Stronger Ys, Improving Lives | Vol. 1 Issue 1

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STRONGER Ys IMPROVING LIVES ALLIANCE OF NYS YMCAs QUARTERLY UPDATE SPRING 2018

WE’RE BREAKING DOWN THE

STATE BUDGET PG. 6

WE

HEPA

CHECK IF A TRAINING IS COMING YOUR WAY! PG. 8

FLIP TO THE BACK COVER FOR

THE Y SPOTLIGHT!

Alliance of New York State YMCAs 465 New Karner Rd, 1st Floor Albany, NY 12205 (518) 462-8241 ymcanys.org www.ymcanys.org SPRING 2018

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2018 EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

A NOTE FROM THE

Anne Brigis President YMCA of Long Island

Jamey Mullen Secretary Norwich Family YMCA

Sharon Levy Vice President YMCA of Greater New York

Buddy Campbell Treasurer YMCA Buffalo Niagara

PRESIDENT

I am delighted to be serving in the capacity of Board Chair of the NYS Alliance. It is an honor to serve in this role, and I look forward to continued growth and success of our statewide advocacy efforts. It is a joy to have the opportunity to work with an incredible staff team led by our Executive Director, Kyle Stewart, as well as a passionate group of volunteers. The New York State Alliance was one of 5 state Alliances from across the Movement that received funding from Y-USA for the Thriving Ys Initiative. I was also delighted to preside over our Regional meeting that took place on Long Island. It was day filled with fun, fellowship, and the opportunity for all of us to learn, grow and thrive. The next few months promise to be particularly exciting as we identify common themes for collaboration and potential regional opportunities. We are working hard to make the Collaboration For A Cause Meeting a very special night to remember with our National Y-USA President, Kevin Washington, in attendance. I look forward to working with each of you. I am always an email or phone call away, so please reach out and let me know how I can best support you. Gratefully,

Anne Brigis, President & CEO, YMCA of Long Island

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ALLIANCE OF NEW YORK STATE YMCAs

Mark Williams Vice President YMCA of the Twin Tiers

2018 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Brian Bearor Glens Falls YMCA

Kevin Killeen Plattsburgh YMCA

Vanessa Boulous YMCA Retirement Fund

Hank Leo YMCA of the Greater Tri-Valley

Donna Boyle YMCA of Long Island David Brown Capital District YMCA Paul Callahan Capital District YMCA Mark Eckendorf Jamestown Area YMCA

Chuck Maze Rockland County YMCA Rick Peterson YMCA of the USA George Romell YMCA of Greater Rochester

Mike Grammatico GLOW YMCA

Gareth Sansom YMCA of Broome County

Gregg Howells YMCA of Rye

James Vaughan Frost Valley YMCA

Jerry Huncosky Frost Valley YMCA


TABLE OF CONTENTS WHAT’S INSIDE THE SPRING UPDATE

POLICY 4& 5 6

THE EMPIRE STATE OF Ys

Recap of our Grassroots Advocacy Actions Days in late February

STATE BUDGET BREAKDOWN

Taking a closer look at the need-to-know points of the Final Executive Budget

HEALTHY LIVING LIVING HEADLINES 7 HEALTHY HEPA Success Story: Article published in Afterschool Alliance, Afternoon Snack Blog

8&9 10

HEPA HELPINGS

Recap of recent trainings, and a look-ahead of what’s to come

TAKING IT ONE STEP AT A TIME

A look into the new Walk with Ease Pilot Program in Oneonta, aimed at getting the community moving

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY 11&12 Y-CORPS: GIVING BACK TO OUR COMMUNITIES A recap of the 2017 Y-Corps trip, sending students throughout NY and PA.

