Ocean View begins to explore youth program

The Ocean View Youth Development Committee met on Monday, Dec. 22, for their initial brainstorming session. The Ocean View Town Council voted in October to appoint Tom Roth, a local scoutmaster, and Garret Lydick, a former Teacher of the Year, to its committee to study the need for a municipal youth program. Councilman Perry Mitchell, Police Chief Ken McLaughlin and Town Manager Conway Gregory also sit on the committee.

“Members of our committee bring diverse experiences to our cause,” said Mitchell, who proposed the idea of such a program to the council this fall.

“Mr. Lydic is an accomplished and distinguished teacher and educator, and Mr. Roth is a town manager who was a Boy Scout organizer and brings experiences from community youth groups,” said Mitchell. “Chief McLaughlin brings experiences from the State Criminal Justice Council, who will give us insight as to what grants may be available with the state and other sources, and Conway Gregory is our town manager and will help us with grant application and other administrative matters. We have a very distinguished committee and I am pleased to have the honor to work with them.”

The committee on Monday discussed different ways to promote a comprehensive youth program in Ocean View, ways to interest youth in attending and also of their own need to learn more and educate themselves about the youth of the area.

Lydick noted that they have invited John Hollis and Peggy Giesler of the Sussex Child Health Promotion Coalition to come and talk to the committee next month. Hollis, a former Seaford School District teacher and administrator, currently works for Nemours Health and Prevention Services.

“He’s done it all,” said Lydick of Hollis. “He has a lot of experience in helping youth and getting the community together for the benefit of children and has a lot of relationships with people statewide.”

Lydick said the experience both Hollis and Geisler have can help the committee in Ocean View with narrowing down a vision. While a health-focused committee has the potential to become a separate program, for now, the Youth Development Committee is in its infancy and is content with learning more about what’s already out there and how something similar might work in Ocean View.

“Why re-create the wheel when we can talk to the best?” asked Lydick rhetorically.

Mitchell added that the committee will be tasked determining their vision and goal, finding diverse and comprehensive programs to fit Ocean View, determining space and funding, garnering community support, and linking with other area programs. He said it is a long-range project and it will probably be six months to a year before any programs are started.

The committee will meet again, with special guests Hollis and Geisler, on Jan. 27 at 5:30 p.m. at town hall.