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Summer Fun With The Manhasset Youth Council

The Manhasset Youth Council’s Summer Program, which consisted of six day-trips and an overnight trip to Philadelphia and Hershey Park, had a highly successful and fun-filled month of July. Anthony Blyskal, program director, reported that a total of 162 enthusiastic middle and high school students participated and that he and assistant director Steve Gilroy were always surrounded by smiling, happy faces.

New York City attractions are always important parts of the program, and this year’s three city trips featured ten varied venues. The first trip was to an evening performance of Matilda, the highly acclaimed new Broadway musical. Lucy Pavlovich commented, “Matilda was amazing; I want to see it again” and Jenna Tishler noted that “the cast was so talented, and the show was so very funny.”

The students had a special treat when the talented lead actress exited past them after the show. The second trip, which took advantage of Brooklyn’s revival, is rapidly becoming a student favorite because it involves great food, awesome sights, and thrills on the water. The trip began with lunch at famous Grimaldi’s Pizza, dessert at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, and a spin on Jane’s Carousel. Then students enjoyed the spectacular views of Manhattan as they walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to the South Street Seaport.

The final activity was a 45 mph adrenaline-fueled Shark boat ride across New York Harbor. “The boat ride was amazing,” Matthew Palmakessi exclaimed. “I got completely soaked”!  Aleah Tishler said, “The trip was awesome! My favorite things were the Shark Boat and the ice cream.”

The Manhattan trip included the NBC Experience, Top of the Rock, John’s Pizza, and Dylan’s Candy Bar. “I enjoyed every second we spent in the city,” said Isabella Baron. “It was absolutely amazing.” The students saw the singer Mark Antony and a few television personalities.

The Hershey Park overnight trip, which sold out at 45 students, was one of the highlights of the summer. Students had a short American history lesson at Constitution Hall and the Liberty 3D show in Philadelphia. Students also tried the two most famous Philly cheese steak restaurants, and their reactions were very strong. Jack Hance enjoyed the food, but Armen Kasabian said it was disgusting.  

The evening activities included a swim in the hotel pool, dinner, and two hours in Hershey Park. The second day included six hours of rides at Hershey Park, a stop at Chocolate World, and a relaxing bus ride home. Teddy Urban and Kate Petras said, “Hershey Park was really fun.” Belle Canton said she enjoyed the whole trip. Jordan Winn and Katie Gross both enjoyed having a great deal of time in the park.

Six Flags Great Adventure, Montauk, and Splish Splash comprised the remaining trips. Surprisingly, even with all of Six Flags’ new thrill rides like X Flight and Kinda Ka, the favorite ride of most students was El Toro, a huge but conventional roller coaster.  The day at Montauk was sunny, and the water was beautiful and manageable for everyone.  After hours at the beach, students enjoyed mini golf, free time in the town, and dinner at Gosman’s Dock.

The final trip of the program was a rainy day at Splish Splash, which worked out well because the lines were very short. Bootleggers, the new coaster water ride, was one of the favorites because it’s thrilling but not scary.

Blyskal feels that the program has remained popular because it offers fun summer excursions at reasonable prices: “It’s a wonderful way for students to spend a part of their summer.  I enjoy getting to know the students outside of the classroom setting and watching them have fun with old and new friends.”