JOY, GOYA, Athletic Program, Acolytes
The future of any institution can only be insured by the education and success, care and nurturing of the succeeding generation – the youth. Keeping this in mind, we have developed several segments of our Youth Programs with the hope and understanding that our future generations will maintain the traditions and teachings of our Church while developing relationships which will last a lifetime.
Father Pat serves as the Director of all these programs, but is capably assisted by both adult and young adult advisors whose only concern is to serve Saint Sophia and guide, teach, oversee, and protect our children.
As with any group, volunteers are always needed to ensure and promote a vibrant program. If you are interested in serving any of our Youth Programs either as an advisor or coach, or if you have an idea for a program, please feel free to contact Father Pat during the year. Volunteers are always appreciated and welcome.
JOY is a religious, educational, social, and recreational program designed for all our children aged 7-12 years old. Christina Anagnostopoulos, Lenore Tsamis, Christina Lasher, and Maria Cholakis are our trusted and hard working head advisors who help to coordinate and implement events throughout the year. We generally meet one Friday each month, and on special occasions during the weekend. Our goal is to promote sound relationships among this age group, and develop a positive parent/child relationship through this group. Parents are not simply encouraged to attend, but are expected to participate. Each meeting begins with a small religious discussion prior to any activity. Returning this year is a revival of our Sports Spectacular program hosted by our GOYA, as well as the overnight religious retreat and prosforo baking, the senior citizen Christmas caroling, and helping out during the Souvlaki Fest. Programming begins Friday, September 20th at 7:15 PM with our Ice Cream social.
GOYA is a youth group specifically geared for our teenagers 13-18 who have not graduated from high school. Mary Googas, Lea Marinopoulos, Maria Sokaris, and Maria Ziamandanis serve as our advisors of this prolific group who have the opportunity to learn about the promulgation of the Church through service. This year we look forward to the expansion of our service Projects with the Ladies Philoptochos Society and our relationship with the Homeless Partnership of Albany. Also planned are: Senior Holiday Dinner, a GOYA sponsored breakfast, and our annual Cheese Fare Luncheon, as well as a year end excursion to Wildwood, New Jersey. One of our most challenging projects to date will be to spearhead a picture filled Community journal as a keepsake for our entire parish. Look to The Testament for future information. There is much to do and everyone is invited to become a part of this diverse group. Our first meeting will take place on Sunday, September 22nd, after church services in the Pappas Cultural Room with a review of some of last year’s programs, as well as the planning for this year preceded by elections of officers for the 2013-2014 year.
Athletic Program - This program has proven to be a huge success the past few years. Soccer, youth basketball, and, this year, volleyball are all on the agenda. Our head advisors are George Kontakos, George Koutsakis and Greg Docous who donate precious hours of their time on instruction and play. We are looking for even more volunteers to come forward in order to teach the basics, and coach our children in a variety of sports. The culmination and reward of this effort is the Archdiocesan Olympic program, co-chaired by several of our Youth advisors and coaches held each Memorial Day Weekend. Sports, however, are not the only reason to participate in this program. All aspects of sport and participation are explored. One of the most overlooked aspect of this endeavor is the fund raising aspect, and there are several events to participate in including Souvlaki Fest 2013, held this September and the annual Palm Sunday Luncheon.
Acolytes - This is a special religious program in which our young men aged 7-90 have the opportunity to serve the church. Under the supervision of James Diamantopoulos, serving as advisor, and Stelios Moisidis and Alex Athanassiadis, head altar boys, with Alex Melas as our chief reader, our altar servers have a unique vantage point during the Divine Liturgy and other related Services of the Church, and have a unique responsibility in serving and participating in the Church worship services. Our Acolytes enjoy fellowship and fun events while serving and learning their faith throughout the year. A special winter excursion is in the planning stages as well as our annual visit to Hudson Valley Community College to enjoy a Valley Cats baseball game. Anyone wishing to sign up should contact Father Pat.