YOUTH DEVELOPMENT YOUTH AND GOVERNMENT 13 2018 Looking back at this year’s Youth and Government (YAG) State Conference

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FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR YOUTH

The passage of the Child Protection Improvement Act (CPIA) and what it means for youth-serving organizations

EFFECTING CHANGE: MODEL LEGISLATION PASSED AT YAG

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S

WELCOME MESSAGE With the first few months of 2018 having flown past us, the Alliance is excited to share with you our first ever Stronger Ys, Improving Lives Quarterly Update. We hope this Update keeps you in the loop with what is happening at Ys throughout the State, as well as at the State Capitol. Now that the busyness of the State Budget is behind us, the Alliance team is focused on furthering statewide initiatives and developing more opportunities and resources for our Ys. In addition, we look forward to progressing with our Thriving Ys initiative - developing opportunities for Ys to collaborate and to inherently strengthen our impact on New York State. The upcoming Strengthening Ys. Better Together. Collaboration for a Cause Meeting will be the perfect occasion to come together, and engage in constructive conversations amongst Y Leaders, Key Volunteers, and Staff from every region of our State. The Alliance staff and I look forward to continuing to promote your good work and encourage you as dedicated, impactful community leaders. Thank you for all that you do for the Statewide YMCA movement! Take care,

Kyle Stewart, Executive Director Alliance of NYS YMCAs

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To further emphasize the reach we had on Twitter, the Alliance gained a total of 7,500 impressions over the fiveday period and an increase of 230% in post engagement. On Facebook, a total of 2,570 people were reached with our message and post engagement was 167% higher over the fiveday period. So, what does this mean?

THE

It means that more community members and Y-Advocates received our message, and resulted

EMPIRE STATE of Ys The 2018 Grassroots Advocacy Action Days represented a unified Y voice from Buffalo to Albany, Plattsburgh to Long Island.

Time has flown since our 2018 Grassroots Advocacy Action Days back in February, but the reverberation of your efforts still echoed, long after. As you may recall, this year’s advocacy strategy differed from years past. Instead of inviting Ys to convene at the Capitol for oneday of advocating, we extended the time period in order to foster an increased level of engagement online. Utilizing social media is increasingly prevalent in the non-profit advocacy world due to its unparalleled ability to engage individuals with impactful stories and reach the audiences in which those stories resonate most. By driving conversations on Facebook and Twitter, we are able to build and maintain relationships with the members of our communities that we would normally be unable to engage with. Over the duration of the Advocacy Action Days, we saw a dramatic increase in awareness of our cause, measured by the overall engagement with our Call-toActions.

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in a higher level of individuals that acted on it. Our Quorum Action Letters were distributed by almost 300 participants, with a total of 792 actions taken! Not only did our online presence during the Advocacy Action Days make an impact, so did your efforts in meeting with legislators in their district office or hosting your representatives at your Y. These critical conversations in the member’s home districts are often more effective because it allows for increased time spent building relationships and educating on behalf of our cause. With your help, we were able to have many of our budget requests included in the 2018-19 Final Budget despite the challenging fiscal situation our State faces. Our priorities the Final Budget include: • Restoration of Advantage Afterschool to $22.3 million – an increase of $2.5 million from last year’s budget, restoring funding to the FY 16-17 level • An additional $10 million to the Empire State After School Program, bringing the total investment in the program to $45 million – an increase from last year’s $35 million total.

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ALLIANCE OF NEW YORK STATE YMCAs


POLICY

Continued from page 4 • Our $400,000 line-item allocated for Ys to continue to implement Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards in YMCA programs. In addition, the Final Budget included a language modification making non-profit community organizations - like the Y - eligible for capital funding through the State and Municipalities (SAM) Facilities Program. We are happy with the resulting Executive Budget and feel that our Advocacy Action Days represent a successful first implementation of a new strategy! All of us at the State Alliance thank you for your hard work and dedication during that time! We look forward to next year - to share more stories of all of the community strengthening and impactful programs and services, that you provide to New Yorkers everyday.

Yonkers Family YMCA welcomed Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, and Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer

MEET OLIVIA! State Alliance Communications and Policy Coordinator orickenbacher@ymcanys.org

Y ADVOCATES IN ACTION!

