Sullivan County Democrat
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Youth Center
In Great Need

By Jeanne Sager
CALLICOON — May 27, 2005 – The community center is turning to the community.
Since the floods of early April decimated the grounds of the Delaware Youth Center in Callicoon, volunteers have been hard at work – offering up their services to do everything from repair the baseball field to hydroseed the playground.
But with thousands of dollars in damages, there’s one more last-ditch effort planned to get the community center ready for the summer season.
A spaghetti dinner has been planned for Sunday, June 5, to offer an option for folks who don’t have excavating equipment or time to volunteer but have big hearts and want to help.
According to Tess McBeath, president of the youth center’s board of trustees, the monies will be used to help rebuild portions of the grandstand, replace the equipment shed which has been rendered unsafe thanks to flood damage and replace everything in the pumphouse to get the pool up and running in time for swimming lessons season.
McBeath said she cried when she saw the devastation left behind by the flood.
The youth center was in dire straits not too long ago, but volunteer efforts and grants have helped make a turnaround at the Callicoon facility.
The flood, McBeath said, put them back at the beginning.
Since then, she’s been crying at the amazing community she lives in.
“People have been extraordinarily generous throughout this,” she said. “It restores your faith in humanity, not to mention the warm and fuzzy feeling I got from all of this.”
Even the youth of the community have gotten involved – Girl Scout Troop #356 and Top of the Hill Kids First Daycare held a bake sale that drew in $500.
“Five hundred dollars on a rainy Saturday – I’ve never heard of a bake sale making that much,” McBeath said.
The fundraising dinner is being run by a number of local volunteers with kids from the Holy Cross and St. Mary’s Catholic Youth Organizations waiting tables.
“The kids know what the community has given to them, and they want to give back,” Holy Cross CYO Advisor Anne Backlund explained.
That’s why many of the volunteers have gotten involved.
“It’s a true community effort,” Backlund said. “Everybody was devastated by the flood.
“But the reason my heart said to try to raise this money was because of the hard work the board members have done over the years with the new roof and the new stove . . .” Backlund added, “and because of how much a part the youth center has played in everyone’s lives.
“People love the youth center,” she said simply. “It’s available for everyone, young and old, and it’s unique – there’s no other town around here with something like it.
“And it’s not funded by tax rolls – it’s donations and grants.”
The flood destroyed much of the youth center’s grounds.
“Now everybody that’s involved wants it to be whole,” Backlund noted.
In addition to the spaghetti served up on the 5th, there will be a silent auction of art donated by local artists, a raffle of more than 30 prizes donated by local businesses and entertainment provided by It Couldn’t Hoit, a local contra band which plays mostly bluegrass and country tunes.
Tickets are $10 at the door for meat sauce or marinara. Children 10 and under will get in for $5, and children under age 5 eat for free.
The dinner will run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the youth center’s Grover Hermann Hall on Creamery Road in Callicoon.
For more information, to volunteer or to donate, call Anne Backlund at 570-224-4666.
Donations can be sent to the Delaware Youth Center, P.O. Box 354, Callicoon, NY 12723.

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