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A growing need for youth

By Staff | Jul 20, 2010

Cindy and George Collister are getting ready to remodel the new building on Sherman Street that was purchased from Andritz, Inc. and will be the new Vineyard Community Activity Center.

MUNCY – After months of anticipation and waiting for some deed restrictions and subdivisions to clear, volunteers at the Vineyard Community Activity Center will finally be able to plan for their new youth center that was purchased on June 25 by Andritz, Inc. Located at 99 Sherman Street and comprising a little over one and a half acres, youth will be able to have more room for their activities and share quality time with their peers. “There is ample space here for some basketball courts and the large parking lot will make it quite easy for parents to drop off and pick up their kids,” said volunteer and board member, Cindy Collister. There is a separate building on the site that is used as a warehouse which the center plans to use for storage.

Collister can be seen just about every Friday night at the center working tirelessly to help the teenagers and keep the activity center going on a steady basis.

The Vineyard Community Activity Center (VCAC) has been operating since November 1997 at 206 S. Market Street, a property owned and provided by New Life Church in Muncy. Other churches and organizations help to keep the center fiscally operative by donating time and space. “The Vineyard is totally reliant on community support,” said Collister. Some of their biggest supporters include Muncy First United Methodist Church, Muncy Presbyterian Church Muncy Bank and Trust, and Friends Church in Hughesville.

Its mission is to serve youth and provide a safe environment with trust, respect and spiritual leadership. About 60 to 80 youth come to the VCAC each week to join friends, get a good meal and gain a sense of identity, belonging and acceptance. “For the most part, they come here to have fun,” noted Collister. On occasion, however, they will host guest speakers and relevant programs.

The youth took a field trip to see the new one story block building that Friday night after the closing. They were excited said Cindy and George Collister. They were pleased to see large grassy areas for tossing footballs and frisbies, playing volleyball or badmitten, and preparing areas for picnics. “This is a great place for them, in a non-residential area,” said George Collister. “The kids can still walk here.”

In the meantime, there are lots of areas that need attention inside the building such as constructing a kitchen and replacing ceiling tiles. “We will also need to make some electrical and plumbing changes and the girls bathroom needs to be handicap accessible,” said George. There are several safety codes that need attention, and some exterior doors require some ramping. There is also a need for more outdoor lighting. The structure was formerly used by Andritz as a classroom for computer training. “There are also some environmental issues to tackle. Everything needs to be ADA compliant,” said George.

“Businesses are encouraged to offer materials or discounted pricing on required supplies,” suggested the Collisters. They hope to have the building ready for occupancy in September. A volunteer meeting was scheduled July 5 and crew leaders were established to work on the building projects. Volunteers, David Pentz and Harold Heddings will be working with codes. Their goal is to raise $50,000 in grants and contributions to help pay the mortgage.

The board is in the process of setting up an after school tutoring program and would welcome any volunteers. “The sooner the work gets done and occupancy is obtained, the sooner the activity center can move into the new location,” added Cindy Collister. This Saturday morning, July 10, they will need volunteers to help sweep out the warehouse. To help or make a donation, call 546-0633 and leave a message or e-mail to vineyardactivitycenter@yahoo.com.

Staff members are Jim Savage, Leanne Deciscio, Matt Savage, Raymond Falls, Linda Falls, Charlotte Hoffman, Cindy Collister, Bill Steckowich and JR Heddings.