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Panas Student Helps Others in Walkabout Program

YORKTOWN, N.Y.— Lakeland students, among other districts, have the opportunity to participate in a program at BOCES called Walkabout, and one Walter Panas student is using his experience to help peers and other children.

Jay Feliciano, is a junior at Panas who enrolled in the Walkabout program, which is a yearlong program for college-bound high school students. As part of the program, Feliciano earns a full-year of academic credit, spends two weeks backpacking with other students to gain confidence and build community, spends four weeks in a service learning project, and completes a 10-week career internship.

For his service learning project, Feliciano is working at Camp Combe in Putnam Valley. He helps prepare the camp for the 550 campers who will attend starting next June. Combe is a camp known for its inclusion program for children with special needs and for providing as much as $200,000 in financial assistance for those who require it, according to Camp Director Thad Gifford.

His duties so far have included helping to build a haunted house for the camp’s harvest festival, something he enjoyed immensely. “It was amazing,” Feliciano said.

The men and women who work at the actual camp have been just as pleased to work alongside Feliciano as he has been to work with them.

“There’s a lot to be done, especially in light of the recent storm,” said Gifford. “Jay has been a delightful addition to our staff. He’s a great kid, a very hard worker and very polite. Having him here has been terrific for us.”

Since helping to build the haunted house, Feliciano has been working with the camp’s maintenance crew clearing brush and branches on the camp’s 80 wooded acres and constructing a tool box from scratch.

“I never thought I could do something like that,” he said.

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