the program.

“This is my second summer as a tennis instructor with AmeriCorps. I played tennis for Fulton high school for three years. Leigh Bergman has been an AmeriCorps member for three summers and also played for the Fulton tennis team in high school,” Wolford  explained.

After soaking their foam tennis balls, a couple of youngsters race back to fill thier cups.

After soaking their foam tennis balls, a couple of youngsters race back to fill their cups.

As AmeriCorps members, they educate youth fitness, he added.

The Oswego City-County Youth Bureau has been offering the United States Tennis Association Summer Tennis Program since 2006.

The Youth Bureau’s partnerships with the AmeriCorps program, local recreation programs and school districts, have allowed the tennis program to visit 15 different sites in the county each summer.

Three USTA trained staffers instruct one-hour sessions, once a week, using tennis-related activities to introduce children to the game.

“The main objective of the program is to have kids get some exercise and have fun,” Wolford said.

Alexis Williams uses both hands to send the ball back over the net.

Alexis Williams uses both hands to send the ball back over the net.

“It’s a lot of fun. I like playing tennis,” said Alexis Williams as she hit a few volleys with on of the volunteers. “Sometimes, it’s hard to hit the ball.”

“We have been doing lessons this summer at Riley Elementary on Wednesday afternoons,” Wolford said. “We have one lesson left for the summer, next Wednesday (Aug. 10) afternoon from 1-2.”

The youngsters earned prizes like jump-ropes, hats, sunglasses and more for competing at different skill areas.

They had to return a serve and hit one of several prizes on the opposite side of the net and hit targets on a wall during a serve accuracy challenge.

During the obstacle course, the youngsters had to control their tennis balls on their racquets as they navigated the route.

They also had to run with a “tennis ball” to a bucket of water and then race back to their cups with the soggy ball and squeeze it out into the cup. The first to overflow their cup won the challenge.

For more information about the USTA Summer Tennis Program, contact Andolina at 349-3451 or email: mandolina@oswegocounty.com

Farfaglia Recognized At His ‘Second Home’

OSWEGO TOWN, NY – “It’s good to be back, absolutely,” exclaimed Jim Farfaglia as he recently looked out over the place he worked at for more than two decades.

Jim Farfaglia , left, former director of Camp Hollis, and Brandon Morey, the current director, share a laugh as they chat with some staff in the camp's office recently

Jim Farfaglia , left, former director of Camp Hollis, and Brandon Morey, the current director, share a laugh as they chat with some staff in the camp's office recently

However, Camp Hollis was more than just a workplace for him, “This was like a second home for me. I loved it here – still do,” he said. “I miss this place. It will always be my second home.”

The county recognized him for his more than 20 years of service at Camp Hollis. They also honored Vicki Mather and Jane Murphy who were the catalysts who got Friends of Camp Hollis started many years ago.

They were the president and treasurer for all these years, but stepped down from those roles at the end of last year, although they are still on the board.

Has Farfaglia noticed any changes?

“Any changes?” he mused as he looked around the campgrounds for a moment. “No, I haven’t, which I think is good. The new guy (Brandon Morey) said he was going to take right over this spring and not make any real big changes this year.”

Farfaglia said his dad went to the camp when it was the health camp, decades before if became Camp Hollis. And later, he attended summer camp there, and became enthralled with the place.

He remembers “the best answer I ever got to an interview question.” It came from his former camp secretary. He asked what she would do if he gave her 10 things to do all at once and had to have them done quickly.

“I was thinking she’d say she would prioritize her time. But, she said, ‘I would call your mother!’” he laughed. “Nobody, in all my years of interviewing, ever gave me an answer like that.”

His mother, sitting at the table beside him at the lakefront picnic area, chuckled at the memory.

Part of the Legislators' Day at Camp Hollis was a musical performance by the campers..

Part of the Legislators' Day at Camp Hollis was a musical performance by the campers..

Kathy Fenlon, executive director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, Farfaglia’s former boss, thanked all the legislators, Youth Bureau staff, and others present for taking part in the 2011 Legislators’ Day at Camp Hollis.

“We have a very special reason for gathering here today,” she told the crowd of nearly 300.

