The staff and youth at Hillside’s Snell Farm Campus have resumed an annual tradition: producing Grade-A maple syrup from the 1,400 maple trees that populate the 170-acre campus in Bath, NY.

Each year, Snell Farm staff and youth in residential treatment work together to tap the trees, collect the sap, and bring it to the on-campus “sugar shack” where the syrup is produced and bottled—sold each year to raise funds for Hillside programs.

Therapy for youth at Snell Farm often includes helping out with chores related to syrup-making and other farm-related tasks, and a new apprenticeship program provides another sweet benefit for two to three teens each year—helping them build work-readiness skills as they prepare for adulthood.

“They learn everything about making the syrup, and also other skills,” said Darlene Apgar, Recreation & Vocational Manager. “They discover the responsibility of coming to a job, and the satisfaction of seeing what hard work can accomplish.”

Innovative apprenticeships like this have been developed at most Hillside campuses. Youth work closely with a staff mentor, usually for four to six months as part of an individualized treatment plan.

To order syrup for your family or as a gift, contact Darlene Apgar at 607-329-7933.

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