Finding a path forward: Community service and the pandemic

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YAC members preparing activity bags for a St. Patrick’s Day giveaway. Submitted photo

The Youth Action Council is a leadership and community service group of high school students. For over a decade, YAC has lived up to its mission of making Granby a better place for youth by focusing on providing safe, fun events for kids in elementary and middle school. These events serve as family friendly recreation, as well as fund raisers for an annual Quiet Leader scholarship that the YSB and YAC fund. This scholarship gives $500 to two graduating seniors, recognizing them based on teacher recommendations, for quiet leadership that has made GMHS a better place for fellow students.

When COVID hit in March last year, YAC had to cancel its most anticipated event, the 8th Grade Dance. This semi-formal event held in May welcomes the next class of freshman, treating them to a semi-formal experience held in the Lodge at Salmon Brook Park. This year the cancellations continued. The much-anticipated leadership retreat at Camp Jewel held every two years could not be held, nor could the Zombie Shuffle for students and families of Wells Road School. As winter hit, and the pandemic continued, the Sweet Heart Dance for parents and students attending Kelly Lane school also had to be cancelled.

YAC met via Zoom, and tried to find some way to give back to the community. Fundraising was off the table. When the Granby Education Foundation approached the students about a project they were considering called Good Night Granby, YAC members jumped at the chance. They helped pull together a great back drop, and arrived at the YSB one evening in their favorite PJs with their most loved bedtime stories, and were filmed reading aloud to kids in the community. These videos will be forthcoming via the GEF soon.

As the pandemic continued, they decided to offer a fun family activity for parents and kids at Kelly Lane. Parents were able to sign up for a free activity bag with a St. Patrick’s Day theme. Instructions and materials were bagged, and distributed to parents on March 12.

It has not been a typical year, but with some creativity, YAC has fulfilled its mission. Granby is a tiny bit better because of their effort and creativity. Without any opportunity to fundraise, they will be providing the scholarship this year with help from the Youth Service Bureau. Any community members interested in helping them fund this year’s scholarship are welcome to donate to the cause. Next year the group hopes to resume the family-friendly activities they have used in the past to support the annual scholarship program. YAC members, along with the rest of Granby, are ready to put this pandemic behind them and move forward.