Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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July 7, 2004

Area High School Students Keep Busy, Find Satisfaction through Service Projects

By Melissa Aubin
YAC Public Relations Officer, G. Ray Bodley High School

The Oswego County Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is an organization in which students from all over Oswego County volunteer their time and services for the area. YAC consists of several student representatives from each of the nine school districts in the county. These representatives meet at the BOCES facility in Mexico on the second Wednesday of every month during the general school year to discuss upcoming events in the area. During the 2003-2004 school year, YAC, along with advisor Brian Chetney from the Oswego City/County Youth Bureau, has done various community service projects to help better the county.

Toward the beginning of the year, YAC paid a half-day visit to the Hannibal Junior/Senior High School. While there, members presented a $200 check to the Hannibal Knee-High Basketball League, which was raised at last year's Starlight Youth Walk. After, Hannibal's principal led the group on a tour of the school and provided lunch for the members. For the remainder of the day, YAC traveled to Lighthouse Lanes in Oswego where they held their 8th annual bowl-a-thon. Through donated pledges, YAC raised over $1,000 which was donated to a teen from Pulaski suffering from Cystic Fibrosis.

YAC also fundraised by organizing a county-wide pizza sale. $200 worth of pizza was hand made and distributed to hungry customers. The proceeds went to the Paul V. Moore High School scholarship fund in memory of Brooke Harrison.

In April, YAC visited G. Ray Bodley High School in Fulton. There, assistant principal Tina Winkler welcomed the group, followed by a presentation given by Linda Eagan, BOCES coordinator for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Services (APPS). To end the meeting, Fulton student representatives gave a tour of the school and its newly constructed wing.

During the Christmas season, YAC spread the holiday warmth to the Bishop Commons assistive living residence in Oswego. There, the group decorated the building, and organized a holiday dance. Although the winter weather wasn't in good favor, a few members managed to beat the storm and be in attendance at the fun filled evening. Jim Farfaglia of the Oswego City/County Youth Bureau was the DJ for the event. He played holiday music, along with a few old favorites that the residents couldn't help but get up and dance to. At the end of the night, the residents returned to their rooms with smiling faces and YAC members in attendance all said they had a great time.

Students at the preschool in BOCES were asked to all write letters to Santa. At the December meeting, members paired up and wrote back to the children as "Santa's Elves". Later in the day, the letters were delivered to the students and they were all astonished to see that their letters actually made it to the North Pole and back. After all letters were handed back, YAC joined the students in singing a few favorite Christmas carols. It was an enjoyable experience for all.

Other YAC activities include a county-wide voter registration drive. Representatives from each school set up booths and presentations with government classes stressing the need for young people to get out and register to vote. The event had a huge turn out. This coming presidential election will include the votes of many newly registered teens.

Throughout the winter months, YAC held an open house at BOCES, inviting the media, school representatives, county agencies, elected officials, and anyone else who wished to attend and participate in one of the monthly meetings. This gave the guests a first hand look at what YAC was, and what the council does for the county. Each school was assigned an event that YAC had done over the past year to present to the guests. During this, the attendants got an in depth look at the devotion which the students have towards helping the community.

YAC ended the year out with a full day visit to Camp Hollis in Oswego. There, next year's officers were elected, and the graduating seniors were honored. After, everyone pitched in to help clean up and get the camp ready for this summer's campers. Jobs consisted of everything from wood gathering, to cleaning the cabins. It was a beautiful day, and a great way to end a fun and successful year.

YAC would like to give thanks to the many people and organizations who presented to the group over the course of the year. Presentations included representatives from BOCES APPS, Parents of Special Children, Oswego County Board of Elections, United Way Success By Six, Harborfest, Starlight Youth Walk, Reality Check, AmeriCorps, and the Youth Bureau staff. Thank you for your time and interest in our organization.

For more information about the Youth Advisory Council contact Brian Chetney at the Oswego City/County Youth Bureau at 349-3451.

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