Portales youth needs top agenda at summit

By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

The Eastern Area Youth Summit has a simple mission for its two-day program this week: Determine the most important needs for Portales youth.
Annemarie McCracken of the School and Main Institute will facilitate the two-day program, scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday and from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday in the Zia Room of the Campus Union Building at Eastern New Mexico University.
Diana Herrington of Portales’ Youth Opportunities Center said McCracken will inspire those who attend.
“She brings a lot of high energy,” Herrington said. “She’s going to help us develop a program (for the community) and we hope other communities will learn from this example.”
Herrington said one of the week’s main objectives is to gather officials from different organizations and develop a partnership strategy.
“We use the program to identify what services we are providing and if anything is overlapping,” Herrington said. “We want to make sure we don’t duplicate any services. We’re (social services departments) all cut on funds. We need to be able to maximize our efforts.”
Herrington said an example of the overlapping occurred before 2002 when both GEAR UP and Youth Opportunities officials were conducting youth career camps in the summer. She said the two organizations combined to hold a youth career camp each summer and have worked together to hold the last three summer youth career camps.
Herrington said Sue Bracksieck, director of GEAR-UP, Dennis Lopez, Roosevelt County Commission chairman, probation officers and Baptist Children’s Home officials are expected to participate in this week’s seminars.
She said Portales school counselors and other community members have been invited.
She said members from the public can also attend the seminars, which are funded by the Eastern Area Workforce Development program.
Herrington said she was able to listen to McCracken during a November program in Santa Fe in which youth organizations from throughout New Mexico were represented.
McCracken said that meeting saw representatives from eastern New Mexico aggressive in pursuit of programs.
“They were chomping at the bit. It’s a good sign,” she said.
McCracken said she previously worked for the Texas Department of Commerce. She now lives in Cheyenne, Wyo.
“It’s going to be interesting to see what Portales identifies (as youth priorities),” she said.