About RYS

Youth who live in the communities of Ithaca, Caroline, Danby, Dryden, Enfield, Freeville, Groton, Lansing, Trumansburg and Ulysses can enroll in free or low-cost programs offered through Rural Youth Services (RYS).  RYS is an partnership between these local municipalities that works to promote healthy youth development for all young people.  Local programs are designed to complement services offered by schools, communities, and countywide agencies for underserved populations. Funding is allocated as a non-competitive formula that considers financial need, population and access to other services.

Since 1995, Rural Youth Services (RYS) has provided a place to try new things and to belong by offering engaging activities after school and throughout the summer. Programs are free or low cost to participants. Staff in each town provide an assortment of programs designed for local youth. These Community Youth Educators develop strong relationships with participants, their families, school staff and community members. Programs are focused primarily on middle-school youth with the exception of Trumansburg's High School, Groton's Elementary programs and the OURS program in Dryden. Programs are open to all local youth and diversity is highly regarded. Most individual programs run 6 - 10 sessions (with some running year round) and are designed to be fun, promote healthy choices and assist in the development of positive social and life skills. We know from research that adolescents need to stretch their wings and try new things, so RYS offers safe, supported opportunities to do this while having lots of fun! Check out the program offerings in your town by clicking on the link at the left side of this page.

School-Year Programs

Each RYS community offers programs though out the school year. Most programs happen right after school, with many being held at the school for easy access.Staff working in and with schools plan programs to meet needs and appeal to young people and then recruit youth participants. These same Youth Community Educators are there with the youth at each program session, frequently developing long term relationships with participants. Programs range from one-time events to programs that run for 6 to 10 weeks, occasionally longer, and have included topics such as cooking, animals, crafts, outdoor adventures, photography and community service. Most programs are offered free of charge or with small fees requested from those able to pay. Special programs are often offered during school breaks and can include trips and overnights.Van transportation is available for field trips and providing access to community places of interest. New programs offerings happen throughout the year. Click the link at the left for current offerings in your municipality.

Summer Programs

Summer is a great time for trying new things and exploring our area!RYS programs continue throughout the summer in each of the municipalities. Summer programs tend to run 3-4 days per week, based on a different theme each week .In Groton, we offer a six-week summer day camp for children ages 6 – 12. Check the link at the left for offerings in your municipality.


Shelley Lester
Rural Youth Services Coordinator
(607) 272-2292 ext. 141

Last updated January 22, 2015