Celebrating local youths is goal of young campaign

Yearlong series honors teen-agers' achievements

April 19, 2002|By Mary Gail Hare and Justin Paprocki | Mary Gail Hare and Justin Paprocki,SUN STAFF

In a ceremony at the Carroll County Farm Museum yesterday, county officials launched Celebrate Youth Year, a campaign that will focus on the accomplishments of area teen-agers and their contributions to their communities.

Organizers announced a series of activities, from music festivals to block parties, honoring youth who are contributing to their communities. Organizers awarded a $500 savings bond to Cindy Caviglia, a sophomore at Liberty High School, whose logo design - a triangle with Celebrate Youth Year printed down one side - was chosen from more than 80 entries. The money will go into her college fund, Cindy said.

In a message to area businesses, Jeanne Link, president of Jeanne's Gourmet and chairwoman of Celebrate Youth Year, said, "I want to see our logo on all businesses to show we are all celebrating youth. We need their enthusiasm and their strength."

Sponsored by the Alliance, an initiative of the Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County, the 14-month celebration will include programs designed for youths and their families and will culminate June 7, 2003, in a Youth Expo.

Link hopes the youth year concept will win recognition for teen-agers, showing them as contributing members of society.

"Everything we tend to focus on in the media and as adults are all the negative things," Link said. "We want to celebrate all the positive things youths do."

State, county and town officials were on hand yesterday to honor outstanding teen-agers, many of whom serve on youth boards, as advisers and liaisons between peers and government leaders. One board and the Sykesville Town Council are working to construct a skate park in the town.

Eight Carroll towns recognized young residents who contribute to their communities. Eleven-year-old Esther Schott developed a water conservation plan for Manchester; Jeremy Roop, 15, plants trees throughout New Windsor; and Bill Ebberts, an eighth-grader from Taneytown, almost missed the event yesterday because he was portraying Clifford the Dog at an elementary school.

"This is a great opportunity to tell what great things we have in Carroll County," Commissioner Donald I. Dell said.

Perhaps, the youth year will start to break down the image many people have of the lazy, raucous teen, said Stacey Taylor, the Alliance project coordinator.

"In general, there's a stereotype about being a teen," Taylor said. "But they do contribute a lot. They provide a unique perspective of the world."

The Alliance plans events to attract and interest youth throughout the year. Next year's expo will be whatever participants want it to be - from skateboarding events to concerts, Taylor said.

This celebration is the first major initiative of the Alliance, established two years ago to promote people, youth, families and neighborhoods in the county.

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