“Today is special,” agreed Barry Leemann, chair of the Oswego County Legislature. “We want to honor three individuals that have made Camp Hollis Camp Hollis; a place where everybody can come and have fun. It wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers and people who we’re going to honor today.”

“In 1997, Jane Murphy was a member of the Youth Bureau board of directors; Vicki Mather volunteered at Camp Hollis as a master gardener,” Fenlon noted. “Both saw the need for a not-for-profit organization attached to Camp Hollis and helped to form the Friends of Camp Hollis board.”

In 1999, Friends became an official not-for-profit. Murphy served as treasurer and Mather as president for 12 years, through 2010.

With their help, the group raised funds for numerous capital projects and programs.

They have also helped raised more than $75,000 to assist children in attending the camp during the summer, Fenlon pointed out.

“I couldn’t have done what I did without Jim and Jane,” Mather said. “Jim is the heart of Camp Hollis and Jane is really the brains.”

“Ditto everything that Vicki said. And I think that she is just as much the heart of Camp Hollis, at least for the last 10 years. I have been honored to work with her and Jim,” Murphy said. “My kids went here and it’s an honor to make sure other kids have the chance to come her, too.”

Farfaglia started his career at Camp Hollis 37 years ago as a counselor, for four summers, and then as camp director for two more years.

He left for a while, but in 1980, he was hired into a full-time position with the Youth Bureau; his primary responsibility was taking care of Camp Hollis.

“I remember interviewing him and I remember him telling me ‘I always wanted to run Camp Hollis.’ Jim served in that position for 21 years, retiring earlier this spring. During Jim’s tenure, he helped Camp Hollis grow from primarily an eight-week summer residential camp for kids into a facility that is open from April through November of each year and is used by many different groups,” Fenlon said.

He also co-authored a book on the history of the camp.

“Jim exhibited a strong vision of Camp Hollis and the potential it offers. With his leadership, foresight, dedication and enthusiasm along with the tremendous support from Jane Murphy and Vicki Mather and Friends of Camp Hollis, this beautiful spot on Lake Ontario known as Camp Hollis continues to be a part of growing up in Oswego County,” Fenlon said. “Kids come to Camp Hollis. It’s part of growing up in Oswego County.”

“In 1965, I was on that ball field,” Farfaglia said gesturing to the baseball diamond behind the picnic area. “I hit a homerun; it was the only homerun I ever hit in my life, but that’s another story. My counselor worked with me to teach me how to swing a bat, how to hit a baseball. That homerun made me feel so good that I took that feeling with me for the rest of my life. I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to have come back to camp after all these years and give back what that counselor did for me.”

Approximately 100 Oswego County children attend Camp Hollis each week during July and August. The facility offers a residential camp experience for youth ages 8 to 14, complete with swimming, nature hikes, arts and crafts, games, evening campfires and many more activities.

For more information on Camp Hollis, see http://www.oswegocounty.com/youth/hollis/index.html

Mural Project Continues To Brighten Oswego’s River Walk

OSWEGO, NY – The advent of warm dry weather has brought out a colorful species along the banks of the Oswego River.

The Springboard Mural Project has launched another season of bringing some color to Oswego’s Riverwalk West.

Nearly a dozen young artists are collaborating on close to 20 new murals along the walkway.

Elizabeth Manion concentrates on painting an arm which is holding a rainbow. She plans on extending the rainbow all the way down the wall along the stairs to the river walk. This is the third year of the mural program.

Elizabeth Manion concentrates on painting an arm which is holding a rainbow. She plans on extending the rainbow all the way down the wall along the stairs to the river walk. This is the third year of the mural program.

It’s the committee’s third round of artwork, according to Dawn Metott, youth activities coordinator for the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau.

“Last year, we had seven students who created murals along the river walk. We have more than that this year and are looking to complete 17 murals,” she said. “Last year, at times, it was very cold and rainy. There was one day it was so cold we had to wear sweatshirts and mittens while painting. This year, the weather has been terrific.”

The students created their own designs and submitted them to the Common Council for approval prior to committing the work to public space.