YAG Youth Governor, Aminata Toumbou, chatted with Assemblyman John McDonald at the Capital District YMCA’s State of the Y Address at the Capitol.

The Patchogue Family YMCA hosted Assemblymembers Garbarino and Gandolfo; Eric Hofmeister, District Director, on behalf of Senator Tom Croci; and Donald Rettaliata Jr., Patchogue Y CVO.

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POLICY

STATE BUDGET

BREAK DOWN

In case you don’t have time to read through the recently passed Executive Budget here is a breakdown of the need-to-know inclusions and line-items! EMPIRE STATE AFTER-SCHOOL: The final budget includes the Executive proposal for an additional $10 million for a new round of grants, bringing the total investment in the program to $45 million. New funding will be eligible to school districts or not-forprofit community-based organizations. ADVANTAGE AFTER-SCHOOL: The final state budget includes a $5 million restoration, bringing the total funding to $22.25 million. This represents a $2.5 million increase from last year’s budget. EXTENDED LEARNING TIME: Included in the final budget is an appropriation of $21.6 million for the continuation of extended learning time grants to school districts or school districts in collaboration with nonprofit community-based organizations. This is a $1.59 million increase over last year’s budget. EXTENDED SCHOOL DAY/VIOLENCE PREVENTION: The final budget included the same level of funding as last year’s budget, $24 million. COMMUNITY SCHOOLS AID: The final budget included the proposed Executive Budget’s $200 million to support the conversion of schools identified as “struggling” or “persistently struggling” to community schools UNIVERSAL PRE-K: Included in the final budget is $360 million, the same level of funding proposed in the Executive Budget. This is a $15 million increase over last year’s budget.

YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM: A $1.5 million restoration for the Youth Development Program was included in the final budget. This brings the appropriation level to $15.6 million – the same level as last year. SUMMER YOUTH EMPLOYMENT: Keeping the proposed level that was included in the Executive Budget, the total appropriation level was $40 million. A $4 million increase over last year’s Enacted Budget. CHILD CARE SUBSIDIES: The final budget includes a $7 million restoration for child care subsidies that were cut in last year’s final budget and includes directive language aimed at how the increased federal funding from the FY 18 Omnibus bill should be used. CHRONIC DISEASE PREVENTION: The final budget included funding for the Obesity/Prevention Program at $5.9 million and Hypertension Program at $692,000. NONPROFIT INFRASTRUCTURE CAPITAL INVESTMENT PROGRAM (NICIP): Although not expanded this year, the final budget included a language modification that made nonprofit community-based organizations eligible for the State and Municipalities (SAM) Facilities Program. This inclusion is a recognition of the vital role that nonprofits play in our communities. HOMELESS HOUSING ASSISTANCE: $64 million was included in the final budget, keeping funding at the same level as last year. PHOTO CREDIT: OLIVIA RICKENBACHER

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ALLIANCE OF NEW YORK STATE YMCAs


HEALTHY LIVING HEADLINES

HEPA SUCCESS STORY:

THE ALLIANCE OF NEW YORK STATE YMCAS

BY FAITH SAVAIANO | JANUARY 29, 2018 PH

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IT: FA M M C A AT TA R RYTOW ILY Y N

