by Nicole Reitz
A newly developed group, Recognizing Oswego County, committed the month of February to finding individuals and groups that promote outdoor exercise and highlight the winter resources the county has to offer.
Recognizing Oswego County is a community group working to combat county health issues by highlighting the positive and existing resources in Oswego County.
Several nominations for winter recreation community champions were received from the community. Friends of Great Bear was selected as February’s Organization Community Champion and Catherine Celeste was nominated as the Individual Community Champion.
Celeste is an Oswego Middle School science teacher and OMS Cross Country Ski Club advisor. She was nominated for her work using Facebook to solicit donations of ski equipment for youth to use in her program.
Celeste found additional equipment to give local children the opportunity to learn how to cross country ski and enjoy the trails around the middle school.
Celeste meets with a diverse group of 15 students twice weekly. Those who nominated Celeste said that some children may have never had been able to learn to ski had it not been for their teacher who promoted and encouraged the community to get involved and donate their gently used equipment.
“I was overwhelmed with the community’s generosity,” said Celeste. “It means so much to these students, many of whom come to ski without hats and gloves. This is a positive recreational activity, you never know as a teacher whose lives you touch.”
By providing students the opportunity to get out and ski, Celeste also gave children an outlet to be active year long.
“Celeste is inadvertently helping with the childhood obesity problem in our county,” said Abby Jenkins, ROC co-chair and program coordinator for Tobacco Free Network of Oswego County. “With many county health issues stemming from concerns over obesity, ROC sought out champions that found a way to let winter weather help, not hinder, local recreational activities.”
The Friends of Great Bear was also recognized as the month’s Organization Community Champion. Friends of Great Bear is a volunteer group formed at the invitation of the Town of Volney and the City of Fulton to help maintain the Great Bear Springs recreational property. Great Bear is a unique historic towpath, affiliated with the Great Lakes Seaway Trail.
To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397