With the first day of school fast approaching, the 2017 Summer Jam Program for Nation youth wrapped up last week. Open to Oneida Members, Children of Enrolled Oneidas and Health Services clients, Summer Jam provides kids with activities and field trips that aim to educate as well as entertain.

Thirty children enrolled this year and interest remains at an all-time high. In addition to organized activities at the Nation’s Rec Center, kids were able to visit several museums for more structured learning and cultural studies including the Iroquois Indian Museum near Albany, the Rochester Museum of Play and the Seneca Art and Culture Center at Ganondagan – site of a former flourishing Native community.

At Ganonagan, the kids were able to explore an actual Seneca village with bark longhouses. The layout was large and had many walking trails that weaved throughout the site. Numerous artifacts and exhibits featured throughout the museum showcase Haudenosaunee culture and history. The center itself is also heated by the natural springs underground.

Kids were also treated with trips to let loose, relax and play, which included hiking at Green Lakes and Chittenango Falls, watching a movie at the Glenwood Movieplex in Oneida, and riding thrills at Thunder Island, Sea Breeze and Big Don’s in Cicero.

“It was our first time going to Big Don’s,” said Barb George-Winton (Wolf Clan), the Administrative Assistant at the Rec Center. “It was one of the kids’ favorite trips and one of mine too. We had a blast!”

It was also the first summer for new Youth Programs Assistant, Kathleen Landcastle. She enjoyed the trips to Ganondagan and Big Don’s as well. “We usually have two trips a week, which is great,” she said. “The kids really enjoy trying new things.”

Summer Jam accommodates 30 kids maximum right now, but hopes to expand in the future with the success and interest continuing to climb. The program will return next summer after the school year.

The Nation’s youth programs remain a popular option for families looking for an educational and recreational outlet for their kids outside of the regular school day. An orientation dinner for all of the youth programs is scheduled for Thursday, September 7 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Rec Center and the After School Program begins Monday, September 11 and runs Monday through Friday from 3:30 – 5 p.m.

For more information on any of the youth programs contact Donna Howe, the Nation’s Youth Development Program Coordinator, at (315) 829-8484.