A bit of history....
The Athens Youth Council was formed in 1950 by a group of six dedicated men with a vision, interested in promoting activities for the
betterment of youth in the Athens school area. These founding fathers were Frank Bauer, Frank Kelly, Millard (Doc) Pugh, Les Snyder, Tom Thomlinson and Elgin Williams.
A twelve member citizen board now governs the Athens Youth Council and implements the by-laws of the council. The purpose of the Athens Youth Council is to promote youth activities and provide funding as needed. Funds are generated for use by the Athens Youth Council through the annual processing and selling of Maple Syrup.
The first entry on the books was made March 3, 1950, borrowing $650 from the Athens Community Association. The purchase of an evaporator and a few supplies were made. A building was erected behind Pontoni’s Locker Plant and we were in business. The first organizational meeting of the Board of Directors of the Athens Youth Council was held on Sunday, March 19, 1950.
In 1951 we purchased the site of the old stockyards from L.E. Outman and moved the Sap Shanty to the location where it stands now.
In 1952 the bottling room was added.
We purchased the John Deere H for $300 from Austin (Sam) Converse (Rowene Snyder’s Father) and a 1946 John Deere Series B tractor was purchased for $400. Good maintenance has helped us to keep the tractors running today!
Around 1966 we made a big switch from wood to gas. Consumers Electric helped us to accomplish this big task, it was new to everyone. It was a success and no more wood needed to be cut and the gas ended up being more efficient.
A bit of history....
In 1968-69 the current building was built: it is a 21’ x 42’pole building with a cement floor, gas furnace, hot water heater, kitchen area and bathroom. A 24’ x 36’ addition was added to house two Jon Deere tractors and wagons.
Prior to having disposable bags to hang on the trees, we use to wash out the old sap bags and let them air dry on clothes lines, everyone was excited when we were able to purchase disposable bags!
Before we purchased bottles, the local community would help us by keeping all kinds of glass bottles to use for production. The local restaurants and bar would keep the glass bottles and then as a fund raiser, the band members from the school would wash out all of the glass bottles so we could use them for production.
In May 1984, the Athens Youth Council was awarded the Community Achievement Award for the State of Michigan by the Greater Michigan Foundation. The Community Achievement Award is given annually during Michigan Week to a city or village group that has worked to bring about an improvement or benefit to its community.
In 1988 a 24’ x 36’ addition was added to house two John Deere tractors and wagons.
In 1990 we were the recipient of a $5000 Grant from the Federal Government to reduce full costs and increase productivity. So the Evaporator was replaced and a Piggyback Unit was implemented to speed up the process (total cost $6,500).
In 2008 we purchased a new trailer and tank and custom built the new sap wagon- all for only $5000. The wagon turned out awesome!
In 2009 we replaced the Steam Away and Evaporator Units costing approximately $12,000.