We will be working with our local nonprofit community partners throughout the spring and summer to develop our trips. When you register, we will have you rank your interest in the type of trip you would like to take.
The Chenango Canal Association oversees the Chenango Trails project as well as the preservation of the canal, surrounding waters and land, while maintaining it as both an historic and public recreation site. The Trails project is an ongoing effort to create well- groomed walking and biking trails that will link numerous communities in Chenango, Madison and Oneida counties. On Sunday of trip week all of the groups work together on clean-up projects along the canal, directed by members of the Canal Association.
Johnson Park used to be the roughest spot in the Cornhill section of Utica, but thanks to the work of the Johnson Park Center, it's now a thriving place of positive change, with a youth mentoring and tutoring program, transitional housing for homeless families, job-training and placement for women including ex-offenders. The group helped with various programs including the food pantry, recreational and educational activities with kids, and neighborhood improvement projects.
Along Eagle Street in Utica, within two or three blocks of each other, are several human service agencies: Hope House, a free meal program for the homeless and hungry, Health Friends, making prescription drugs available for low-income families, New Horizons, a shelter for teenage girls who are on their own, Abraham House, a facility for hospice care for terminally ill, and Emmaus House, a homeless shelter for women and their children. Last year, the group focused most of their work on Hope House and Emmaus House, helping out with various projects on their wish lists and of course, preparing and serving lots of meals.
Rome Art and Community Center in Rome, NY, offers educational arts programming and performances for all ages throughout the year, including summer programs for children. The Center is also working to establish an arts pre-school for area children. During their two and a half days of service, the OA group worked on preparing for the Center's annual Renaissance Festival, one day working alongside children and teens and helping to direct them in their work.
Schoharie County Long Term Recovery is a non-profit located in Schoharie, NY, an area devastated in 2011 by Hurricane Irene. At the time of the program, less than 50% of residents had been able to move back into their homes. The OA SALT team worked on two separate residences, cleaning, emptying out, and rebuilding so that the residents - who had been housed in temporary shelters - could be a few steps closer to re-inhabiting their homes.
Rebuilding Together performs home improvement projects for low-income homeowners who are being forced to choose between vital necessities such as food or medicine or a roof that does not leak, working to ensure that as many families as possible do not have to make these difficult choices. The OA group did rehab and painting work on a home owned by a veteran with cancer, fulfilling his dream to keep his family safe and comfortable after his passing. The Montgomery Experience is an outdoor/nature center with a mission of enhancing the quality of life for children and their families struggling with life-threatening or chronic illnesses. The OA group worked with another volunteer group to build a storage shed on the property, as well as clearing trails and doing general clean-up.
This trip assisted two organizations, KenMax Foundation Farm in Constableville, NY, which is a community/organic farm that donates a percentage of its produce to area food pantries; and the Santanoni Preserve, which is the largest tract of land donated to the Adirondack Land Trust in the last decade. At the farm, the OA team harvested vegetables, composted and assisted farm staff in numerous jobs. At Santanoni, the team was involved with trail clearing and general great camp clean up, and also had time for a great hike! Most traditionally, they volunteered for the MidYork Library system's Open Books Project, transporting donated books.