The mural project is a youth-focused initiative, with the design concept and implementation directed by local young people with the support of the Springboard Mural Committee.

It was originally a city sponsored community development plan to address graffiti issues.

“There are multiple benefits related to the success of this project. The students who participated in this project became more involved in school, graffiti issues are being addressed, and relationships have been developed by a wide cross-section of the Oswego community,” Metott said earlier this spring. “Instead of just covering the graffiti, the community has come together and invested in something special that reflects the sense of community pride which has made this project successful.”

The mural committee is a community collaborative that is comprised of Oswego youth, city of Oswego officials, teachers and students of Oswego High School, artist mentors, as well as Youth Services Street Outreach, the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau and the Oswego YMCA.

Elizabeth Manion is one of the young artists working on the project. The high honors student will be a senior this fall at Oswego High School.

“I’m creating a rainbow, and it’s going to continue down the stairs (next to the river). We’re going to have a pot of gold at the bottom,” she explained.

She said she’s always wanted to paint a really big rainbow, and this project gives her a huge “canvas” with which to work.

Other creations include a representation of the Oswego Lighthouse, a tribute to the OHS Marching Buccaneers and the artist’s favorite cat among several others.

Burke’s has made a donation to the project to assist the young artists this summer.

“Raby’s Ace Home Center did a lot the first two years. In fact, we still have supplies that they donated that we’re still using,” Metott pointed out.

Works of art that were completed in previous years can be viewed along the river walk on the west side of the river, directly below the Utica Street Bridge.

Anyone interested in participating, either as a mentor or youth artist or in donating to the program, should contact Metott at 349-3575 or dmetott@oswegocounty.com

Some youthful offenders, sentenced to community service by Youth Court, had been at the site previously getting the area cleaned up and the walls primed and ready to be painted.

The Oswego City-County Youth Bureau is sponsoring a training class for new members of the City and County Youth Court program. The course will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 11 through 15 at Oswego City Hall, 13 W. Oneida St.

“Youth Court hears real cases of youthful offenders who are referred by local law enforcement agencies or schools for first-time minor offenses,” said Brian Chetney, county youth coordinator for the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau.

Applications can be obtained by contacting the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau at 349-3451 or 1-800-596-3200, ext 3451or by e-mail at youthcourt@oswegocounty.com

Youth Bureau Hosts Traveling Arts In The Parks This Summer

OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego City-County Youth Bureau announces its 2011 schedule for the Traveling Arts in the Parks series. Each event is free and open to the public.

Glenn Colton kicks off the 2011 season with a 1 p.m. performance on July 5 at Scriba Town Park on O’Connor Road. Colton has performed thousands of energetic concerts for children, parents and teachers since 1992.

A performing artist, songwriter and author, Colton promotes the power of healthy choices through respect, responsibility, friendship, and good manners.

Doug Rougeux entertains audiences with BubbleMania! for two shows this summer.

The first performance is on July 5 at 1:15 p.m. at the Fulton War Memorial on state Route 3 and the second show is scheduled for Aug. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Hannibal Town Hall Pavilion on state Route 34.

Keeping bubbles fresh for two decades, Rougeaux coined the phrase, “soap bubbles bigger than your head,” and many other clever one-liners.

Magical John appears on July 9 at 1:30 p.m. at the Granby Town Hall on county Route 8. This musical magic show is part illusion, part comedy, and all fun for the whole family!

The Museum of Science and Technology (MOST) brings its Traveling Science Program to audiences for two shows this season.

“Sound” takes place at 10 a.m. on July 11 at the Cleveland Village Park on state Route 49 and “Splash” is scheduled at 1 p.m. on Aug. 8 at the Fulton War Memorial on state Route 3.

Each demonstration features a colorful mix of science, education and entertainment.

Wacky Chad returns this summer with two lively performances.

The first show is at 10 a.m. on July 11 in Goettel Community Park on U.S. Route 11 in Central Square and the second is at 11 a.m. on July 12 at the David C. Webb Park on state Route 49 in Constantia.

Chad juggles torches and jumps rope while riding his seven-foot unicycle and telling hilarious jokes to kids of all ages. His antics have earned him spots on television programs such as, “America’s Got Talent,” “Live with Regis and Kelly” and South Korea’s “Star King.”

