Youth Board recognizes 19 students, 3 adult advocates

Photos by Tom Rivers: Pastor Albert Wilson of the Royal Body Shop Outreach Ministries gives the keynote address during the 42nd annual Youth Recognition Banquet last Thursday at the White Birch Golf Course in Lyndonville.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 June 2024 at 8:53 am

2024 Youth Recognition Winners in Orleans County include, front row, from left: Abigail Kincaid of Albion, Elizabeth Whipple of Lyndonville and Hayli Kuellertz of Holley. Second row: Lucy Rivers of Albion and Jake Jackson of Lyndonville. Third row: Samantha Dobo of Albion, Tarek Garrett of Holley, and Aubrey Gannon of Albion. Fourth row: Gabriel Lindsay of Holley and Hannah Brundage of Kendall. Fifth row: Lucas Jones of Kendall, Evan Levett of Kendall and Noah Cudzilo. Top row: Joseph Brueckner of Medina. Missing from photo: Makaila Adams from Kendall, Paige Hardenbrook of Kendall, Christopher Nettles of Kendall, James Poler of Lyndonville, Jeannette Rosario Rios of Albion.

LYNDONVILLE – The Orleans County Youth Board honored 19 students and three adult advocates during the 42nd Youth Recognition Awards Banquet last week at the White Birch Golf Course.

The group of honorees also heard an inspirational message from Al Wilson, pastor of the Royal Body Shop Outreach Ministries in Albion. Wilson and his church have been very busy giving back to the community.

Royal Body teams with the Masonic Lodge to serve 2,000 chicken dinners in a December event, prepares and serves about 200 Thanksgiving meals, and organizes an Easter egg hunt with 12,000 plastic eggs with treats as well as other prizes, and even free haircuts.

The church has other ministries in Albion, filling backpacks with school supplies, offering a breakfast with Santa, running Bingo for adults and giving to the summer recreation program.

The Royal Body Shop has been very active in the Albion since starting its first ministry in March 2022 with a refrigerator stocked with food outside Arnold’s Auto Parts on West Bank Street.

“There are benefits to volunteering,” Wilson told the crowd at the banquet. “You get a sense of purpose.”

Wilson urged the group to keep serving others, even when encountering people who aren’t always nice. He said everyone has value and purpose.

The Orleans County Youth Board honored 19 youth for outstanding commitment and service to their community, school and families.

Some examples of outstanding service by youth include: Makaila Abrams, Paige Hardenbrook and Evan Levett as volunteer junior firefighter with the Kendall Fire Department; Christopher Nettles of Kendall and Joseph Brueckner of Medina for many years in the Boy Scouts culminating in earning the highest rank of Eagle Scout; Jake Poler of Lyndonville for beign one of the first to help his teacher at BOCES when a windstorm knocked down his barn.

Other students are very active in their school, making music, athletic and other extracurricular programs stronger. Others take on an extraordinary role in their families, and others are active in their church.

The students recognized include: Makaila Abrams of Kendall, Joseph Brueckner of Medina, Hannah Brundage of Kendall, Noah Cudzilo of Medina, Samantha Dobo of Albion, Aubrey Gannon of Albion, Tarek Garrett of Holley, Paige Hardenbrook of Kendall, Jake Jackson of Lyndonville, Lucas Jones of Kendall, Abigail Kincaid of Albion, Hayli Kuellertz of Holley, Evan Levett of Kendall, Gabriel Lindsay of Holley, Christopher Nettles of Kendall, James Poler of Lyndonville, Lucy Rivers of Albion, Jeannette Rosario Rios of Albion, and Elizabeth Whipple of Lyndonville.

Hayli Kuellertz of Holley accepts congratulations from County Legislator Skip Draper, Steve Hawley’s Chief of Staff Eileen Baker, and County Legislator John Fitzak.

Samantha Dobo of Albion was nominated by the Youth Court Coordinator for her service on that court, and for volunteer work with the Albion Strawberry Festival.

The honorees all received certificates of commendation from the Orleans County Legislature, State Sen. Rob Ortt and Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

In addition to recognizing the youth, the Youth Board honored three adults – one in a paid role and two as community volunteers – for their service to young people.

Julie Kludt, center, is pictured with Youth Board members John Grillo of Albion and Barb Flow of Kendall. Kludt received the Eileen Heye Adult Volunteer Award for her active volunteerism in the Kendall community.

Kludt was called “a shining star in the Kendall community.” She steps up in many ways as a volunteer for Kendall, whether leading a benefit for a community member in need, bringing supplies to elementary students, being the Easter Bunny during Kendall’s egg hunt, or helping put on community events, most recently a celebration during the solar eclipse on April 8. She also leads religious education classes the past 10 years, and sponsors youth recreation teams with her husband.

Kludt said so many people give as volunteers in the community, whether as coaches, firefighters, serving at food pantries and in many other ways.

“Volunteers are the spices in the communities,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to be spicy.”

Susan Oschmann also received an Eileen Heye Adult Volunteer Award. Oschmann was unable to attend the banquet. She is shown on Oct. 26 when Albion opened two full-size basketball courts at Bullard Park.

Oschmann pushed for two years to get new basketball courts at Bullard, lining up fundraising and support for the project. She rallied the community, including basketball legend Roosevelt Bouie of Kendall, in getting two new courts complete.

Oschmann had recently moved to Albion from Kendall when she was surprised to see the sorry shape of the courts at Bullard, a place where Bouie got his start when he was a kid. The previous court was back further in the park and the surface wasn’t level with asphalt heaving in sports. The hoops were missing nets and were seldom used.

Oschmann wanted kids, including her grandchildren, to have a place to shoot basketballs with friends.

Oschmann and Bouie have been friends since they were kids. Bouie was a big star at Syracuse University and he helped secure $40,000 in funding from the James and Juli Boeheim Foundation. Altogether more than $100,000 was secured to put in two full-length courts, four basketball hoops and some fencing. The courts are painted in vibrant colors.

Oschmann also has helped organize the Santa’s Hometown parade in Albion, and serves on Albion’s Recreation Committee, Strawberry Festival Committee, the Albion merchants Association and the Albion Summer Festival featuring “Rock the Park.”

“She has a passion for helping the youth in our community to be engaged and active and to have a purpose,” said John Grillo, Albion’s recreation director. “She has many new ideas for more fun activities.”

Peter Anderson, an Employment & Training Counselor at Orleans County Job Development, was presented with the Helen R. Brinsmaid Professional Award which goes to a youth serving professional whose work exceeds normal expectations. Anderson was unable to attend the awards banquet.

The photo from August 2022 shows him in back left at Bullard Park in Albion during a celebration of the summer youth program. That summer 41 people, ages 14 to 20, were in the program, working in the community for 25 hours a week over five weeks.

Anderson has worked with Job Development since October 2018, exhibiting tremendous dedication to the youths and their families, the Youth Board said. He coordinates work experiences for youths and young adults. He interviews young people, provides an orientation and educates them on their responsibilities at the job sites. He also assists with administrative services, trainings for youths, and seeking out work placements.

“He has a knack for creating a good personal relationship by showing love, compassion and honesty with firm reminders when needed,” said John Grillo, the Albion recreation director and a Youth Board member. “The youths respect him and look at him as mentor. I have seen Peter go above and beyond the duties and responsibilities involved in his job description.”