By Jocelyn Rhodes Cook, Contributing Writer
FULTON, NY – Last week, some very special young guests arrived in Fulton.
A group of youngsters, ages 6 to 18, will be spending a few weeks enjoying the summer weather of Central New York, thanks to an organization called the Fresh Air Fund.
The group provides free summer vacations to more than 4,000 children from New York City.
The youngsters get to enjoy time in more rural locations in 13 states and Canada, including a few communities in Oswego County, for up to two weeks for new participants.
Recently, host families in Phoenix, Pennellville, Brewerton, Fulton, Red Creek, Oswego, Sterling, and Central Square were set to meet up with their Fresh Air Fund guests.
On Tuesday (July 17), another small group of children will be arriving in Fulton to spend part of their summer vacations in Pennellville, Red Creek, and Oswego.
For some, this is a first trip away from home.
But, others have participated in the program before and sometimes stay with the same hosts families for multiple summers.
“Children who are re-invited by host families may continue with The Fresh Air Fund through age 18 and can enjoy extended trips,” according to Vicki Bracco, Fresh Air Fund spokesperson. “More than 65 percent of all children are re-invited to stay with their host families, year after year.”
“It’s really worth giving a child a new experience. Having the ability to walk out the door and have their feet in the grass is so refreshing,” one Fresh Air host said about her Fresh Air child. “She just enjoyed being in the backyard with us. We kept it very basic and enjoyed laughing together on the porch.”
Boys and girls are eligible.
The not-for-profit agency is still looking for families to host children this summer.
For information on hosting a child, visit www.freshair.org or call Bracco at 315-593-7250 or The Fresh Air Fund at 800-367-0003.