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.