The Ellenburg youth group from St. Edmund's cuts footloose after an evening of helping out at the town hall revival concert March 24.
While the Back Porch Band christened the refinished town hall with some tunes, a local youth group introduced some new members to volunteerism.
Isabelle ran coffee and soda orders to the tables while Mikayla helped serve at the sweet treat station.
“You can’t have involved citizens as adults if you don’t start getting them involved when they’re young,” said Mindy Almodovar, who started the youth group a year ago.
For awhile, enrollment was low, but after a Christmas pageant sought some dramatic talent from the community kids, the ranks swelled to about 30.
The concert was hosted in the town hall. Though the hall was full, it’s not a large venue, so the newer kids weren’t overwhelmed by a large crowd, said Almodovar. Her son Dylan said he’s a veteran, but there were many new faces were in the group.
Overcoming shyness is one of the difficulties she’s encountered leading the youth group.
“More and more kids these days don’t know how to talk without their thumbs,” she said.
Jonathan Schiraldi is the oldest member of the youth group, and started six months ago. Volunteerism gives him a sense of accomplishment.
“It’s fun,” he said, “I like doing it.”
Megan Lailer from Voorheesville was visiting a local cousin, and got enrolled to help out. Her cousin Destiny Cronkrite has only been in the group for a month.
“This is my first event, and it’s been pretty cool,” she said as she watched the band play.
The group has also helped families who’ve had fires with household goods, and provided baby supplies for young women dealing with teenage pregnancies.
They started a thrift shop where they work hard to repurpose items that would otherwise go in the trash. Stained clothes are cut up and woven into rugs. They were also involved in a local multi-parish soup dinner, though that’s been on hold for a little while.
The youth group is coordinated through St. Edmund’s Church.