This month, the Youth Bureau is celebrating a major staff milestone. Yolanda has worked for the YB for 20 years! All 20 of those years were spent enriching young lives in the Recreation Department. If your child has participated in a YB Rec program before, chances are Yolanda coordinated it. When you look at all the Rec programs offered, it’s easier to list the ones Yolanda hasn’t coordinated (Cross Country, Lacrosse, Football, and Track), as opposed to what she has (all the others!).
Yolanda came to the YB with experience in lifeguarding, swim instruction, and overall pool supervision. Yolanda was inspired by one of her college professors who taught in area of recreation. She thought her aquatic experience would tie into the recreation world well. She jumped in (pun intended) and never looked back.
After 20 years, Yolanda has countless memories of recreation participants expanding their skills, trying new things, and becoming more independent. One particular memory she shares is of a shy young person who attended an Expressive Arts program. The boy’s mother let Yolanda know that he was nervous to attend the program and Yolanda made sure to greet him when he checked in and made him feel warm and welcome. After that, each time he saw her, regardless of where in the room she was, he would yell her name to say hi. The boy’s mother later told Yolanda that her interactions to make him feel safe and comfortable in his new environment helped him come out of his shell. Even when seasonal staff would change at programs, the young boy was eager to attend programs knowing Yolanda was there behind the scenes to make sure the program went well.
Whether it’s helping a shy participant feel comfortable or encouraging an outgoing participant learn a new skill, knowing she helped facilitate that young person grow and develop is what brings Yolanda to work every day. “Recreation allows kids to grow in various ways while having fun,” Yolanda said.
Tompkins County families have come to expect high-quality programming from the Youth Bureau. Yolanda brings a wealth of knowledge and tradition from 20 years of employment, but she also stays on top of the latest news and trends in recreation as well as software and technology for registration and promotion.
Not everyone knows all the offerings that the Recreation Department and the Youth Bureau in general offer, but Yolanda has been involved in several - both as a staff coordinator and as a parent.
“The impact and skills learned varies as much as the list of programs that we offer. If it is a team sport, then often it includes learning how to be a part of a team which may include learning how to be a leader within it. If it is more of an individualized program than I think participants gain confidence and a much better understanding of themselves.”
Congratulations on 20 years, Yolanda! We appreciate you!
Check out the latest IYB updates in our March 2021 Happenings Newsletter!
What Your Support Can Do for the Ithaca Youth Bureau!
Friends of the IYB (FIYB) is an independent nonprofit that is dedicated to supporting the IYB in fulfilling its mission: to provide recreation and youth development programs to promote the health, happiness, and well-being of all youth and families in the greater Ithaca area.
Your financial support of the FIYB will help the IYB operate critical programs, provide resources and supports for young people and families who need it most, and ensure that opportunities can be offered safely and effectively.
We are sharing this list of examples of what your charitable gift can do! You can choose to designate a specific program need, or you can provide more general support of the Ithaca Youth Bureau’s mission.
In fact, you can also support the IYB by joining FIYB as a volunteer or board member. Please consider joining us! We thank you for your commitment to our young people and families, especially in this most critical time.
Jeff Love, Chair
Friends of the Ithaca Youth Bureau
Call IYB 273-8364 to ask for FIYB phone #
Your tax deductible gift to Friends of the IYB can be made online: friendsiyb.org/donate or checks can be mailed to FIYB, PO Box 4198, Ithaca, NY 14852
Recreation Support Services (RSS) requests $500 sensory table and laptop for virtual programming
Big Brother Big Sister (BBBS) seeks science/art kits at $15 each, and snowshoes at $70 a pair, tennis rackets at $35 each
Youth Employment Service (YES) needs $500 for each job placement, and $20 bus passes for teens to get to work
College Discovery Program (CDP) $50 each student college application
PSMP long term mentoring would use $900 to send one student to summer camp
Recreation and Outings:
Camping gear needs are head lamps at $55 each, snow boots at $70 each, $150 stove and $150 nesting pots
Canoeing costs include $1800 per boat, and $100 per PFD life vest
Climbing program needs Ascenders $250 each pair
Lacrosse equipment costs $130 per youth player
Roller Skating open-to-community parties are $500 each
Team Building Kit Project Adventure is $500, new Slack line $100
Cass Park and Ithaca Bike Rental:
Free youth swim lessons for the 2021 summer season costs $10,000
Kiddie Pool play structures replacement run $400-$900
Fence around playground replacement costs $7000
Bike repair supplies are $100
New Tandem bicycle is $1000
Cass Park Arena Enclosure Campaign continues seeking gifts of any size
We are back! 2020 was a tumultuous year full of uncertainty, change, transition, and new beginnings. I am happy to announce that “The Happenings” will be delivered to your inbox four times a year rather than monthly. This allows us to share announcements and updates as well as share our success, and spotlight participants, staff, and programs.
Our programs are up and running and we are looking forward to the spring and summer. We have incorporated a strong focus on the health and safety of our participants and staff and have successfully incorporated COVID safety protocols into all of our programs. We thank you and your children for helping us make that happen!
We will have sports, summer camps, swimming at Cass Park Pool, summer learning and academic programs, mentoring relationships, Ithaca Bike Rental, Youth Employment Services for teens, Inclusion assistance at camps for children with disabilities, Outings, and many other opportunities for youth and families. Of course, all of our programming will look a little different as we meet NYS COVID safety requirements. Plan on masks, social distancing, lots of handwashing, and smaller programs and groupings at programs.
2021 offers us the chance to develop programming in new, creative ways that invites everyone in our community to learn and explore; expand our knowledge around race, equity and inclusion; and foster health and wellness. We look forward to seeing you and enjoying the warmer weather with you!
The College Discovery Program is happy to announce that 12 of its graduating seniors this year have been accepted into universities. The program provides long-term mentoring and academic support for students in Ithaca schools.
Among the college-bound seniors, three have been accepted early-decision.
Mela Cowan will be attending her first-choice school, the State of New York University at Buffalo. “Being a part of CDP really helped me learn more about what colleges look for in a student as well as what college life will look like,” she said. “Because of CDP, I was able to tour a lot of colleges that I wouldn't have really considered without the program, one of those colleges being UB!”
Yeshi Dolma will be attending Boston University as a pre-med biochemistry major. “Since middle school, we’ve been looking at different colleges which has really just helped me familiarize myself with the process,” she said. “The seminar with the college students last fall specifically was really helpful in stabilizing my worries and anxieties about applying and attending college.”
Kianna Eddy will be attending the Tandon School of Engineering at New York University. “CDP had been such a great help with introducing me to the concept of college from an early age,” she said. “CDP also provided me with experiences I may not have been able to get without the program. I also got to visit several other cities, towns, states, and even Canada for the first time. I built so many new relationships through this program with the adults in charge and the students that participated. I made countless memories and am beyond grateful to have been a part of such a great program like CDP for the past eight years!”