It’s still in the early stages, but several local teens and adults have begun to form a youth committee for the purpose of organizing regular events for kids in the City of Amsterdam, as well as advocating for youth-related issues with the city government. A group of seven met last Thursday at the Amsterdam Free Library to discuss possibilities, goals, and to plan their next steps.
High school student Phillip Tambasco and Michael Rich, both of whom have volunteered their time at Amsterdam City Hall to work the camera system, said they initiated the idea after talking together and seeing a need for an increased voice for young people in city government. Both are already active in the community, Tambasco volunteering his time with the Historic Amsterdam League, and Rich with the Wishful Thinking Foundation.
The three other high school students at the meeting also voiced their motivations for wanting to help with the effort.
Michael Machold said he wants to “provide more opportunities for the youth of Amsterdam.”
Paige Bertuch said she hopes to “get the youth involved with the community.”
Sullivan Fitz-James would like to “give the kids a better way to spend their energy.”
Fifth Ward Alderman Rich Leggiero said he was willing to serve as liaison between the group and the Common Council. Besides giving the group some practical advice, Leggiero said he also sees a need for more activities for youth in the city, partially as a way to keep them “out of trouble.”
John Sumpter of Wishful Thinking Foundation also joined the meeting and offered organizational support from the foundation. Sumpter challenged the group to define their immediate goals as well as to focus on recruiting more people to help.
The group discussed a variety of ideas for events and how to proceed. Rich suggested holding a youth fair in the downtown area. Tambasco would like to see the amphitheater at Sassafras park restored. Sumpter talked about advocating for a indoor recreational center at Veteran’s Field. Fitz-James suggested reaching out to the local Boy Scout troops for help. Bertuch suggested meeting with the Amsterdam High School principal.
Toward the end of the meeting, the group discussed future meeting dates. Sumpter also suggested the group take a gradual approach to growth.
“Small steps, crawl before you walk, and this will become a prosperous group,” said Sumpter.