BY LOHR McKINSTRY
---- — TICONDEROGA — After a year without one, Ticonderoga will have a Youth Recreation Program this summer because there’s a need, organizers say.
Budget cuts forced the town to eliminate the program last summer, but it will be run on a self-sustaining basis this year, Town Supervisor Debra Malaney said, and is not part of the town budget anymore.
The program will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, July 8 to Aug. 2, at Ticonderoga Elementary/Middle School.
The cost is $10 a day per child.
The program includes breakfast, lunch and a snack, with swimming, sports, arts and crafts, games, bowling, Arts Trek shows and more.
“We’ve had a number of preregistrations and some success raising money for a scholarship fund,” said John Bartlett of the Ticonderoga Kiwanis Club, which is helping to run the program.
“A lot of people like to wait, but we want to encourage them to do it (register) sooner rather than later. We have to know the registration because we have to hire an appropriate number of counselors for the program.”
The town has extended the preregistration period until July 1 because spaces are still available. Malaney said they usually get about 200 participants.
“We’d like to thank the people who have preregistered and contributed to the scholarship program,” she said. “Without their support, this program would not have been possible.”
The town will hold preregistration from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, June 24, at the Town Armory. People can also register at anytime at the Town Clerk’s Office or by mailing payment to the town clerk at P.O. Box 471, Ticonderoga, NY 12883.
Scholarships are available for income-eligible families on a first-come basis. The scholarship applications are available at the Clerk’s Office. For more information, call 585-6677.
The program serves the community well, Bartlett said.
“The good news is the decision has been made to move forward. The program is back.”
In addition, Essex County participates in a U.S. Department of Agriculture Summer Food Service Program that is available Monday through Friday, July 8 through Aug. 16. At two sites, including Ticonderoga Elementary School, breakfast will be served 7:15 to 8:15 a.m., with lunch 11:15 a.m. to noon.
The breakfast and lunch program is not limited to children attending the recreation program, and there are no income limitations to qualify.
“Ticonderoga Central School has a number of free and reduced (price) lunches at the school, so we qualify for the USDA program,” Bartlett said. “That’s an added bonus to the Youth Program.”
Meals will be provided to all children 18 years and under without charge, he said, not just those enrolled in the summer program.
The program, on the same dates, will take place at Moriah Central School, 39 Viking Lane, and Champlain Valley Educational Services, Plank Road, Mineville.
For information on meals served at several closed sites, which require preregistration and are for children who meet certain income guidelines, call Essex County Community Resources at 873-3632.
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