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Lawson Lake hosts county’s first-ever Recovery Picnic

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

A team from the Center for Family Life and Recovery traveled from Utica to share information at Albany County’s inaugural Recovery Picnic at Lawson Lake. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

COEYMANS HOLLOW — Lawson Lake on Saturday hosted Albany County’s first-ever Recovery Picnic.

The event, the first of its kind in the area, was aimed at giving families in recovery a fun day out in nature and to show they have support, said organizer Brian McCoy from the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.

“We are here at Lawson Lake for our first-ever Recovery Day, whether it’s addictions, mental health or the sex crimes unit,” McCoy said. “Our thoughts were that we get together here with the people who are going through it and with their children, but also with the workers and their families, so they can have a good day. This is the first one and we are kicking it off here at Lawson Lake.”

Families enjoyed hamburgers and hot dogs cooked up by the non-profit organization Second Chance Opportunities, which collaborated with the county to put on the event.

The Albany County Sheriff’s Office was on hand with its rock wall and there were other activities like a fishing clinic, kayaking lessons, games and music.

Vendors and county departments specializing in health, mental health and addiction recovery also attended, handing out information and showing support for those living in recovery or seeking to do so.

“This is a safe zone — no matter what your background is, we don’t care,” McCoy said. “We want people to come here and feel safe and enjoy the outdoors.”

A team from the Center for Family Life and Recovery traveled all the way from Utica to share their services after they were invited by the county, said Recovery Coordinator Katie Burns. She said people living with addiction can find help to overcome their challenges.

“When there’s help, there’s hope,” Burns said. “Our entire team has been in recovery ourselves, so we help our clients with our lived experience and maybe help them on their journey to recovery as well. That’s what we specialize in.”

King McElvy, business development director at Fusion Recovery in Menands, said his organization is an outpatient individual and group therapy treatment center. He urged people not to start using drugs but if they do, there is always help available.

King McElvy, business development director at Fusion Recovery, shared information about how his organization can help those living in or seeking recovery from substance abuse. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media

“Don’t use. If they don’t use, they don’t have to stop,” McElvy said. “If they already started, there are different ways that they can stop — they can ask someone to help them, they can go to rehab, they can go to detox. It’s about making up their mind that they can stop, and then we can help them.”

The county and the sheriff’s office began renovating Lawson Lake, on the border of Coeymans Hollow and Feura Bush, about 12 years ago, and the site now hosts various events throughout the year. The county is looking to expand the lake’s use for things like retreats for various groups, McCoy said. He is hoping to build off the inaugural recovery picnic for more events in the future.

For the individuals and families that attended Saturday’s picnic, he had a message.

“They are all loved,” McCoy said. “Their struggles are everybody’s struggles. We are here working together in collaboration. Together, we can get through anything.”

The Albany County Sheriff’s Office brought its rock wall to the recovery picnic at Lawson Lake on Saturday. Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media
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