More than 400 excited guests got the scoop Sunday on the many diverse summer youth programs offered in Oneonta and the surrounding area.
At the 7th annual Ice Cream Social, sponsored by Oneonta World of Learning and the Oneonta Family YMCA, the Oneonta Boys and Girls Club was buzzing with hundreds of children and parents, eager for a fun time and free ice cream.
But the ice cream may have been the least-crowded attraction during the free event. Visitors were too distracted by the many hands-on, educational activities and demonstrations that were spread out inside two separate gymnasiums.
The first gym was filled with colorful robots, origami, pipe cleaners, paint, cardboard and clay, and was designated as the hands-on activity zone. Here, children could experiment and learn through playing, which is the main idea behind Oneonta World of Learning, according to Rachel Rissberger, OWL’s education and program chair. Rissberger said this was OWL’s sixth year running the Ice Cream Social.
“Today, we’re trying to showcase OWL and invite other organizations that work with children to showcase themselves, as well,” Rissberger said. “It’s called the Ice Cream Social, but it’s really more of a summer kick-off event.”
Numerous organizations, including the Otsego 4-H Robotics Team, Girl Scouts, the Huntington Memorial Library and the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, invited children to their respective tables to take part in the fun activities, arts and crafts and exhibits there. At a table run by Carriage House Art Studios, children could try their hand at pottery.
Doug Hallberg, owner and director of Carriage House Art Studios, said the Ice Cream Social is always a great event. Hallberg knelt next to a pottery wheel and gently showed child after child how to mold the clay into a bowl or vase with his or her own hands.