It’s the last week of February. I am sitting in front of the wood stove looking back through my maple journal to see what was the latest date we had ever started syruping. With all of our trees tapped, machinery ready and students antsy to get going, it is still too cold. The last time this occurred, was 1994 when the program started on March 3rd, we are about to break a record. It looks as if the weather may change over the week end and produce enough days in the 40’s to allow us to begin boiling. Keep your eyes open for the steam coming out of the top of the Sugarhouse and you will know that we finally started.
blog for Parents.
We’ll post regularly on topics we think might be helpful or interesting to those of you doing the 24/7 work of parenting in New Milford. My name is Laura Cleary. I’m a social worker and parent educator here at the Youth Agency, and I’ll be the primary writer on this blog, but we’ll also have some guest writers contribute. If you have any questions or topic ideas, we would love to hear them.
Honestly, I have good qualifications to write this blog: I’m the mother of three almost grown children, I’ve been working with kids and families here at the Youth Agency for over 6 years, I have a Masters in Social Work, and I’m a trained Positive Discipline Parent educator. All of this gives me a pretty good sense about the issues that are keeping parents up at night. Some of it is the same stuff that gave your parents a sleepless night, some of it very different. None of my qualifications make me the expert on your parenting and your child. What I offer in this blog are thoughts, discussion, ideas, and sometimes specific tools for you to try. I’m not a parenting expert, but a parenting guide.
As a Positive Discipline educator, I think that PD has some ideas about parenting, that can be valuable to parents, and act as a framework when facing parenting questions and challenges. When I teach the 6 week PD parenting class, on the first day of class, we do an activity called short term versus long term parenting. Short term parenting is the stuff we do without thinking- just reacting to the day to day problems- to get the kids to behave or stop misbehaving or do what we need/want them to do. The harder concept is long term parenting, which is an essential part of the Positive Discipline philosophy. What? You think that’s a no brainer? Of course, you say, almost all parents are in it for the long haul, that’s the nature of parenting. True. But, in the day to day onslaught of parenting challenges and decisions, do your parenting style and discipline methods reflect a long term parenting mindset?
Close your eyes and imagine your child in 30 years, all grown up.
What kind of person are they? Are they independent? Are they kind? Are they hard working? Are they problem solvers? Do they want to spend holidays with you? Take a minute and write down which characteristics and life skills you hope your adult child will have. Then, along the way, as you face day to day, big and small challenges, think about how you respond, and whether your response is “building” an adult that matches with your list. Well meaning, loving parents who always jump in to “rescue” their child may have a child who decides, “I’m not capable” or “I can’t solve my problems.” On the other hand, parents who allow a child some room to make mistakes, and engage a child in problem solving, are more likely to have a child who decides, “My parents are there to help me, but I am able to solve problems on my own.” If these patterns of behavior and belief are steady throughout childhood, you can imagine the difference there might be in the adult characteristics of these two people. Take another look at that list you made when you closed your eyes, and keep it in mind as we go forward with other topics in this blog!
Next Parent Blog topic: Bullying. If this topic interests you, consider attending the New Milford Youth Agency’s upcoming free parent workshop “Bullying: a Focus on Solutions”, on Tuesday March 10th at 6:30 at the Maxx. Speaker Jo Ann Frieberg, Ph.D., is an educational consultant for the state of CT in the area of bullying, improving school climate and character education. This is an opportunity for parents to better understand this issue, ask questions, and join the discussion about mean behaviors between kids. Register with me, email@example.com or call the Youth Agency (860) 210-2030.
On Wednesday, February 18th, Governor Malloy presented his budget proposal for the 2015-16 fiscal year to the General Assembly. The Governor proposed cutting more than $590 million dollars in services to Connecticut.
The cuts, as proposed, would have a significant impact on the Youth Agency’s programming. In the current fiscal year, the Agency receives a total of $27,800 in grants through the State Department of Education (YSB grant money). The Agency has been informed that 40% of this money has been summarily cut, meaning a loss of $11,000.
Although at first glance, this may not seem like a large amount of money, but it would significantly impact our programs and the families we serve. By losing this funding, we would greatly reduce the amount of part time, seasonal staff including teens and their supervisors who benefit from this job experience and also provide meaningful services to the agency and community. Many students who work after school or in the summer help with a variety of tasks that make our programs possible, such as food prep and set up for small workshops, large events like the Health Fair, Parent University and more. In addition, our “work crew” who maintain traffic islands, help with our maple syruping, build hiking trails and bridges, mow historic graveyards and more would have to be downsized.
The impact goes beyond New Milford. A total of 1.3 million dollars that goes to the Youth Service Bureaus throughout Connecticut is part of the proposed cuts.
In addition to the funding cuts, the Governor is recommending that the YSB line item be moved from the current Dept. of Education to the Department of Children and Families. This raises many concerns for YSB’s. In early 1990’s, YSB’s were switched from DCF to SDE, and after many years of settling in, it seems to be a better fit than under DCF.
A request by the Ct. Youth Service Association to begin contacting our local legislators has been made. We ask that you support us in this effort by letter, phone call or email to let them know about the services in our community and throughout the state that would be affected.
Rep. Buck Taylor of the 67th Rep. (R)
Capitol Phone: 860-240-8700
Capitol Fax: 860-240-0207
Smith of the 108th- Rep. Richard Smith (R)
(Kent, New Fairfield, New Milford, Sherman)
Capitol Phone: 860-240-8700
Capitol Fax: 860-240-0207
Senator Chapin of the 30th Sen. Clark Chapin (R)
(Brookfield, Canaan, Cornwall, Goshen, Kent, Litchfield, Morris, New Milford, North Canaan, Salisbury, Sharon, Torrington, Warren, Washington, Winchester)
Capitol Phone: 860-240-0445
Capitol Fax: 860-240-8306
Writing from the woods this week where Saturday it was 12 below zero. Normally this time of year it would be in the 20’s at night and 40’s during the day which is perfect weather for maple syruping.
The day time high for the beginning of this week is projected to be 16 degrees. Even with the cold, we had two crews out all weekend tapping trees. Stephanie Balsted, Brady Clarke, Nick Kimball, Jackson Kramer, Jake Cleary, Mike Price, and Owen Swanson all braved the cold temperatures to tap more than 300 trees, bringing us so far to a grand total of 1,000 tapped trees. It looks like the weather may change for the first week in March allowing the maple season to start – almost a month behind schedule.