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Shipman Youth Center an after-school sanctuary

May 21, 2015
By BIANCA BRAMAN - Correspondent , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - The Shipman Youth Center continues to create opportunities for Lake Placid students during non-school hours.

Jon Fremante of the Shipman Youth Center came on board July 1, 2003 to create an environment where kids could go after school, be safe and have fun. To do so, a short but meaningful list of rules has been set in place by Fremante and his staff, along with the forms of discipline that will ensue if the rules have been broken. Fremante achieved his masters at SUNY Potsdam and was certified there to teach grades 1 through 6. He is currently a long-term substitute teacher in the Lake Placid and Saranac Lake school districts while continuing his work for the Youth Center. One of his many goals is for the kids to become active community members while volunteering. "Volunteering creates a sense of ownership in the community for the kids, which further promotes their understanding of caring for it."

After school, unless there is an organized activity such as volunteer work, bowling, going to the movies, or a pizza party, it is up to the usual amount of about 15-20 kids to be the decision makers.

Article Photos

Members of the Shipman Youth Center pose at the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. They are Gage, Logan, Alexis, Jaycee, Alyssa, Hailey and Veda.
(Photo provided)

"This is a place for them to unwind and just be a kid, while supervised," said Fremante, who works with Jason Hooker of Lake Placid to make sure the kids are always supervised, learning and enjoying their time.

Students are asked to first complete their homework before participating in other activities.

"For kids who aren't playing sports or participating in other after school clubs this is a great, drug-free, and supervised place to come and use as a sanctuary," Hooker said.

Tony, 15, concurs with the idea of it being his refuge.

"Even though I've been coming here since 4th grade, this is still a fun place to hang out after school," he said. "I've learned a lot and have grown up a lot seeing the younger kids and understanding why it's important to act more mature."

The Shipman Youth Center is a community oriented organization that exposes its members to other worldly experiences and opportunities. Their recent trip to Virginia Beach and Washington, D.C. with seven kids and three supervisors for spring break sparked further advancements for going on trips with students. The kids on these trips can enjoy lessons in history and things such as seeing the ocean for the first time.

On their recent trip, they visited the U.S.S. Wisconsin, Colonial Williamsburg, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Vietnam War Memorial, World War I & II memorials and the White House, where they got to see President Barack Obama come home in his helicopter. These trips are helping to expose the kids to something they might not necessarily have the opportunity to see.

The funds for the center and its trips are provided in part by the youth center's annual maple syrup sales. Five years ago, Mike Farrell from the Cornell University Cooperative Extension got the center involved for a tour and learning experience. By the third year of doing the tours, Randy Quayle of Red Fox Maple had turned his property into a sugar field and offered Fremante the ability to possibly benefit from making syrup.

With the donated sugar from the Quayles' Red Fox Maple and processing at the Cornell sugar house on Bear Cub Lane, the Shipman Youth Center has benefited from its syrup sales. Last year, they sold 250 gallons to local businesses, restaurants and individuals, including Generations Restaurant, Green Goddess Natural Market, New Leaf Coffee House, Market on Main Street and High Falls Gorge. For pricing, contact Jon Fremante at 518-523-8786.

The Youth Center members participated in the recent village clean up and will be hosting their own events and fundraisers. On July 4, they host their annual I Love BBQ and Music Festival at the Oval where 20-25 kids work to raise money for the Youth Center. In November, they will host their Thanks-For-Giving Dinner at the Youth Center. The Center and its events are open to students and community members of grades 6-12.

Parents are always welcome to stop into the Center to speak with the supervisors as well to find out more about their after school program.

The center was inspired by Thomas Shipman, a designated Lake Placid youth police officer who died unexpectedly in 1995.



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