Traveling Arts in the Parks is funded by Oswego County, the Oswego Children’s Board, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, and participating town and city municipal programs.

For more information about the series, call the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau at 315-349-3451 or 1-800-592-3200 x3451.

County Legislature Hosts Students

OSWEGO, NY – They came in as students; they left as teachers.

Nearly three dozen students took part Thursday in the annual County Government Day.

Legislator Morris Sorbello goes over a resolution with student Dominic Sciacca during Thursday's legislature meeting.

Legislator Morris Sorbello goes over a resolution with student Dominic Sciacca during Thursday's legislature meeting.

Paul A. Forestiere II, executive director, of Oswego County’s Cornell Cooperative Extension, welcomed everyone to the legislature meeting.

The Youth Bureau was a partner in the event, he noted.

“It is really a day that gives kids an opportunity to look into their future,” he said.

The 33 students, representing schools from all across the county, sat with the legislators and took an active role in the meeting.

Emberlin Leja and Jeb Atkinson, seventh graders from APW, helped Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann run the meting Thursday afternoon.

“We’re ready to get going,” Jeb said prior to the start of the meeting.

“We’re both from Mr. Leemann’s district and we’re supposed to help him today,” Emberlin added.

“They are doing a good job, a very good job,” the chairman said. “They’re a very enthusiastic group this year, honor roll students.”

The students had a busy day. Prior to the legislature meeting they had toured the 911 Center, visited County Court, and conducted a mock debate.

It regarded the possible promotion and development of offshore oil fields in Lake Ontario within Oswego County’s boundaries.

“The various caucuses, the pros and cons and undecideds prepared very thoroughly. A very lively debate ensued and the conservationists triumphed,” said Legislator Jack Proud of Mexico.

The “vote” was 15 yes and 18 no with one person absent, according to Proud.

All the stuff in the morning was just practice, to get them ready for the legislature meeting, Forestiere told the students.

Legislator Mary Flett introduces the student who joined her for the day, Jordan Crapser.

Legislator Mary Flett introduces the student who joined her for the day, Jordan Crapser.

“After 2 O’clock, no more pretend. It’s going to be a real Oswego County Legislature meeting and you will be helping your legislators deal with real issues impacting Oswego County,” he told the seventh graders. “When you vote then it will be an actual legal vote. You will be a part of Oswego County government.”

There was one special requirement, he continued.

The youngsters couldn’t just sit there and learn; they had to share what they learned, he said.

“That’s right. Teach it to other people, take it back to you classes and share what you learned here today,” Forestiere said. “There’s no way we could have brought all of the seventh grade classes. That is why we brought you. It is your jobs to go back and tell everyone what it is that you’ve learned here.”

The students were very inquisitive and asked a lot of questions during their morning program and tours. Forestiere and the chairman agreed that was very good and showed how seriously the youngsters were taking things.

‘It was very interesting to see how the county government operates,” Jeb said following the meeting. “We learned a whole lot.”

“It was fun, they helped us and explained stuff to us,” Emberlin said. “It sounds like something I might want to be a part of after I graduate.”

It was something that he’d think about, too, Jeb said.

“We’ll see how it goes,” he said.

New Camp Hollis Director Passionate About His Work

OSWEGO, NY – Milford native Brandon Morey was born in Cooperstown – his “first official job” was working at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Now, after a slightly winding course, he’s landed the job from which he says he wants to retire.

Brandon Morey

Brandon Morey

Morey is the new Coordinator of Recreation and Youth Development for the Oswego County Youth Bureau. He is taking over for Jim Farfaglia as the director of Camp Hollis.

“Brandon brings a great deal of enthusiasm and practical experience to his job at the Youth Bureau,” said Kathy Fenlon, director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau. “He is responsible for overseeing the county recreational camping program at Camp Hollis and the Oswego County Nature Park at Camp Zerbe, and for making sure that the camp facilities continue to operate in compliance with all state and federal health codes. He has been very busy planning for the summer 2011 camp season. We welcome him to our staff and are looking forward to our 65th season this summer.”

