o ... To groups working to find constructive activities for local youths.

Efforts recently got under way in at least two local communities.

In Sidney, preliminary meetings, hosted by the Sidney Area Youth Advocate Program and Sidney United Way, were held this month to come up with ideas and programs for teens.

The GMU Community Youth Group had its first event this weekend, focusing on activities for teens in the Gilbertsville and Mount Upton area.

In other communities, the efforts have a longer history.

The Oneonta Community Alliance for Youth has for years focused on area teens. The group spearheaded the effort to establish a teen center, which is in the Asa C. Allison Jr. Municipal Building. It now hosts numerous activities for teens.

In Cherry Valley, the Old School Café, which was founded by a student several years ago, provides a venue for students' music and poetry performances, art exhibits and more.

The people involved with those groups, and others like them across the area, should be applauded for their efforts.

o ... To Bassett Healthcare and the Oneonta Family YMCA for operating Kick-Start, a program designed to deal with weight problems in children ages 7 to 13.

Starting Nov. 5 and continuing for eight weeks, the 25 children in the free program will be offered exercise, nutritional education, discussions with parents about healthy eating, shopping tips and behavior modification.

"We want to include the whole family," said Karina Goodrich, Oneonta Family YMCA program manager, who added children cannot make lifestyle changes by themselves."

By keeping the program free, Steve Garner, Bassett Healthcare manager for community health programs, said, "We wanted to remove financial barriers that might prohibit them from taking the next step."

If the program is successful, it can be brought to nine locations across the county, he said.

Obesity is a problem in the nation. We hope that Kick-Start is just the start of a trend toward healthier children in the Heartland of New York.

o ... To the beginning of the forensic competition season in Iroquois District.

A team from Oneonta High School won the first overall speech and debate competition of the year, which included about 80 students, at the State University College at Oneonta earlier this month.

This year is the first full year junior high school students are able to compete in several events.

Students will compete at various local schools throughout the year, with the season ending with district competition in Sayre, Pa. At that time, students can qualify for the national competition in Las Vegas in June.

Laurens placed second overall, with Franklin in third and Unatego in fourth. Students from Downsville, Edmeston, Hancock, Morris and Worcester also competed.

We look forward to a spirited season of debate and speech competition at our local schools.

Trending Video