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Deaf Education Anniversary Celebration At Camp Hollis

Submitted Article

OSWEGO, NY – Colorful banners and balloons graced the entrance of Camp Hollis and a welcoming committee consisting of Oswego County BOCES students and staff welcomed guests and visitors to the 20th Anniversary Celebration of Deaf Education at Camp Hollis.

Students and staff from Oswego County BOCES Deaf and Hard of Hearing Summer Program rolled out the red carpet to welcome visitors and guests to the 20th Anniversary Celebration. Members of the welcoming committee included Oswego County BOCES students Destiny VanAuken, Kyle Lynch, and Justin Loughery joined by OCB Interpreter Stevie Macro and OCB Student Teacher Lisa Austin.
Students and staff from Oswego County BOCES Deaf and Hard of Hearing Summer Program rolled out the red carpet to welcome visitors and guests to the 20th Anniversary Celebration. Members of the welcoming committee included Oswego County BOCES students Destiny VanAuken, Kyle Lynch, and Justin Loughery joined by OCB Interpreter Stevie Macro and OCB Student Teacher Lisa Austin.

Oswego County BOCES’ Special Education Department in cooperation with Oswego City-County Youth Bureau hosted the anniversary celebration on Aug. 1.

The event celebrated the 20-year partnership between OCB and Camp Hollis to provide a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Summer Program to the residents of Oswego County and provided an opportunity for students, family members, staff, community members, and Camp Hollis alumni to reunite.

Upon greeting the welcoming committee, visitors and guests enjoyed refreshments as they toured the lakeshore camp and the Deaf Education classroom facilities.

This cooperative summer program, created in 1988, combines summer camp with summer school allowing students to learn in the great outdoors.

Students in the program enjoy academic instruction while participating in a variety of activities including swimming, athletics, team building exercises, arts and crafts. In addition to building character and socialization, the skills learned in the summer program help break barriers and unite Oswego County youth.

Following the tour and a picnic lunch served lakeside, the anniversary celebration continued with a presentation and dedication ceremony of the Arts and Crafts building to Herb and Sandy VanSchaack.

Sandy, a former employee of OCB’s Special Education Department, was instrumental in launching the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Summer Program 20 years ago.

Throughout the years, the summer program grew and grew, moving from the former Camp Hollis maintenance shed to various classrooms throughout the facility until a new Arts and Crafts building was constructed in 1995 by OCB Career and Technical Education students.

In a speech by Kathy Fenlon, Oswego City-County Youth Bureau Director, she credits Herb, a former Oswego County Legislator, with the idea to have OCB students construct the building and thanked the VanSchaacks for their dedication to the Summer Program and Camp Hollis.

Oswego County Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann jokingly calling the Arts and Crafts Building the ‘VanSchaack Shack’ thanked OCB and Camp Hollis for their partnership and the VanSchaacks for their vision and leadership.

Leemann, on behalf of OCB, Camp Hollis and the Oswego County Legislature, presented a commemorative plaque to honorary couple that will be hung on the Arts and Crafts building.

Celebrations continued following the presentation ceremony as guests enjoyed cake and students from the Social Language Group, Amanda Pravettoni, Avian Maniccia, Charlene Purchas and Tonaya Gorton, performed Irish dances.

OCB Student Teacher Lisa Austin led all students from the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Summer Program in a song and signing presentation of ‘Waiting on the World to Change’ by John Mayer.

For more information about the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Summer Program, contact Oswego County BOCES Special Education Department at 963-4314.