Board members, youth frustrated as rec program scrapped

STONY CREEK Since the towns Youth Director Tanya Springer quit after her car was vandalized, the town board is seeking answers over how to provide recreation programs this summer. Two months have passed since the Stony Creek youth program fell apart. With frustration, the town board has discussed the matter of retaining the youth program and the town officials have not yet been able to determine a course of action. When Springers resignation was raised at a recent town board meeting, Town Supervisor Frank Thomas offered his thoughts. She got sick of the kids coming here. She got sick of the language. She got sick of the slashing of upholstery. The final straw was when she left her vehicle at the town hall and somebody vandalized it, Thomas said. Councilman Warren Braman responded. In my opinion its a self-inflicted wound, that youth director. There is no way of controlling the situation. This is not the first one thats resigned and it wont be the last one. Thomas replied to the comment. There are a lot of good kids in town and they wont set foot here, he said. Liebl argued that the town should have a policy to ban the children who cause the trouble, but there was no consensus on what to do. He also offered to visit the parents. The month of July has arrived, and the youth of Stony Creek have their summer vacation, but nothing yet has resulted from the town boards deliberation. During an interview this week, Thomas explained some of the frustration felt by the town board. He said that Springer had held her position for about six months, after several other youth directors held the office during the past couple of years. Some had left office because of the difficulty related to the position, and a couple of them because they had other things to do, he said. The town board had hoped that the youth directors would develop a permanent program for the youth, he said. Youth offer ideas for recreation programs An interview last week with a few young Stony Creek teenagers reveals that the town officials frustration is also felt by the youth, who have hopes for the program. The youth who were interviewed are among community-minded young people in town an older brother and a sister from the two families represented have just joined the Stony Creek Volunteer Fire Company as youth members. These youth were disappointed that all the young people in town were penalized for the disrespect that just a couple of boys demonstrated, whether it was graffiti at the town park or disrespect during the youth nights at the town hall community room. These responsible youth expressed their desire to be included in the planning for the youth program. They were disappointed that no excursions were planned for the summer as in years past, like to the Great Escape, which they said offered fun socializing and opportunity for new friendships with acquaintances during the all-day trips. These young people said they resented being blamed for the misconduct of just a few of their peers. One young man, William B.J. Frankson, wondered whether the young people might get so put down by the wrongful accusations and disrespect theyve experienced, that some might just fall into the negative pattern that the officials attribute to them. If you keep blaming stuff on us and doing it over and over, well start doing it, he said. These youth told of how they worked on cleaning up graffiti that had been spray-painted on the concrete floor of the picnic pavilion at the park, even though they had not been the cause of the damage they just wanted to help out. They said how much they enjoyed the swimming hole below the digger dam at the park, but, when they tried to make the small pool larger by moving some stones to dam the creek, as earlier youth used to do in past years, they were forbidden. They had new ideas for the youth program, also, such as organizing camping trips, which they cannot do without adult supervision. They came to the youth center at the town hall, but were disappointed the last time they came, because the youth director did not show up. One of their ideas was to rent DVDs to show at the town hall and make homemade popcorn on the microwave to sell to help pay for the cost of programs. And they had ideas for the town as a whole, such as a swimming pool that would draw people from nearby towns and also help older people to get exercise. Or turning a vacant building into a youth/community center. Or just reversing the location of the pool at the waterfall park, as one , so the dangerous digger dam was not accessible to the swimming area, but below it. There is both frustration and good will on both sides, but this week it was unclear whether the youth and town officials will meet and work together to establish youth activities.

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