In recent years, many states across the country have started to seek government support to enact policies aimed at increasing healthy practices in outof-school time environments. While many of these efforts are just beginning, few advocates have seen as much immediate success as the Alliance of New York State YMCAs. Now going into its third year of state-supported funding, the Alliance of New York State YMCAs, or “the Alliance,” has secured a cumulative $1.3 million for increasing the uptake of the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards. The Alliance first began to pursue HEPA policy changes at the state level four years ago, when the YMCA was awarded a Pioneering Healthier Communities (PHC) grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Through a series of conversations with YMCA staff and volunteers, the Alliance determined that training and equipment were necessary to fully implement the HEPA Standards at YMCAs across New York. According to Kyle Stewart, the Alliance’s executive director, once funding for HEPA training and equipment was deemed a priority for YMCAs in New York and the populations that they serve, the Alliance set out to secure support from state lawmakers and policymakers. “We held meetings and follow-up conversations with the legislative adership in both houses and the governor’s office, to help us gauge interest and build a blueprint for our strategy,” said Stewart. “Once we identified our strategy, we had to stay flexible because the ‘right approach’ can be a moving target.” The Alliance initially requested a $1 million line item for HEPA implementation in the state budget. Though unsuccessful the first year, the Alliance and its coalition of partners secured $500,000 in the second year of their advocacy efforts. “Advocacy is the Alliance’s mission and in New York state, we understand that achieving line item funding often takes several years to accomplish,” said Stewart. “It wasn’t until we made our case more understandable that it really made a difference in our progress. For example, we explained that some afterschool sites need refrigerators to serve fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Finding that concrete explanations fostered the support they needed, the Alliance now uses such strategies in advocacy and communication outreach. Stewart and colleague, Paige Hughes, the Alliance’s director of healthy living, touted the strength they found in the coalition that was formed between themselves and other partners in the PHC grant community. “This is yet another example of the importance of relationship-building in advocacy work,” said Hughes. “It takes more than the staff at one organization to successfully advocate for policies and funding that impact a greater cause.” Seeking independent evaluation of the effectiveness of the state-funded HEPA initiative on YMCA afterschool sights across New York, the Alliance commissioned Dr. Christine T. Bozlak from the SUNY Albany School of Public Health. Previously, Dr. Bozlak was a member of the PHC coalition and leadership team. An important element in securing the funding forHEPA was explaining the role that afterschool and more broadly - out-of-school time programs play in advancing healthy habits and lifestyles for our youth. Continues on page 11 www.ymcanys.org SPRING 2018

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HEALTHY LIVING

HEPA

HELPINGS BRINGING THE ‘HEPA’ MENTALITY TO Ys THROUGHOUT NEW YORK STATE

MEET PAIGE!

State Alliance Director of Healthy Living phughes@ymcanys.org

SPRING CATCH TRAININGS

With funding from our HEPA Professional Development Grant, we partnered with the NYS Network for Youth Success to offer a series of regional HEPA Trainings focused on how to overcome challenges to fully embed HEPA at YMCA afterschool programs. Over175 YMCA staffers were trained in Buffalo, Syracuse, Clifton Park, Yonkers, and Long Island on topics such as change management, guiding staff and youth behaviors, family engagement, and more! Overall, these trainings were well-received by participants, and we are excited to continue this partnership with the Network for Youth Success to strengthen HEPA in the future!

Beginning this April, we’re hosting a series of CATCH Kids Club Implementation Trainings and one CATCH Kids Club Trainer Academy for all YMCA staff. And the best part is… these trainings are completely free! Attendees will receive lunch and will be reimbursed for any staff time and travel expenses. Join us for a one day Implementation Training where participants will learn how to maximize the benefits of the CATCH Kids Club Curriculum in their YMCA afterschool and summer camp programs! See page 9 for a listing of all upcoming CATCH Kids Club Training dates. On April 17-19, we hosted our first CATCH Kids Club Trainer Academy in Syracuse where nine YMCA staff from YMCA Buffalo Niagara, YMCA of Greater Syracuse, YMCA of Middletown, and the Watertown Family YMCA were provided with the necessary skills and concepts to build capacity for their local CATCH Kids Club initiatives.

REDIT: PAIGE HUG TO C HES O H P

NYS NETWORK FOR YOUTH SUCCESS HEPA TRAINING SERIES LOOK BACK

CATCH THEM WHILE YOU CAN!

