In the late 70’s, tragedy struck our community when four Niskayuna High School students committed suicide. Although unrelated, these events provided the trigger for a Niskayuna High School health teacher to take action by encouraging the Niskayuna School District to conduct a mental health needs assessment.
Two very important findings resulted from that assessment. First, a vehicle was needed to develop and deliver programs, forums, workshops and prevention programs to the community. Second, there was no “link” outside of the schools and nothing to identify all of us as a unified community… we were all just a group of neighborhoods connected by the school district. Interested community members divided into two groups to seek out ways to address these two findings.
Both groups spoke with neighboring communities to see how they dealt with similar issues. The first group met with CAPTAIN of Clifton Park and were impressed with what they saw. As a result, the Niskayuna version of Captain, the Niskayuna Community Action Program N-CAP, was formed to deliver needed programs to the community.
In an attempt to bring everyone together in a festive atmosphere and create a stronger sense of community, the second group modeled a community day after an event and parade held by the Village of Alplaus. The first Niska-Day celebration to bring our neighborhoods together was held in May of 1982.
35 years later, N-CAP is still fulfilling its mission to improve the quality of life in Niskayuna and Niska-Day has grown and become one of the longest continually running community celebrations in the Capital District.