Ticonderoga Supervisor Deb Malaney speaks during the formal opening of the new Silver Bay YMCA teen center. The program, supported by private donations, is free to students. Silver Bay is renting space at the Armory for $1,500 a month.
A new youth program is providing teen-agers with fresh opportunities while saving Ticonderoga money.
The town has entered in to an agreement with the Silver Bay YMCA of provide an after-school program for students in grades 6-12 at the Armory on Champlain Avenue.
The program, supported by private donations, is free to students. Silver Bay is renting space at the Armory for $1,500 a month.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our local youth to receive quality programs with professionally-trained counselors,” Ti Supervisor Deb Malaney said. “It’s really exciting.”
The arrangement had been discussed for a year before it became a reality last October. A formal grand opening was held Jan. 16.
“It’s a wonderful irony that a building originally built to prepare for war has become a place of safety and fun for children,” said Jackie Palandrani, youth and teen director at Silver Bay YMCA. “I have long dreamed of a place where young people could go after school hours; a place that offered not only opportunities to play, but to learn, and to seek help, and to feel safe — a home away from home.”
The teen center is open Monday through Thursday 3 to 6 p.m. for students in grades 6-12 and 7 to 9 p.m. for high school students only. It is open Friday 3 to 6 p.m. for students in grades 6-12, 7 to 9 p.m. for middle school students and 9-11 p.m. for high school students. It is open Saturday 2 to 6 p.m. for grades 6-12, 7 to 9 p.m. for middle school students and 9-11 p.m. for high school students.
Ticonderoga Central School will provide transportation to the Armory after classes, Palandrani said, but parents must pick up students. The center will be open through June.
“We have a one year contract,” Malaney said. “After this year we’ll sit down with Silver Bay and evaluate the program. I’m optimistic we can continue it.”
The program offers a wide variety of activities — video games, basketball, pool, air hockey, volleyball and more — along with homework assistance and a Leader’s Club. The center offers wifi and cable television.
“It’s really a kids-run program,” Palandrani said. “We talk to the kids and see what they would like, then we try to provide it.
“Our students quickly began to appreciate the program and, largely through word of mouth, helped to grow the program beyond what any of the organizers had anticipated,” she said. “On average, approximately 40 students visit the teen center each day. Special programs, like the New Year’s Eve lock-in, can see that number grow to almost 100.”
For more information about the YMCA teen center, contact Palandrani at 503-5136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ticonderoga youth commission used to operate two after-school programs at the Armory, one for elementary students and the other for middle and high school students. The middle-high school program has been eliminated in favor of the Silver Bay program, but the elementary school program is still available.
The elimination of the town-sponsored middle-high school program is saving the town money, Malaney said, while the rent being paid by Silver Bay is helping cover the cost of maintaining the town-owned Armory.
The elementary program is housed downstairs in the Armory along with the town senior citizens club and the Adirondack Community Action Program.
“That’s working out very well,” Malaney said of the elementary school program. “We’ve developed some very good interaction between the kids and the senior citizens.”