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The Newark Branch of Lyons National Bank recently donated $1,000 to the Wayne County Community Schools Summer Program. Above left, Wayne County Community School’s Newark Director Josh Arnold holds check facsimile with Newark Branch Manager and Assistant Vice President of Lyons National Bank Steve Hasseler, right. Behind them is, left, Sandra Ordan, NCSD Director of Innovation and Grant Services and Newark Mayor Jonathan Taylor, right. Back left is Newark Summer Program Lead Teacher Braxton Guy, who is also Project Director for Active People Healthy Wayne, and right is NCSD Superintendent Susan Hasenauer.
After a second successful run this summer of the Wayne County Community Schools Newark Summer Program that had 20 more aged 5-12 youth participating than last year when the program accommodated 45, the Newark Branch of the Lyons National Bank September 29th donated $1,000 to lend a helping hand with some enrichment-related program expenses.
Last year, LNB’s Newark branch donated $500 to the cause.
In 2019, Newark Branch Manager and Assistant Vice President of Lyons National Bank Steve Hasseler, who is also President of the Newark Chamber of Commerce, reached out to Wayne County Community Schools to see how it could possibly help provide a reliable, affordable, substantive day-long summer program to help Newark Central School District parents and caregivers who found the lack of one detrimental to their ability to work when school was not in session.
“As a Chamber we felt we had to try to solve this and assist in helping to find things for kids to do all day long while their parents or caregivers are working,’’ Hasseler said, adding that solving the problem would also help businesses unable to find workers by solving their summer child care issues.
Since the “Community Schools” concept recognizes that raising children to be “healthy, productive, fully-realized adults” requires more resources than individual school districts can provide, it identifies and engages agencies, organizations, businesses and individuals in communities to provide services and resources as needed to achieve that goal.
Wayne County Community Schools in Newark quickly enlisted the enthusiastic support of the Newark Central School District and the Village of Newark and would have begun implementing the first day-long summer program for children of individuals who live or work in Newark during the summer of 2020, but the pandemic delayed the plan for a year.
Led and facilitated by Wayne County Community School’s Newark Director Josh Arnold and co-director Nate Hawver, the Newark Summer Program ran its base of operation in Perkins Park in the summers of 2021 and 2022 Monday through Fridays from 6:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. from early July until right before school reopened in September.
As it did last year, the NCSD provided breakfast and lunch for the youth in the Kelley School cafeteria and the school gym, computer labs and the library were also available as needed for various activities. The district also occasionally provided transportation to and from field trips.
The Newark Summer Program also partnered with Alex Eligh Community Center Park Program three half days a week for six weeks of crafts, sports and other activities.
On Mondays, program participants visited the Newark Public Library for an hour in the afternoon for Library-staff directed fun and educational activities.
Peaceful Schools from Syracuse provided a two-week musical theater camp experience for interested participants culminating in a show in the beginning of August. Friends and family were able to attend the performance in the Kelley School auditorium.
Other trips and activities this summer included:
• Spirit weeks with different themes like Science Week during which students did safe chemistry experiments and a Learning about Bugs day; Game Show Week and more
Other special days included a Disney-themed Lip Sync day; Creek Day during which kids wore water shoes and explored the creek in Perkins Park; a Carnival Day in Kelley School gym; a Mystery Day in Kelley School featuring a live CLUE game and escape room; Water Day in Perkins Park complete with water balloons, slip n’ slide, a sprinkler; Dance Day featuring music, disco lights, a photo booth, refreshments and more.
Arnold said several program “partners” either provided donations or reduced rates for activities and programs.
Among them were: Doug Kent’s Rose Bowl Lanes in Newark; Cornell Cooperative Extension in Wayne County that provided Adam Bullock from the Wayne County SNAP Education Program on Tuesdays to teach the children about healthy food choices for free; Cornell University sent a representative to teach children about various kinds of bugs; and Scarlet Thread Ministries provided inflatables for kids to play on during the last day of the summer program; the Newark Fire Department volunteers came to Perkins Park and gently sprayed water on anyone who wanted to get sprayed.