Morey is also responsible for the Oswego County Nature Park at Camp Zerbe in Williamstown, and other youth development activities.

An outdoor enthusiast, Morey has more than six years of experience in running adventure and educational day camp and overnight camp programs in New York State.

“I had worked for farms and stuff around Milford, but my first like official job was at the Hall of Fame,” he said. “It was great. I worked there for about five and half years. The passion that some people have for baseball is rabid.”

He received his BS in Recreation and Leisure Studies from SUNY Cortland in 2005.

“My concentration was in Outdoor Recreation and my emphasis in Camp Management,” he explained. “I have been leading summer camps since the summer of 2004.”

His summer program experience ranges from running the Milford Town Summer Recreation program, the Clarks Sports Center Science Day Camp, Adventure Day Camp and Adventure Overnight Camp and then to NYS licensed Summer Day Camps.

He had originally gone to Cortland for Environmental Studies on the advice of his (temporary) high school guidance counselor.

“In high school, I had wanted to be an electrician. And my guidance counselor talked me out of it,” he said. “I really loved being outside, so I went into Environmental Studies. I just love it; I love being outside.”

The adviser said SUNY Cortland would be a good college for that.

However, at SUNY Cortland, when it became time to declare his major, life threw him a curve ball.

“My adviser said ‘We do not have an Environmental Studies major.’ I said what do you mean? And he told me that they had one class, Environmental Studies 100,” Morey recalls.

His roommate at the time was a recreation major and suggested he try that.

He has been a camper all his life – winter, summer, warm weather or blizzard.

“So I went into Camp Management,” he said.

After college, he became an Advantage After School Program Director for the Olean Family YMCA.

It’s something he never pictured himself doing, “bit I absolutely loved it.”

His summer responsibilities included the implementation of the Summer Day Camp.

Later, he and his family moved to Cortland and he became the School Age Supervisor for the YWCA of Cortland.

“I was responsible for managing and supervising seven before and after school child care programs as well as two summer day camp programs. All of the programs that I ran for the YMCA and the YWCA were regulated by NYS and were all NYS licensed programs,” he said.

He became more involved with being out working with the kids rather than strictly just the management side of camps.

He even had a position all lined up at a Y in Georgia for a while.

“I love the Y. They do great things for kids,” he said. “I wanted to move up, so in order to move up; you have to move around laterally a little bit.”

This time he was ready for a curve ball. But life blazed a fastball past him at the knees over the outside corner.

“I got down there and they had given the position to someone else. I felt like everything was dangled there in front of me and then yanked away,” he said. “But I am a real big believer that things happen for a reason.”

He got hooked up with a construction company down there and he started bidding and estimating projects for them. He quickly moved up to project management. “It was a good experience. But it wasn’t what I wanted to do,” he said.

His wife, a Fulton native, was with him.

“We decided that we missed our family, missed New York,” he said. “So, we came back up here. We both got jobs back in Cortland. She got a job with the Cortland City Youth Bureau. I got a job with the YWCA.”

The funding for his wife’s job got cut and she lost her job Dec. 23.

Shortly after that, life left a hanging curve out over the middle of the plate.

“I found out that this position was open. My mother-in-law actually told me about the position,” he said. “I came up in the first part of January to interview for this job. I had contacted Jim, talked with him, saw Camp Hollis.”

Home run.

“I had my interview and here I am!” he said. “Camp Hollis is a landmark for Oswego County. It really is. I am glad to be a part of it.”

He added he isn’t going to start making big changes at the camp.

Morey succeeds former Camp Hollis director and youth specialist Jim Farfaglia, who retired in January.

Youth Bureau Director Kathleen Fenlon and Recreation and Youth Development Coordinator Brandon Morey recently visited Camp Hollis in the Town of Oswego to plan for the 2011 camping season.

Youth Bureau Director Kathleen Fenlon and Recreation and Youth Development Coordinator Brandon Morey recently visited Camp Hollis in the Town of Oswego to plan for the 2011 camping season.

“You don’t want to fix something that isn’t broken. Jim has been great out there in his 21 years. I hope I can keep what he has built and just keep going and add to it over the years,” Morey said. “I hope to retire from this position. I don’t have any desire to move again.”

