RANDOLPH - New Directions Youth and Family Services recently received a $15,000 grant from the F.T. and Anna C. Manley Memorial Trust Fund to transform its Randolph Residential woodlot on its Randolph campus into a wilderness refuge for alternative programming.
The centerpiece of the refuge will be a yurt, an octagon-shaped shelter on a raised platform constructed from wooden supports, latticed walls and heavy canvas. The roof is pitched enough to shed rain and snow, and a wood-burning stove will provide heat to make it usable in cold weather.
Yurts were first used by nomadic Mongolians and are still used in parts of Central Asia by various nomadic groups. They have also become commonly used in North America by outdoor enthusiasts for shelter in remote areas. The yurt at the New Directions Wilderness Refuge will be between 24 and 30 feet in diameter and will have sleeping space for up to 18 people in sleeping bags. The space can be used for group activities such as preparing groups for outdoor adventure experiences, processing those experiences, welcoming ceremonies, celebrating achievements and for fun or educational activities.
The therapeutic priority for the wilderness refuge is deigned to establish an emotionally safe place that engages the peace and beauty of nature to support and promote healing and well-being. Although located on the Randolph Residential campus, the Wilderness Refuge will be open to all New Directions programs across Western New York.
Construction of the yurt and surrounding wilderness refuge will begin in the spring.
Since 1988, the Manley Fund has made significant investments to New Directions' Southern Tier programs. It provided start-up funding for the Randolph Work Experience, Life Skills and Therapeutic Foster Care programs. It also paid for construction of an environmental center, renovations to the non-secure detention facility in Cuba, the Zafron Home for Parenting Teens and the Westons Mills Agency Operated Boarding Home. Manley Fund grants allowed the creation of two specialty living units at the Randolph Children's Home.
KeyBank National Association is the Trustee of the Manley Charitable Trust, which is administered locally by KeyBank's Western New York Key Private Bank Office.