The Summer Program’s final field trip was to Roseland Waterpark in Canandaigua. Arnold appreciatively noted Canal View Family Restaurant, Cross Park Family Restaurant, Pontillo’s Pizza and Octeum in Fairport provided breakfast and lunch during the last four days of the summer program.
Parents of children attending the summer program paid $999 apiece for each child participating. The fees were largely used to pay for the 20 staff members that consisted mostly of Newark High School students or graduates who are planning to either become teachers or work in other youth-related fields and to pay for other program expenses and enrichment opportunities.
“Our main goal with the Summer Program was to give every person involved in the program, both children and staff _ a summer to remember and to help them understand what the meaning of community is,’’ Arnold said.
“Newark is grateful to have a partnership with Community Schools to be able to provide such an awesome summer opportunity for our students,” said Sandra Ordan, NCSD Director of Innovation and Grant Services for the Newark Central “We know that summer can be challenging for many of our families, our hope is that this summer programming helps to remove some of those barriers. We look forward to providing even more funding through grants so more students can attend next summer.”
Mia DeVey, a registered nurse and mother of three, two of which attended the Newark Summer Program this year and last, is an enthusiastic advocate and then some.
Her son, Collin, 8, and Mollie, 6, loved attending both summers and can’t wait to do it again next summer, hopefully along with their younger brother, Cole, who will be attending Kindergarten next fall.
“It’s a fantastic, reliable program and I cannot recommend it highly enough,’’ she said. “We wanted our kids to be involved in a safe, interactive, educational and fun program and the Newark Summer Program is all of that and more with such a wonderful, mentoring and caring staff. After their experience in the program last summer, my kids couldn’t wait to go back this summer. And they are already looking forward to going back next summer."
“It’s one of the best financial investments we’ve ever made,’’ DeVey continued. “The summer program flows from the end of the school to the beginning of next and maintains positive routine and structure.”
Amanda W., who is in marketing at Finger Lakes Community College and whose two daughters, Ellie, 9, and Evelyn, 6, attended the Newark Summer Program in 2021 and this last summer, echoed DeVey’s sentiments.
“We are huge supporters of this program. Newark doesn't have many options for summer programming, and for families with full-time working parents a reliable and affordable summer program is a necessity,” she said. “We jumped at the chance to be part of the program the first year they offered it. Our family has known many of the instructors for years, so we trusted it would be a fun and safe experience for the kids. Plus, we were looking for a program that could give the kids experiences that are outside of the norm for our family and we wanted them to meet new friends.
Did the Summer Program experience meet their expectations?
“The kids had a chance to meet new people, do fun things, navigate different relationships, and really make the most of summertime. This program allows our family to stick to a normal routine, while also giving the kids a memorable summer break.”
Also like DeVey, she gives the staff high marks.
“The staff makes all the difference. No matter what happens, they make it fun for the kids and keep the parents in the know. Rainy day? No problem — they head to the library for a video game tournament! Too hot to play outside? Everyone goes to the gym to play on the big mats! The kids are never bored, and the staff keep it interesting every day."
Asked if she plans to have the girls participate in the 2023 Summer Program Amanda W. said:
“100% — I don't think the kids would allow me not to! One day, I happened to get out of work early, so I went to Summer Program to pick up my kids, and they were actually mad at me for ‘making them’ leave early. This program is wonderful. This group is great and I know I can count on them. They have really made a big difference in the lives of families here in our area.”
Does she think the program is affordable?
“I absolutely know that the Summer Program is worth the money. Not only are the kids watched carefully and kept safe (priceless!), but they also get breakfast, lunch, and snacks every day. Activities include crafts; art projects; field trips to bowling, movies, the water park, and more; camp t-shirt, water bottle, and backpack; and special days when they put up a ton of bounce houses and bring in a dunk tank! We get so much for our money with this program. It's an amazing value.”