“My philosophy, my outlook – I really don’t know what to call it – is that there are certain things that make a camp a camp and should never be changed, never ever,” he explained. “There are things that my grandfather did at camp; things my father did, things that I did; the same skits, the same camp songs, you know, the little things that only exist at camp like playing hide-n-seek in the pitch black. Just waking up and being out there. Getting up and cleaning your cabin, the flag raising, just being outside. There are certain things that I want my kids and grandkids to do and enjoy.”

There is an extreme disconnect with Nature and the natural world these days, the new camp director said.

“It’s sad. If places like Camp Hollis can keep kids connected to Nature, I think they will do great things,” he said.

Morey says he is fortunate that most of the senior staff will be back this year at Camp Hollis.

“That will help me a lot. Jim has been a big help and I will probably rely on him while I get my feet on the ground,” he said, adding, “My professional goal, since I realized it was viable, has been to run a residential camp program. I do it because I know what camp did for me growing up and for what I have seen it do for the kids that have gone through my programs. Also camping keeps us connected with nature which I am a huge advocate for.”

Camp Hollis offers a residential camp experience for youth ages 8 to 14, complete with swimming, nature hikes, arts and crafts, games, evening campfires and many more activities.

“I am looking forward to an exciting season and building on the great tradition of Camp Hollis programs,” said Morey. “I’ve always loved being outside and enjoy all types of outdoor activities. Camp Hollis and Camp Zerbe are wonderful resources for Oswego County residents and I look forward to meeting the many people of all ages who use these facilities.”

Week-long sessions at Camp Hollis will begin July 4 and run through Aug. 19.

There will be a special “mini-camp” June 30 and July 1 to introduce eight-year-olds to the overnight summer camp experience.

For a camper application and more information, go to http://www.oswegocounty.com/youth/hollis/index.html or call the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau at 349-3451.

Proposed NYS Program Grant May Hurt Local Youth Bureau Programming

OSWEGO, NY – At Thursday’s meeting, the Oswego County Legislature will ask the state to reconsider instituting a program that would be detrimental to upstate youth.

The proposed state budget proposes a $35 million Primary Prevention Incentive Program to provide funding to prevent out of home placements and to reduce juvenile delinquency.

The program combines three Youth Bureau state aid funding streams (Youth Development Delinquency Prevention, Special Delinquency Prevention Program and Runaway and Homeless Youth Act) with six other funding streams.

These programs totaled $70 million last year.

This action assumes $35.4 million in sate general fund savings.

The three Youth Bureau funding streams are currently distributed equitably across New York State on a per capita formula (YDDP) and combination per capita and other factors (SDPP and RHYA).

The other six funding streams are all competitive grants issued by the state to local communities. Oswego County Opportunities has one of these grants (Hoyt Trust Fund); no one in Oswego County receives any of the other grants.

The PPIP funds would be allotted by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services to communities competitively based on the percent of youth in residential treatment and the child protective case rate, according to Kathy Fenlon, director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau.

“Our residential placement rate in Oswego County is very low. Our child protective case rate, while not exceedingly high, does fall within the upper half for the state,” she said. “Oswego County, like many upstate rural counties, wouldn’t be considered a high-need county and would receive little if any of these funds based on the stated competitive basis.”

The budget language also states that the funds would be 62 percent state aid, leaving the counties to come up with 38 percent match.

The total YDDP, SDPP and RHYA state aid Oswego County currently receives is $256,000. The city of Oswego Also receives $19,000 for its Youth Bureau administrative allocation.

This state aid is distributed as follows:

  • $154,000 for 14 contracts with local not-for-profit agencies for youth services
  • $39,000 for 25 contracts with local municipalities for youth services and youth recreation programs
  • $63,000 for Youth Bureau administrative and direct programs (Youth Court, Youth Advisory Council, parks and recreation oversight, USTA tennis, Arts in the Parks, mini-grants)

The impact of the proposed PPIP is significant.

“Youth Bureau funding would be eliminated in many counties, which would promote inequities in prevention and positive youth development services across the state. It is economically not prudent to only support youth when they are at the doorstep of the child welfare and/or the juvenile justice system,” Fenlon said.

