Salvation Army’s new leadership

Capt. Senior hopes to expand on programs


GLOVERSVILLE — After a busy summer in her new post, Capt. Wendy Senior of the Salvation Army of Fulton County said she’s looking forward to getting to know the community better as she seeks to maintain or expand programming over the next year.

“The people are lovely, it’s a beautiful area and I’ve enjoyed traveling around getting to know the region and neighbors. I’ve met a lot of kind people who work hard here, a lot of members of the church have come alongside me to help and that’s great,” Senior said talking at the Salvation Army building at 10 Spring St. at the end of August.

Senior was installed at the Salvation Army on July 1 following the departure of Lt. Mark Devanney and Capt. Ann Marie Devanney at the end of June when they received their new assignment in Ogdensburgh after serving in the city for nearly three years.

Soon after her installation, Senior found herself occupied wrangling the city’s youth during the Salvation Army’s five week summer day camp for kindergarten through students entering sixth-grade that ran from July 9 through Aug. 11.

“It was pretty good. We had 30 children in a small building and kept them successfully engaged, learning and having fun,” Senior said.

“This was not my first day camp,” she added.

Senior has been with the Salvation Army for about 25 years, working mostly in the western part of the state. Her most recent assignment was in Oswego.

“I sort of grew into the business,” Senior joked, saying her parents were Salvation Army officers. “Every town brings its own unique flavor. There’s a lot of history in Gloversville and Johnstown and I’m eager to learn.”

Senior would know about the uniqueness of various locations having worked abroad as a missionary for several years in places like Spain, Brazil, the Canary Islands and Mexico City where she focused on providing children’s services, youth retreats and vacation Bible school.

Wherever she finds herself, Senior said her focus is always on meeting the needs of the community.

“I want to work myself out of a job,” she said. “It’s an interesting paradox, I’m always trying to work myself out of business so the services are no longer needed.”

Since coming to the city, Senior has been tracking the use of the Salvation Army’s food pantry and soup kitchen, saying that based on the records preceding her arrival, their use has been increasing month over month.

“Either we’re doing a good job and people are spreading the word or there’s that much need,” she said.

She said she plans to continue tracking local use over the next year to see how well the programs are meeting local needs, while concentrating on ensuring the programs comply with state regulations. She also recently submitted a grant application requesting funding to renovate the food pantry space.

Senior will take a similar approach to the after-school program for kindergarten through fifth-grade students and the summer day camp, saying she plans to continue both programs, hoping to expand both through state certification.

Senior said certification wouldn’t cause the two youth programs to change, rather they would be subject to increased oversight to ensure continued safety for enrolled children and the programs might attract broader participation from parents looking for state-certified programs.

The certification could potentially allow the Salvation Army to receive additional federal funding for the programs for child care assistance, as well.

Senior added that the Salvation Army will continue providing families with food and toy donations again this holiday season, assuring local residents that moving forward she plans to pick up where the Devanneys left off.

“We don’t cut services, we always continue programs from the previous administration. My goal, if anything, is to actually look at expanding programs,” Senior said. “Every program can always be improved on.”