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Delaware Youth Center gears up for new season

Matt Shortall
Posted 3/11/22

For generations the Delaware Youth Center (DYC) has been a place that brings community together. Now with recent renovations and new board members, the DYC is looking forward to expanding its …

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Delaware Youth Center gears up for new season


For generations the Delaware Youth Center (DYC) has been a place that brings community together. Now with recent renovations and new board members, the DYC is looking forward to expanding its membership to continue offering community programming.

Starting in the 1930′s as the Delaware Athletic Association, its goal was to promote educational and recreational opportunities for people in the area.

By 1947, local physicians Dr. Mills and Dr. Rumble started raising funds for a community pool. The organization changed its name to the DYC in 1952 and Hermann Hall was constructed in 1964 thanks to the generous philanthropy of Grover M. Hermann.

Today, this non-profit, membership-driven organization carries on its original mission of bringing recreational and educational opportunities to the com­mun­ity.

The DYC recently elected three new board members – Alexander Gardner, Anna Steppich and Meryl Sheridan. They join a team of seven other dedicated individuals who keep the facilities and programs going.

“It’s a great board of people who have been involved for many years and really kept things running smoothly,” Gardner said.

“There’s a lot of passion,” Steppich added. “This is a beautiful venue for graduation parties, birthday parties and there was even a wedding reception here… Membership is important for us to be able to function.” Gardner said the DYC is priced to invite people in, not keep them away, and compared it to owning a library card.

“It’s a private organization but it exists to serve the community,” Gardner said. “Membership is what keeps it going.”

He explained that, as new board members, they’re trying to introduce the Youth Center to new people in the community, many who may have relocated to the area during the last few years.


The DYC recently completed many major renovations, thanks to grant money they’d received. The pool house has been nearly rebuilt – adding separate showers and changing facilities. They’ve added new bathroom facilities in Hermann Hall and the kitchen has also been completely renovated.

“Certainly the new kitchen and the new bathrooms really enhance the opportunities for renting the space out for events,” Gardner said.

Keeping traditions alive

Many people who have lived in the Town of Delaware or nearby communities for a long time have fond memories of the Youth Center.

Gardner said it’s where his kids learned to swim. Steppich’s husband, whose family goes back many years in the Town of Delaware, grew up playing on the baseball field.

“As a parent, I'd love to see more sports happening here. With more membership and more people knowing about the opportunities here, I think more kids would show up,” Gardner said.

Steppich added that one of their next big projects could be rebuilding or renovating the grandstands at the baseball field.

“I would like to see that be a project we can undertake in the future. We could replace or rehab whatever the engineers think would be safe and most efficient for us to do. That would be really great to be able to sit in those grandstands and see the kids play ball just as they did 30 or 40 years ago,” Steppich said.

Annual events

The Delaware Youth Center is responsible for many well-known events in Callicoon - including the Annual Tractor Parade and the Callicoon River Run.

Steppich’s father-in-law, Al Steppich, has participated in just about every tractor parade and now his granddaughter is carrying on the tradition.

“It’s great to see these family traditions that are steeped so deep in the Youth Center,” Steppich said.

Board Members have expressed interest in bringing back programs that had been postponed during the worst months of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the indoor winter farmers’ market and the arts and crafts fair.

A membership drive will be hosted the first Saturday in June. Those interested in more information can visit delawareyouthcenter.org.


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