The Ti youth summer program is also educational. The children learned bike safety. They spent time at the library. They were exposed to culture at the Arts Trek and Heritage Museum programs. They went out on the LGA’s Floating Classroom to learn about Lake George and our region’s environment which was provided to the children through a grant at no cost.
Many of the enriching activities cost little or nothing themselves. The program needs funding to cover the costs of the dedicated counselors who guide and watch over the children. Incidentally, this provides summer jobs for local college-age people which generate some economic development.
I encourage the board members to sharpen their pencils – and I know from my own work that that is a daunting task—and look elsewhere for places to cut, not the summer youth program. Our children should not be the ones who suffer from rising health insurance premiums, unfunded mandates and rising utilities costs.
This program provides activities, education, and supervised access to the outdoors. I don’t want to see us end up with a community of sedentary young people parked in front of the TV or video game all summer. Not every working family can find a way to get out and enjoy all the summer activities that this program offers.
I implore the board, don’t close down the program. Give the children an opportunity to get out and do something and enjoy our natural resources. Ask participants to chip in a little more to cover the costs. Seek more free or subsidized activities like the Floating Classsroom and Arts Trek. Find more creative ways to keep this valuable program. It’s one of the few things that we offer our youth in this area that is equally accessible to everyone.
Walt Lender, Ticonderoga
Walt Lender is executive director of the Lake George Association.