Students brainstorm ideas to boost local youth activities

LAKE GEORGE A group of students interested in expanding youth activities in their community gathered Friday at Lake George High School to share ideas. The informal brainstorming session was a prelude to a community-wide public meeting set for Thurs. Nov. 13. Adults and youth from the Lake George community are invited to come together for a "Community Conversation" about creating new opportunities and facilities for youth in Lake George. The event will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., in the cafeteria at Lake George High School. Friday, the group of teens gathered at Lake George High School discussed ideas in preparation for the meeting. Those participating were members of Act for Youth, a school-based teen group thats been meeting for several weeks now. While the school has clubs and sports events, it makes sense to create opportunities out of school, they said. John Cocozza, 13, said he and others would like to have a skateboard park developed, so local skateboarders would have a challenging course in which to improve their skills and have fun. Were trying to get a skate park in Lake George started up, he said. Were tired of being kicked out of other places, like sidewalks and streets where we sometimes get hassled. The park could be built to feature a challenging venue for bikes and scooters, too, he said. Lake George Senior Juli Burnett suggested developing a YMCA- like recreation center in the village. Senior Stephanie Mastrodomenico agreed, adding that the defunct Lake George Forum could be easily redeveloped as a community center to include such recreational activities as the Glens Falls YMCA now hosts. The students said that even if The Forum is reopened as a commercial enterprise, its new owners could regularly host community-based events. Cocozza said a skate park could include a well-stocked skateboard retail and repair shop. We have to get a ride to Aviation Mall now to get things we need, he said. Burnett offered another suggestion, developing a teen center that would include activities and socializing. Theres no place for kids to gather after school, she said. Theres nothing to do off-season in the village. Act For Youth Coordinator Bill Toscano said other ideas have been mentioned, including encouraging a local coffee house to offer a weekly Open Mike Night for students. We want to explore all ideas that are offered, he said. There could be anything from a youth center, new sports or volunteer activities, to school-based clubs. At Thursdays event, refreshments will be served and child care will be provided. The "Community Conversation" event is a jointly sponsored by Act for Youth, Lake George School District and Lake George Communities That Care. For more information, contact Bill Toscano at 746-2391 or at: btoscano@co.washington.ny.us .

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