NORTH CREEK - Thanks to a cooperative effort between local community members and a national volunteer service organization, representatives of the Youthworks program will visit the region in the summer of 2009.
The faith-based and interdenominational service organization will mark its third year in the Adirondacks. Over 400 youths from across the country will visit the region from June 21 to Aug. 7, donating their time to various private and public community projects.
The group's primary focus will be on providing home repair services to the elderly such as mending fences and porches, minor construction projects, landscaping, gardening, and home painting.
All of the necessary supplies are donated and their services are free of charge to qualified applicants.
"We have been working in the area since 2007 with home improvement projects and the community garden in North Creek," Youthworks area director Kelly Daniels said in a recent interview.
The organization is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota and maintains dozens of work sites across the United States each summer. In 2009, over 70 high-school age volunteers will visit the region each week to work on various local projects.
"This year we hope to do more work projects in the area," Daniels added. "We put the priority on the elderly and low-income families. We have plenty of paint donated so we would like to find more painting projects and continue the same kind of work that we have been doing."
In 2008, the group also provided assistance to the local Art & Nature Camp program at the request of its Director, Kate Hartley. The volunteers built wooden easels for the camp and assisted Hartley with the camp's highly successful daily program.
Youthworks participants get the benefit of community service while learning about new areas of the country.
"The best thing about our program is it allows young people to be engaged and involved in community work," Daniels said. "Our hope is they will grow up and become leaders in their communities because of it.
"It's exciting to see the youth learn about areas they would not see otherwise and to learn about the history and culture of those areas."
A Community Garden for all to enjoy
One of the area's most significant, and noticeable, Youthworks projects has been the improvements to the community garden in North Creek's Ski Bowl Park.
"If it wasn't for them the garden wouldn't be as nice as it is," Garden coordinator Judy Brown said. "We could do big and intensive projects that needed a lot of manpower because we had the ten kids that would come, plus their three supervisors."
Brown noted her pleasure in working with the kids and looks forward to being considered again in 2009.
"They were delightful, they were from all over the place and they talked about their plans. They were excited to be in the Adirondacks and it was just a wonderful experience to work with them," she said.
The volunteers built a trail system through the garden along with an adjacent rock "river bed." In 2009, Brown hopes to focus their attention on garden maintenance and the possibility of developing the waterfall area along Route 28 and Ski Bowl Park.
"When you have that kind of work force you get a lot done," she added.
Anyone interested in Youthworks' services can submit an application located at the Town of Johnsburg Library. The applications are received throughout the year and final projects are approved in June for the summer program.