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September 26, 2018

Teen ‘Elves’ Read Santa Letters To Children


OSWEGO, NY – Representatives of the Youth Advisory Council and Youth Court visited Kingsford Park Elementary School Monday afternoon.

The teens were on a mission from Santa Claus himself.

Preston Norfleet enjoys his candy cane as he listens to Santa's helpers read some of his classmates' Christmas letters.

Preston Norfleet enjoys his candy cane as he listens to Santa's helpers read some of his classmates' Christmas letters.

The younger students received personalized news from the North Pole.

Recently, the elementary students had written letters to Santa. He asked his elves to answer the children’s letters that he couldn’t get to himself.

Santa’s little helpers did so; but they were too busy making last-minute adjustments to the gifts Santa will deliver Christmas Eve that they couldn’t answer the letters in person.

“That’s where we come in,” explained Brian Chetney, Youth Services Specialist with the Oswego City/County Youth Bureau. “We’re the replacement elves. We are here to read the elves’ letters to the students and sing some songs with the kids.”

Chetney asked the youngsters what treats they leave out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

While most every youngster said they’d leave milk and cookies or chocolate cake for Santa, some noted they would leave some carrots for the eight tiny reindeer.

Other tasty Christmas Eve snacks for the Jolly Old Elf and his eight tiny reindeer included sugar, cinnamon, and even celery.

YAC has been doing the letters to Santa project for about eight years now, according to Chetney, YAC advisor.

The group of teens, from various school districts, visited three kindergarten classrooms.

They asked the younger students if they knew how many more days it was until Christmas. Several of them knew right done to the minute. Others pointed out it was just a couple of days until Christmas Eve.

Then, one by one, the teens read a personalized response to the letter the younger students had written.

On the children’s wish list this year were a myriad of gifts ranging from the traditional to the most hi-tech new gizmos.

Some of the elves reminded the youngsters that the best Christmas gift they can receive is their family.

When they were done reading, everyone sang holiday songs.

The teens took song requests. The youngsters joined them in singing Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman and other carols.

A group of kindergarten students, with holiday headwear, sing a song for the Santa helpers visiting their classroom.

A group of kindergarten students, with holiday headwear, sing a song for the Santa helpers visiting their classroom.

The kindergarteners also performed some of the holiday songs their class had been working on. Mrs. Tryon’s students sang an abridged version of “The 12 Days of Christmas.”

“We have been practicing very hard. But we have only memorized the first 10 days,” she explained.

Youth Advisory Council is comprised of high school students that represent all nine school districts in Oswego County including private schools and home schooled students.

YAC raises money for charitable organizations, conducts a youth voter registration drive, sponsors speakers for young audiences and represents the youth of Oswego County by advising the Oswego City/County Youth Bureau.

Youth Court is a family court diversion program aimed at reducing juvenile delinquency in the city/county of Oswego.

It is a trial by peers process for first-time offenders between the ages of 7 and 16 who allegedly commit a violation and /or misdemeanors.  Youth court offers youth an opportunity to constructively assume responsibility for their actions as well as offers them a chance to learn about the justice system.

For more information about either group, call Chetney at 349-3451.

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