A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR FIRST GRADUATING CLASS OF CATCH KIDS CLUB TRAINERS! • Briana Christensen, YMCA Buffalo Niagara • Zach Grulich, YMCA Buffalo Niagara • Sarah Mang, YMCA Buffalo Niagara • Jessica DesRosiers, YMCA of Greater Syracuse • Kristina Mullahy, YMCA of Greater Syracuse • Krystal Cable, YMCA of Middletown • Melinda Gwiozdowski, YMCA of Middletown • Garrett Turk, YMCA of Middletown • Jenifer Grant, Watertown Family YMCA To learn more about CATCH Kids Club or to register for an upcoming training, contact Paige Hughes at phughes@ymcanys.org

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ALLIANCE OF NEW YORK STATE YMCAs


HEALTHY LIVING

SPRING

TRAININGS REGION

MID-HUDSON VALLEY

NEW YORK CITY

LONG ISLAND

WESTERN NY

DATE

LOCATION

THURS, APRIL 26

Rockland County YMCA 35 South Broadway, Nyack, NY 10960

SAT, MAY 5

YMCA of Greater New York Eastern District YMCA 125 Humboldt St, Brooklyn, NY 11206 YMCA of Long Island Great South Bay YMCA 200 W Main St, Bay Shore, NY 11706

SUN, MAY 6

YMCA of Greater Rochester Eastside Family YMCA 1835 Fairport Nine Mile Point Road Penfield, NY 14526

WED, MAY 9

SPARK AFTERSCHOOL STANDARDS TRAINING Join us for a FREE full-day of SPARK Afterschool Standards Training on May 23rd! SPARK lessons and activities are designed to involve all children, be more active, incorporate social skills, and emphasize health-related fitness and skill development. This training is ideal for YMCAs who use SPARK or are new to the curriculum and want to kickstart their YMCA afterschool programs. This training is FREE for all YMCAs! Attendees will be reimbursed for staff time and travel expenses. To register, contact Paige Hughes at phughes@ymcanys.org

WHEN & WHERE:

Wednesday, May 23 Capital District YMCA - Southern Saratoga YMCA | 1 Wall Street, Clifton Park, NY 12065

TRAINING TEASER! ADAPTED PHYSICAL ACTIVITY TRAININGS Be on the look-out! This spring, we will also be hosting a series of FREE Adapted Physical Activity Trainings for YMCAs across the state. Through HEPA at our YMCA youth programs, it is our goal to prepare children for a lifetime of health, wellness, and physical activity.

The Adapted Physical Activity Training will strengthen the quality of our youth programming, while making every child feel welcomed and inclusive. Trainings will be led by John Smith, 1989 NASPE/ SHAPE National Elementary Teacher of the Year and Educational Consultant at FlagHouse, Inc. John is passionate about equipping all movement professionals with tools that keep our youth active, healthy, and productive!

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HEALTHY LIVING

TAKING IT ONE STEP AT A TIME Oneonta Family YMCA will be the first to pilot the Arthritis Foundation‘s Walk with Ease program. Earlier this year, the Alliance received a mini grant from YMCA of the USA to encourage walking and other forms of active living throughout the state. With funding from the CDC, 50 State YMCA Alliances were funded to complete a series of deliverables that support the Surgeon General’s Call to Action in support of walking. This year, the Alliance chose to subgrant these funds to the Oneonta Family YMCA to launch a pilot of the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk with Ease Program. Walk with Ease is an evidence-based group exercise program proven to increase the physical, mental, and social functioning of adults, particularly those with arthritis. Not only will the pilot program help the local YMCA to build their capacity for future evidence-based health programming, but it also promotes rural health and encourages new community partnerships. As a Walk with Ease provider, the Oneonta Y’s certified staff will offer older adults three 1-hour classes per week that include research-based exercises that are safe, effective, and modifiable for a variety of fitness levels. Research shows that Walk with Ease is proven to reduce the pain and discomfort of arthritis; increase balance, strength, and walking pace; build confidence in one’s ability to be physically active;

and improve overall health. In addition to the physical benefits, Walk with Ease provides a fun, social atmosphere that fosters relationships between program participants. Moving forward, the Alliance is hopeful that there will be future funding opportunities to scale Walk with Ease with additional Ys statewide.

