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History- About Us


Lakeland Youth Center is always looking for volunteers to help maintain the mission. If you would like to be a part of this rewarding community youth effort, please contact us via our email form or let one of our current volunteers know of your interest. Thank you

The History

The Lakeland Youth Center first opened its doors 49 years ago, in 1964. What began as a year- long “experiment” has evolved into a foundation of this community.
The people who started the Youth Center wanted a place for teenagers to be able to go, a place that was safe, a place where they could meet their friends and “hang out”. A small space in the basement of Pickwick Place in downtown Syracuse was converted from a bowling alley into an area for kids to meet. The quarters were cramped, but there was enough room for a snack bar, a ping-pong table, a pool table, a corner for reading, and a small area for dancing.
The age group served at that time was 6th graders to 20 year olds. Memberships were required and cost only $1.00 for Junior High children and $3.00 for Senior High students. That first year, the Youth Center served about 300 kids!
There weren’t many structured programs at that time. The Youth Center was open every day after school and at varying times on the weekends. Volunteers taught girls to knit or sew and boys to hunt and fish. Dances were held after ball games for Senior High students and dances especially for Junior High kids were held at alternate times.
In 1968, the Youth Center moved to its current location. Thanks to a generous donation by Mrs. Marjorie Niccum (a part-time resident of Syracuse Lake) and others, a building specifically to serve the youth of the community was erected on the corner of S.R. 13 and Chicago Street.
Over time, the Lakeland Youth Center evolved into what it is today. Not only does it serve teenagers of the community by providing a safe place for them to hang out; the Youth Center has become a community center. Structured programs are offered to children as young as 18 months through high school. There are also classes for parents and children to participate together.
The Lakeland Youth Center is a not-for-profit organization. Sources of income come from fundraising and contributions from community members and businesses. The money is used to run the Youth Center, employ a small staff and to keep the costs of programs at a minimum to its participants.
New programs are being added as needed and the Youth Center continues its longtime goal to provide a place for youth to meet and energize, aspire, and achieve; socially, recreationally, and educationally.
 
Special Thanks to Our Founding Board Members
Ms. Marjorie Niccum John & Gail Kroh Jay & Lucille Peffley
Harry & Helen Alfrey Jack & Barbara Wells James & Laura Stuckey
Paul & Marilyn Moore   Robert & Jean Reed
To foster a positive sense of self-worth through programs that promote physical, mental, emotional, and social development in the youth of our communities.
       Energize…
 
                         Inspire…
                                          Achieve…