“It is likely that all programs in Oswego County currently funded by YDDP, SDPP and RHYA will lose ALL of their state aid funding, because we won’t be able to compete with downstate and urban areas using the competitive criteria. The current funding level of $275,000 supports 20 full-time and 80 part-time and seasonal jobs. These programs serve approximately 10,000 Oswego County youth each year,” she continued. “There are 46 programs affected – 24 programs that are contracted out to community not-for-profit organizations or run by the Youth Bureau directly, and 22 programs contracted out to municipalities.”

Currently, Youth Bureau state aid is allocated to local agencies based on local need.

The PPIP would prevent counties from adapting state aid allocations to meet the distinctive needs of their youth and families; local control would diminish and state control would dominate.

“If the proposed PPIP is passed, Oswego County could apply for the funds on a competitive basis. We wouldn’t be considered a high-need county and any funding we received would be minimal. The municipal youth services and youth recreation programs would all lose their funding, as would most, if not all of the contracted services,” according to Fenlon.

Youth Bureau funding is often the building block used to secure other funding, she added.

The legislature meeting is set for 2 p.m. in the Legislative Chamber, fourth floor of the County Building.

Support Appreciated

FULTON, NY – In honor of National Mentoring Month, Catholic Charities of Oswego County recently recognized the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau for its support of the CYO Mentoring Program.

Youth Bureau thanked

Youth Bureau thanked

A school based mentoring program, Catholic Charities’ CYO Mentoring Program matches elementary school children with high school students and provides them with peer support and a positive role model.

Mentors provide friendship, guidance, and support through one on one time and group activities.

From left are: CYO director Jim Smiley; executive director of the Youth Bureau, Kathleen Fenlon; and CYO Mentoring Program coordinator, Stacie Roberts.

For more information, call Roberts at 598-3980 or visit www.ccoswego.com

Forum Highlights Services For Youth

OSWEGO, NY – A variety of services for youth was on display this week in the Oswego YMCA Armory.

The fourth annual Oswego County Youth Program Forum focused on the youth of Oswego County.

The free event provided a glimpse into the myriad of services available to youth in Oswego County. It also demonstrated how those agencies might work together to further enhance services.

Representatives from Oswego County’s human services agencies provided information about the many youth oriented programs that exist in the county and how to properly access them.

However, instead of standing at the podium, one after another, the presenters were broken into three groups – A, B and C. Each group presented at different times.

They had several seats positioned in front of their displays. Participants not presenting during that time and others attending the forum, could visit other presenters at 10-minute intervals.

More than 100 people took part in this year’s event making it one of the most well-attended. They had the opportunity to ask questions, gather information and establish contacts with youth service providers.

“The forum offers a broad preview of just what services are available for youth in the county,” explained Kathy Fenlon, director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, one of the sponsors. “Services can change so often and be updated that it is difficult to keep up with current programs. This program allows people to stay on top of the different kinds of services offered in our county.”

Information gathered at the forum will help people know which agency they need to contact for specific services, added Director of the Oswego County Youth Advocate Program, David Canfield.

“There has been a lot of staff turnover in some of these agencies. People don’t always know what is available,” he said.

Among the programs highlighted were recreational programs for youth with disabilities (Arise), children’s respite service (Catholic Charities), Girl Scout Journeys and six-week programs (Girl Scouts of NY-Penn Pathways), Grandparents raising grandchildren (FADD) and AmeriCorps, Youth Court and Leadership Oswego County Youth Program (Youth Bureau) among dozens of others.

Jim Farfaglia explained about the many programs Camp Hollis and Camp Zerbe have to offer youth – and people of every age.

The attendees also heard about programs such as Kinship, FAST, and Youth Works.

Among the other programs were those that help prevent substance abuse by children and their families, increase youngsters’ love of reading, help youth find employment and earn their high school diplomas or GEDs, provide job training experiences, offer assistance for homeless youth and more.

Several of the agencies distributed information about their youth programs.

For more information on youth programs, contact the United Way at 593-1900 or the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau at 349-3451.

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