- By Dominick Recckio
- Around Town
Tompkins County Youth Services, in collaboration with the CCE Tompkins 4H Youth Program, is spearheading a community approach to address the needs of families, youth, and caregivers during COVID-19. The 2020 Summer Planning Youth Taskforce seeks to ensure that youth and families have access to innovative programming in response to the reduced number of traditional summer program offerings in 2020.
Representatives from over 20 agencies and organizations across Tompkins County have been convening in the full Task Force and in subgroups to determine where combined efforts can have the most impact. As a result of initial conversations three subgroups have formed: Summer Programming, Equity in Access, and Clearinghouse/Information Sharing. Subgroups are determining goals to help address needs across Tompkins County. Representatives on the Taskforce include those from organizations, educational institutions, community members, camp providers, nonprofits, funders, and municipal representatives.
Director of the Tompkins County Youth Services Department, Kate Shanks-Booth said, "The Covid-19 Pandemic has impacted every member of our community, especially our youth. Due to unprecedented health and safety concerns, along with significant budget shortfalls, our youth have been out of schools for months and now face what looks like a dismal summer ahead with few options for social interaction or positive youth development. In light of this, several key members of our community have come together to create the 2020 Summer Youth Planning Task Force to assist in providing the much-needed supports for our youth and their families. This group has decided to focus their attention on three key areas: Youth Programming, Equity in Access, and a Clearing House for relevant information. It's important to acknowledge that none of this is easy, and there are numerous additional stressors impacting our local families, and while no one person alone holds all the answers, we believe that together we can accomplish a better summer for youth and their families."