Village of S.C. treats kids to ice cream cones
After a two-year coronavirus hiatus, Sea Cliff’s Youth Activities Board held its first major event on June 15 — an ice cream study break for local middle and high school students. It was the first large-scale program organized by the group in roughly 50 years.
The Youth Activities Board was founded in the 1970s to oversee events for young people at the Sea Cliff Community Center, which no longer exists. The original organization ceased operation as well, although a provision for it remained in the village charter.
Then, in early 2020, local parents breathed new life into the board, and began to prepare a range of activities for the coming year. But then the coronavirus pandemic began. So the organization had to hold off until last Wednesday, when, during middle and high school students’ study period, it invited them to Roslyn Park.
Amie Sanborn, a member of the YAB since 2020, explained that she and her colleagues felt that elementary school children had so many activities provided by the schools and village that the board wanted to focus on the older students.
“Our target audience is . . . our middle and high schoolers,” Sanborn said. “We really saw a gap in community-based events and functions that were geared toward that age group. So the goal is to create safe spaces and unique social opportunities and various community connections for that particular age group.”
According to fellow YAB member Alison Camardella, it is especially important to encourage community activities among tweens and teens. As president of the North Shore Coalition Against Substance Abuse, Camardella highlighted just how important it is to provide teens with alternative outlets to have fun in a safe environment.
“Being the president of CASA, my mission is to reduce youth substance use and abuse and support the wellness of our kids,” Camardella said. “YAB, to me, feels like a great extension of that, and a way to practically implement that mission in the Sea Cliff community by finding safe place and spaces for our tweens and teens to gather to get excited for the youth activities that we can provide.”
The ice cream study break offered free ice cream from the local Mister Softee truck, as well as numerous games, including corn hole, Frisbee, basketball and outdoor chess. The village covered the cost of the ice cream. The YAB currently has no way to raise money, because it lacks an associated “friends of” organization, like the Friends of Sea Cliff Village Library, to help raise funds.
Roughly 150 students took part in the study break. Tannaz Nasirzadeh-Balooch, the village board’s liaison to the YAB, said she was thrilled by the turnout.
“To me it was unbelievable to see the teenagers come out, and they came out in groups and flocks,” Nasirzadeh-Balooch said. “It was amazing to see more than 130 kids come out, and it’s exactly the purpose of this board.”
The YAB also handed out questionnaires at the event, asking students what other kinds of events they would like to see the board hold. Some of the suggestions included a karaoke night, movie nights, poetry slams, open mic nights and game nights.
Sanborn said that the YAB would do its best to meet their needs. She also noted that the board would rely on youth advisers from various grades to act as liaisons. “One of the great things about this board is that we’re going to have these youth advisers,” she said. “We’re really hoping they can inform us and lead us on what kind of events will appeal to their friends.”