KIDS IN THE KITCHEN

SERVES: 12 TOTAL COOK TIME: 20 MIN

BAKED BLUEBERRY

4. Combine wet and dry ingredients and then fold in blueberries. You can use fresh or frozen berries.

OATMEAL CUPS INGREDIENTS: 2 cup – oats, dry 1 tsp – baking powder 1/2 tsp – salt 1 tsp – cinnamon 1/2 cup – banana 2 tbsp – coconut oil 1 cup – milk 2 tbsp – honey 1/2 tsp – vanilla extract 1 medium – egg 1 cup – blueberries

DIRECTIONS: 1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease muffin pan! 2. In a medium bowl, add oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. 3. In a separate bowl mash banana, add coconut oil, milk, honey, vanilla extract and eggs. Recipe from www.superhealthykids.com

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5. Fill muffins tins evenly, they won’t rise too much so you don’t need to leave room for rising. 6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm!


SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY Continued from page 7 “We were asked, ‘How do afterschool programs fit into this public health issue?’” explained Stewart. “Our answer was based on the role that afterschool programs play to not only benefit the social and emotional development of children, but also the health benefits that afterschool can and should provide. In addition, the parent engagement component of the HEPA standards is proven to benefit the whole family, where positive and lasting change starts.” Given the size of the population served by YMCAs in New York, there is no doubt as to whether it can play a significant role in affecting the health of its youth. According to the Alliance, this state-funded HEPA initiative funded 241 afterschool sites across New

York, serving more than 10,000 school-aged children. As their work continues, the Alliance is optimistic about the growing support of HEPA in out-of-school time programs and looks forward to the cross-cutting benefits that improved health and wellness resources provide for our communities. “It is an important part of working with kids and families. Afterschool programs do so much good, and health and wellness is just one more benefit that we can provide to communities.” This article was originally published by the Afterschool Alliance’s Afternoon Snack Blog

GIVING BACK TO COMMUNITIES FOR A BETTER US Y-Corps program provides students an opportunity to give back to their communities, teaching valuable lessons and building long-lasting memories. Y-Corps is a service learning program which is offered in multiple states, but only made its debut in New York last year. This semester-long program gives students a crash course in servant leadership by performing at least 50 hours of community service, as well as trying to fund raise toward their goal of $500 for the Youth and Government Scholarship fund. These efforts culminate in a team trip around the state or region, tackling several different service projects as well as learning about the communities and area they are serving. The first New York State YMCA Y-Corps concluded on July 22nd, 2017 after an incredible week. Last year the program was done in partnership with the Pennsylvania Youth and Government program and allowed 12 teenagers to see parts of both states, while helping many YMCAs and other community organizations along the way. Continued on page 12

STUDENTS PAINTING IN SCRANTON, PA. PHOTO CREDIT: DREW CALDWELL

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SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY Continued from page 11 One unique facet of the program experience is that students are not given schedule information or what to expect until they arrive. Last year, students visited the Museum of the City of New York, the 9/11 Memorial, the State Capitol buildings in Albany and Harrisburg, Gene Tunney Park, Fort Stanwix, the Seneca County Fair, the Women’s Rights National Historical Park, and the Corning Glass Museum in between projects. In addition to the lessons learned through the service VISITING THE NEW YORK STATE CAPITOL IN ALBANY. PHOTO CREDIT: DREW CALDWELL projects, the team also bonded over long rides, nightly roundtables, and many other stops designed to foster an understanding of the diverse areas within our region. The trip began on Sunday the 16th in Scranton, PA, where the students helped to revive the local Y’s child play area with paint, cleaning, and trash pick-up. From there, we traveled to New York City, exploring the city and learned of its rich history of activism and advocacy. For the next stop on the trip, the team headed north to the Silver Bay YMCA where students assisted in clearing trails and areas for new low ropes course elements. The Syracuse YMCA has an amazing arts program, and they allowed the students to help reorganize their library on Wednesday. Thursday’s project was working with the Brighton Food Cupboard just outside of Rochester, to help organize and clean one of their storage rooms. Friday’s final project was with the York YMCA in Pennsylvania, beautifying the downtown area and learning about all the local Y has done to improve the community through their innovative housing program. The team also had the privilege of sleeping in local YMCAs, reminding them of how many luxuries from their daily life can be taken for granted. The YMCAs of Greater Scranton, Rockland County, Rome, Syracuse, York, and Northern Dauphin County were all excellent hosts and to whom the team is extremely grateful.

