SARANAC LAKE — Caroleigh Meserole was 17 when her family left the Big Apple to relocate to the deep woods of Saranac Lake.
Now the mother of two adult children, she has launched Adirondack Teen, a website to help teens navigate the geography of place, fun and self in their peak years.
“When I came here I didn't know what to do,” said Meserole, who is the marketing and web editor for www.adirondackteen.com.
“I had no idea what to do. It's just something that I carried through the years, and I had to eventually find what it is I wanted to do here.
"What I do do here has nothing to do with snow because I work on technology. I do lots of websites, repair and networks on the side. It's my hobby, and it has nothing to do with snow.”
Meserole is the network coordinator for the Saranac Lake Central School District and website coordinator for the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, as well as several other local ventures.
“I'm still here,” she said.
“About 10 years ago, I think, I bought the domain. I said, I'm going to do a website and a magazine. I have not done the magazine. I'm nowhere near that. That's my ending goal.”
She launched the website with the help of her niece, editor/designer Dominique Denson, and nephew, designer Matthew Kuntz, who live in Virginia Beach but spend a lot of time in the 'Dacks.
Adirondack Teen's mission statement is: "to inspire and help teens seek personal growth by exposing them to the opportunities and adventures unique to the Adirondacks and empowering them with resources to utilize and learn from these experiences — making their Adirondack roots an invaluable foundation for the future.
"Adirondack Teen believes that our community's youth possess a high capacity for compassion, the potential for resilience and determination, and the ability to strive for and achieve great successes starting right here, at home."
“I wanted a spot for teenagers to go where they can find resources and know what to do around here and know how to become successful,” Meserole said.
“I knew it was going to be quite a little bit of work, so my family jumped in and said, 'We can help you. Tell us what you want. And, we're there for you.' It was really a touching time because I couldn't have done it myself.”
RANGE OF RESOURCES
Kuntz's branding expertise led to a distinctive green-and-white woodsy logo.
It has taken the trio a couple of years to launch Adirondack Teen, since they all have full-time jobs.
“We're doing the website and (will) go from there,” Meserole said.
Teens can tab through: "Activities," "Acts of Kindness," "ADK Hot Shots," "What's Your Art?" "Photos," "Resources" and "About Us."
“The ADK Hot Shots, we wanted some teenager to be noticed for something that they've done exceptional,” Meserole said.
“Children in the Adirondacks can achieve big goals here.”
Junior Olympian Mitchell Jones is featured now.
“We have a submission online to nominate,” Meserole said.
“One of the big things that we like is we have a Skateboard Design Contest, which Six Flags has sponsored this for us. They have given us a two-night stay at the lodge for four people with access to both parks. So that's what the winner will get.”
Garrett, of Saranac Lake, and Olivia, of Lake Placid, were nominated for the Acts of Kindness page for their respective work in their school and community.
Teens or others can submit nominees.
The "Resources" page includes a "Toolbox" that is chock-full of good information with many categories including: Driving (license, permit, safety course and road test), Your Pulse (teen health, fitness apps 1, eat well and yoga for teens) and Legal Land (working hours, work permit, find law and health care).
“Navigating your life is what we are calling it,” she said.
“I want people to see it. I want it to be bigger and better eventually. We've worked hard on getting some things going here."
A "Jobs" page links to local retail stores, fast-food chains and environmental agencies.
“What I would love is someone like the corner store to say, 'I need someone to shovel after it snows,'” she said.
“We're trying to figure out how to get that in there with being careful of not sending them someplace unsafe or something like that.”
She wants to feature Adirondack celebrities on the site to inspire teens, for example cartoonist Garry Trudeau of Doonesbury fame.
“Someone who lived here and has a success story,” Meserole said. “People like the guy who owns Dunkin' Donuts. He went to Paul Smith's College.
"We want them to know there are opportunities here, and you don't have to run away. We just want every opportunity out there for the ones who don't know what else is here.”
There are links to community service opportunities throughout the Adirondacks.
The site touts local stores and area highlights to support local towns and villages.
“The enrollment is getting lower and lower, and people are moving away from the whole Adirondacks,” Meserole said.
“We wanted to be on the same page with the other Adirondack agencies that work hard to keep the economy going here.”
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