Spring 1998 – Local teens approach community leaders regarding offering services, supports and opportunities to keep safe and entertained during their out of school time.  The American Red Cross partners with the community to research the possibilities.  Staff is hired and grants are applied for to operate the program.

Summer 1998 – The Battle of the Bands at Lonergan Park in North Syracuse draws over 100 youth and Open Mic nights are held at the local community center.  Work begins to transform a vacant store front at MarketPlace Mall in Cicero into a teen center.

January 1999 - The Grand Opening of the Northeast Youth Initiative Teen Center at MarketPlace Mall.  A Safe Places To learn and Play Grant for $50,000 a year for three years is awarded to the CanTeen through the Onondaga County Youth Bureau and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.

September 2001 – The Teen Center has to move due to the demolition of the mall.  It is temporarily located at the North Syracuse Community Center.  Meanwhile discussions are being held to find a new program sponsor and lead agency for funding.  The Safe Places To Learn and Play Grant is written, but response is delayed due to the NYC 911 incident.

December 2001 -  A 3-year grant totaling $200,000 is awarded to the teen program from Congressman Walsh through the NSCSD. 

January 2002 – The change in lead agency happens as of January 1st and the Town of Cicero takes over the program administration.  A new location needs to be found.  A number of locations are explored with Cicero Senior Center and William Park Recreation Building become alternate sites.  Funding streams needed to be bolstered. 

–  Cicero Youth Bureau is formed with neighboring partners; Towns of Cicero, Clay, Salina and the Village of North Syracuse.  Those partners, in concert with a wide variety of representation from across all sectors also form a community youth board to specifically look at programs offered for youth.  The Cicero Youth Board begins meeting monthly, rotating meeting locations to each municipality as well as The North Syracuse Central School District.

April 2002 – The program signed a lease and settled into its third home located next to the Cicero North Syracuse High School in New Country Plaza in Cicero.  Busing begins to be offered through the North Syracuse Central School District for teens to the center from the Junior High School and home for all interested participants.  The teen center officially changes its name to The CanTeen.  Due to our proximity to the high school we reached record numbers of youth attending on a daily basis.

February 2004 – Because of the generosity of the community, The CanTeen needs to create a conduit to accept donations.  The Friends of the CanTeen 501c3 tax exempt organization is formed.  Their sole mission is to raise funds to operate the teen center.

May 2004 -A grant from the NYS Assembly funds a 12 passenger van to transport youth on various outings.

September 2004 – The Cicero Youth Board changes its name to better reflect all of the parties involved in the CanTeen.  They are officially named the Greater Cicero Community Youth Board.

September 2006 – We are again uprooted as our lease is not extended and we relocate for the fourth time 2.5 miles from the high school at 8837 Brewerton Rd.  The renovation to the new facility is done by volunteers; new wiring, lights, walls are removed and a fresh coat of paint applied. 

September 2008 – A local property owner near the high school offered their property for sale to us for a permanent home for the CanTeen.  A meeting to move forward with a major fundraising effort for this permanent home is approved by all interested parties.

October 2008 – The nations economic down turn affects all the funding sources for the program and a potential closure looms on the horizon.  The permanent home idea is abandoned for a massive fundraising effort to keep our doors open. 

January 2009 – The program celebrates 10 years of offering programs to teens in the North Syracuse Central School District community.  A large contingent of past participants attended and shared their personal stories with us.

February 2009 - The Friends of the CanTeen group steps up and plans a “Raise the Rent” auction for May.  The CanTeen cut back on spending and the only funds being spent are for the staff, the building and minimal program supplies. A major effort to speak to our local, county and state representatives takes place to make them aware of our potential closure without funding.

May 2009 – Raise the Rent auction nets $15,000. The state funding streams are slowly being rejuvenated, although cuts are made to each stream.

January 2010 – Led by Assemblyman Al Stirpe, steps are taken to secure funding to purchase a permanent "home" on the perimeter of the CNS High School complex.

August 2010 – Inaugural Gus Macker Basketball Tournament nets the Friends of the CanTeen over $20,000.

May 27, 2011 – Purchased 6046 State Route 31 in Cicero, New York as our permanent "HOME"!

June 2011 – Extreme Home Makeover CanTeen Style begins.

August 2011 –The CanTeen takes up temporary residence in the Country Max Plaza once again!

November 2011 –CanTeen moves out of the plaza and takes the program on the road.

March 14, 2012 –The CanTeen is open for business at 6046 Route 31.

April 22, 2012 –Grand Opening

January 2014 –The CanTeen/Town of Cicero enters into an agreement with Contact Community Services to provide staffing and programming opportunities.

August 2014 – The Friends of the CanTeen Gus Macker Basketball Tournament surpasses the $100,000 fundraising mark.


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