VISITING THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE CAPITOL IN HARRISBURG PHOTO CREDIT: DREW CALDWELL

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If you would like more information on the program, are interested in hosting a team for a project, night, or meal, contact Drew Caldwell at dcaldwell@ymcanys.org.

ALLIANCE OF NEW YORK STATE YMCAs


YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

2018 YOUTH AND GOVERNMENT Teens from across the state convened in Albany for the weekend to learn democracy and demonstrate respect. The 2018 New York State YMCA High School Youth and Government Conference boasted an attendance of over 540 delegates derived from all corners of the State, convened in the Capital City. From March 9th – 11th students divided their time between the Desmond Hotel, the State Capitol, and - new to this year - the University at Albany Uptown Campus to debate 111 student-crafted pieces of legislation. On Saturday, delegates utilized the University’s lecture halls and classrooms to engage in discourse within cohorts modeled after the State Assembly and Senate. After passing the individual houses, 31 bills were ultimately signed into law by Youth Governor Aminata Toumbou at the State Capitol on Sunday morning. See page 11 for a few examples of the bills that passed. In addition to the model legislative positions, delegates took on the roles of attorneys, justices, lobbyists, and the press corps.

PHOTO CREDITS: WARREN HAMILTON

“Keeping the program as authentic as possible is the goal,” explained Drew Caldwell, Director of Youth Development at the Alliance, “The weekend is a whirl-wind but when all is said and done, delegates leave Albany with a strong understanding of how state government works and how to be respectful of ideologies that may differ from their own”. Youth and Government is not merely designed to act as a catalyst for future politicians, but rather an opportunity to educate and fuel a young person’s passion for civic engagement. To compliment the program’s teaching of the democratic process, students engage in a year-long Service Learning Project that emphasizes servant leadership. This year, Youth Lieutenant Governor Evan Meinke led efforts in partnering with AMVETS (American Veterans), a congressionally-chartered veterans service organization, to collect essential items for donation to veterans in need of support. Continued on page 14 www.ymcanys.org SPRING 2018

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YOUTH DEVELOPMENT Continued from page 13 By participating in a service project, students become aware of the differing landscapes within our society and how giving their time to those in need is essential for our communities to thrive. In a post-conference survey, students indicated that as a result of the program they had an increased ability to identify and understand multiple perspectives; increased understanding of state government; desire to be actively engaged in their community and government; and would recommend participation in the program. To learn more about the YMCA Youth and Government program, visit www.ymcanys.org. To see more about the bills passed and election outcomes visit the conference page on the Alliance website www.ymcanys.org/2018yag/. PHOTO CREDIT: WARREN HAMILTON

FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR YOUTH

Omnibus spending bill including the Child Protection Improvements Act passes, officially signed into law.

Serving as a major win for millions of children and adults across the nation, the Child Protection Improvements Act (CPIA) was passed as part of the recently enacted Federal omnibus spending bill.

ganizations that work with children from gaining access to federal criminal background checks on potential employees and volunteers.

