By Allison Collins
SIDNEY – On Monday, July 31 the Tri-Town Youth Club, recently relocated to the Sidney United Methodist Church on Liberty Street, opened its doors for the second in a series of open house events.
Newly appointed TTYC director, Vince Spruill, explained Monday, “We’ve had a series of open houses over the last few days and they’ve gone pretty well,” noting, “It’s been well received given what we’re trying to do in such a short period of time.”
He added, “We’ve had some of the population express an interest to help however they can and we are always looking for donations – anything that can help us help the kids.”
Discussing campers specifically, Spruill noted, “They’re all warming up and it’s starting to get really fun around here. They’re enjoying it.” During the summer, the club is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Spruill was appointed July 7 and TTYC’s summer day camp began July 19, with daily attendance figures ranging from 18 to 26 children, and weekly attendance totaling around 115. The day camp is open to children ages 5 through 14 in the tri-town area.
Advisory board member to the TTYC, Joanne Osterhout of Bainbridge, said Monday, “I came down to see and I’m impressed.” Osterhout’s visit marked her first time seeing club participants and staff in action since the club’s relocation.
Discussing Spruill, Osterhout said, “He’s organized and he’s brought kids in. That’s what counts.” Osterhout has been involved with the club for three years.
Osterhout, whose visit coincided with the delivery of lunch, courtesy of Sidney Central School District, noted, “They are getting nice meals, too – breakfast, lunch and snacks.”
As part of the club’s overarching mission to outfit kids with life skills, participants are not only enjoying the food provided, they’re also cooking up some of their own.
After the midday meal, James Greene, 15, of Sidney, doled out miniature apple pies, baked earlier by camp participants. Alongside Greene, camp staffer Lexi Cooper, also 15 and from Sidney, said the program has “been amazing.”
“I’ve learned so much from the kids,” said Cooper, one of four staffers recruited through CDO Workforce. Describing the campers, she added, “They have such unique mindsets.”
Although John Bockhorn, of Bainbridge, was visiting the camp for the first time with his pair of grandkids, he said he was familiar with the club’s earlier goings on, as his own children attended years ago.
“My two kids used to come when it was at the Civic Center, but we just came today,” said Bockhorn. He added, “We came over … and my granddaughter, Alanna, wanted to check it out.”
TTYC board member George Sands said the open houses were to “get the information out that we are open and with our new director.” He added, “The biggest thing is to get the knowledge out there and let the community know we’re here and we’re not going to go anywhere.”
For more information, contact the Tri-Town Youth Club at 561-2311 or get in touch with Spruill directly at 845-707-3406 or Vince.Spruill@gmail.com.