OSWEGO, NY – As the fencing went down, stages were disassembled and final counts were tallied, Harborfest concluded its 21st year with success in knowing that another year of great programming and completion were at hand.
Without the support of countless volunteers, sponsors, and business members Harborfest would not be able to present the celebration it does each year.
Among the hundreds of volunteers and supporters necessary to carry out HarborfestÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s mission, AmeriCorps, a national volunteer service organization, lent one of its newest members to support the cultural component of the festival.
Shauntay Victoria Roberts began her service in June of 2008 and quickly got an education of what Harborfest really achieves.
Having grown up in the Bronx, her understanding of Harborfest was limited, until of course she spent the past three years at SUNY Oswego working on her degree.
Roberts came to the festival to help support the cultural component program.
The festival introduced the cultural component in 1999 with China as an opportunity to have local youth expand their horizons beyond Lake Ontario without ever having to leave the harbor.
With a map, and thanks to technology, the Internet, the children are able to close the gap around the globe by participating in workshops and other events before and during the festival.
These workshops geared to educate, excite, and entertain these pint sized pioneers are able to capture the geography and culture of neighboring countries including this past yearÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s centerpiece the Caribbean Islands.
Since its inception the cultural component has visited the countries of Ghana, Brazil, Ireland, India, Mexico, Australia, Ivory Coast, and Italy.
With this yearÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s focus setting sail on the Caribbean, Roberts was tasked with helping create events and activities that would give children an overview of the culture of the Islands.
A group effort within the HarborfestÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s ChildrenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Committee, these activities culminated into several activities including T-shirt workshops, face-mask and head pieces crafting for the childrenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s parade, and a Pirates and Princess Gala, each bringing the color and vitality of the Isles right into the port of Oswego.
Barbara Manwaring, business manager of Oswego Harbor Festivals, and onsite AmeriCorps supervisor, said of the program ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œthe ChildrenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Committee always looks forward to taking on the task each year of integrating the cultural component into the festival. We seem to learn as much as the children do, and it was a pleasure having Shauntay work with us in accomplishing this yearÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s goals.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
When asked what she will take away from her experience with the festival, Roberts said, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI really enjoyed working with different people, personalities, and cultures. Although I usually work solo, this gave me an opportunity to work with others as a team. I was very happy to see the children enjoy doing what I took part in creating.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
To learn more about how you can participate in the 2009 festival, call 343-6858 or visit www.oswegoharborfest.com