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.
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 Friends of the Elves. We are here to read the elves’ letters to the students and sing some songs with the kids.”
The children, mostly, said they were on Santa’s “nice list” this year. However, a couple did admit that they were probably on the “trying hard” to be nice list. Santa appreciates their honesty, their teacher said.
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 (especially chocolate chips) for Santa, some noted they would leave some carrots for the eight tiny reindeer.
YAC has been doing the letters to Santa project for about nine years now, according to Chetney, YAC advisor.
The group of teens, their advisors (Chetney and Dawn Metott) and Jack S. Beckwith Jr. an AmeriCorps worker, visited Mrs. Maxwell’s and Mrs. Caroccio’s kindergarten classrooms. They will be visiting some more in Leighton on Tuesday.
They asked the younger students if they knew how many more days it was until Christmas. Several of them knew right down to the minute. Others pointed out it was five or six days until Christmas.
Then, one by one, the teens read a personalized response to the letter the younger students had written.
The elves told the children Santa would try to bring what they wanted, but might not be able to bring everything on their list. They might be surprised by something that wasn’t on their lists, they added.
If they didn’t get everything on their list this year, “there’s always next year,” one youngster pointed out.
While most of the letters were signed by elves named Jingles or Snowflake, there was one signed by Herbie – the elf that wants to be a dentist. Some of the children immediately recalled which animated Christmas special Herbie was a featured character in and they yelled out, “I like that movie!”
On the children’s wish list this year were a myriad of gifts ranging from monster trucks, skateboards, Legos, and other traditional gifts 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, Rudolph and other carols.
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.