Forestville/Silver Creek youth rec needs parents involvement

OBSERVER Photo by Greg Fox The Silver Creek Central School could potentially be the new site of the Forestville/Silver Creek youth rec program that is trying to get off the ground.

SILVER CREEK — After last week’s meeting in the town of Hanover regarding the possible formation of a Forestville/Silver Creek Youth Recreation program, the Silver Creek village board discussed the matter at its Monday board meeting.

Village Mayor Nick Piccolo stated that he has recommended that if the youth recreation was unable to be held in Forestville, the Silver Creek High School is currently discussing moving the program there. That way, there is a pavilion there if the children get rained out, or the program could easily be moved indoors.

The only problem that presents there is transportation: Who is going to be responsible for transporting Forestville to and from the former village? According to Piccolo, Forestville Superintendent Renee Garrett has not yet committed one way or the other.

Another issue a lot of board members chimed in on was the decline in the number of volunteers for both programs — a factor that greatly affects the success of the youth rec programs that community members are so fond of.

“It’d just be nice to see some more people, parents-wise, show up. You had people that were involved directly with it with the village of Forestville, but the participation between anyone from the village has been very, very sparse,” said Trustee John Burt. “…There needs to be some other interest shown, because Louis [Pelleter, Hanover Town Councilman] can’t make this work all by himself. He’s done a lot of legwork to get it as far as it is; Now it’s up to parents and whatever to show up and kind of support and be willing to take on some kind of a position, because they need people to run it, and that’s where they see the problem being, is trying to find enough people to run it.”

Silver Creek resident Sandra Lindstrom asked what sorts of volunteers the program was looking for — counselors? Coaches?

Primarily, there needs to be a president, a vice president, and a treasurer — Diane Carpus, the only surviving board member of the [organization], has decided to retain the secretary position.

“That’s just for the beginning, and then we need some parents to become involved, because you can’t just bring your kids up and dump them off and say, ‘Here you go, take care of them.’ They need some people to help get it off the ground running,” said Burt.

There’s also the matter of qualifications of staff, as Silver Creek’s program insists on background checks for personnel, while Forestville did not, as those who helped out did so on a volunteer basis.

“I even said that if they have certified and qualified personnel up there, that they would still have to have a background check and review their qualifications,” Piccolo said. “Because they have to be upgraded in CPR and first aid, which all of our counselors are, and all of our counselors go through a background check. No approval with the background check, no job.”

Additionally, the Silver Creek program runs longer than the Forestville one did — Forestville’s program was a five week, half-day program, and Silver Creek’s goes for six weeks, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily.

Trustee Vince Tampio said that the village is also looking into targeting 14-17 year olds, expanding the youth age base from 7-13 to 7-17.

“You probably get in trouble when you’re that age, and we need to keep them off the streets. …Just to give them a place to go,” Tampio said.

“Mr. Pelleter would like to do what was done in the past and find a building to make a youth rec building for those kids from the ages, like Vince said, from 13-17, so that you can get them off the streets, give them something to do,” Piccolo explained.

The next meeting of the Hanover youth rec committee today at the Hanover town hall at 7 p.m., during which time the group hopes to pass new by-laws. Those who wish to see the beloved youth rec program to continue are welcome to attend, and perhaps even pitch in.

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