This long-time YMCA legislative priority allows organizations - like the Y - serving vulnerable popu- NOT REINVENTING THE WHEEL lations to conduct fast, accurate and affordable The CPIA builds on the success of the PROTECT background checks on prospective volunteers Act’s Child Safety pilot which ran from 2003 unand employees. til 2011. The pilot provided direct access to FBI fingerprint background checks for a variety of To much of New York’s delight, child-serving nonprofit organizations. Senate Minority Leader Charles “Chuck” Schumer (D-NY) coAs a result, over 100,000 background checks sponsored the bill and was a were performed and found that more than major player in the advance6 percent of potential volunteers had ment and eventual passing criminal records of concern. of the bill. Forty-two percent of the individuals Prior to this, a gaping hole with criminal records of concern had in federal law prevented crimes in states other than where they children’s groups, mentorwere applying to volunteer – meaning ing organizations, after-school that only a nationwide check would have programs, camps, and other orContinues on page 15

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Continued from page 14 flagged these individuals’ criminal records. The major focuses of the bill are that it ensures that organizations nationwide have access to FBI fingerprint background checks; Protects privacy rights by ensuring that the specifics of a criminal record are never disclosed without explicit consent by the individual; Does NOT authorize new spending and will be self-sustaining through the fees collected - capped by CPIA at no more than $18. Passage of CPIA gives families across the nation peace of mind. And now, youth-serving organizations like the YMCA have another important tool to screen volunteers and staff who work with children to ensure they will be safe in our care.

EFFECTING CHANGE FOR A STRONGER NEW YORK Below are examples of the student crafted pieces of legislation that were passed at this year’s Youth and Government State Conference. BILL #

AUTHORS

AF-03

Edward Gubelman; Ryan McBride; Michael Rice

Amend § 901.00 of the New York State Public Health Law by adding subdivision 10 to mandate a six-month suspension from all school sports and gym after being diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome (PCS). AF-04

Summer Mills; Elizabeth Catapano; Caroline Buckley; Michael Solazzo

Amend Article 17 –by adding section 817, creating assault prevention programs in physical education classrooms. AF-16

Robert Henn; David Maceroni; Ryan Collins

Amend § 265.01-b of the New York State Penal Law by adding subdivision 3 to prohibit firearm ownership of persons convicted of committing a Hate Crime. Visit the YAG page on the Alliance website for a full listing of the proposed and passed bills.

MEET DREW!

State Alliance Director of Youth Development dcaldwell@ymcanys.org

BILL #

AUTHORS

AF-35

Patrick Barnett; Andrew Bilotti; Alexandra Lake; Katie Lindley

Amend Article 55, §2801-a of the New York State Education Law by adding subsection§2801-g to implement mandatory suicide prevention training. AL-28

Gabby Abato; Lauren Cassidy; Selma Mrkulic; Liora Reiken

Amend § 801 of the New York education law to add civil rights to the U.S. History curriculum in high school AL-30

Erica Whitman; Teresa Tran

Amend § 5-210 subdivision 5 of the New York State Election Law to require all eligible New York State residents to be automatically registered to vote. S-13 Odalys Fuentes; Courtney Pisano; Dahlia Ramos Amend § 6444.00 subdivision 2, of the New York State Public Education Law to make it mandatory for all universities to notify state police of sexual assault incidents before taking action. S-19 Princess D’Andrea; Patricia Motlhankana; Jada Pickett Amend NYS Education law § 704 to expand the curriculum on Black history. S-32

Elizabeth Gilbert; Ellis Han

Amend Social Services §413 to impose regulations on courses required to maintain certification as a mandated reporter

www.ymcanys.org SPRING 2018

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THE Y SPOTLIGHT Check out what’s happening at Ys across New York!

The Saratoga Regional YMCA - Malta Branch construction is well underway and looking great!

Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh visiting the Southern Saratoga YMCA to check out all of the community strengthening programs the Y provides!

The YMCA of Greater Syracuse’s Power Scholar’s Academy visited Onondaga Community College for an engaging STEM project!

We love sharing what our Ys across the New York are doing! Is your Y engaged in something you’d like to have spotlighted? Send a short discription and image to Olivia Rickenbacher at orickenbacher@ymcanys.org to be featured in the next issue!

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