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Mancos kicks off summer with the start of Mancos Summer Hub

A teacher reads to students during Mancos Summer Hub. (Katie McClure/Courtesy photo)
The hub was created last year as a safe place for children to spend their summer

The end of school and the start of summer have ushered in another season of Mancos Summer Hub, which completed its first year in 2023.

The second year of the program is being met with great excitement, as organizers and staff alike are passionate about ensuring students have a safe place to spend their summer and that they aren’t home alone while their parents are at work.

Last year, the hub was started after organizers from Mancos United, in the community and the school district kept hearing concerns from parents about what their children would do while they worked during the summer.

The program is funded through a partnership with Mancos School District, the Colorado Department of Education, Mancos United and SCYC.

“One of the things we learned while listening to the community is that summers are really hard,” Mancos United Executive Director Katie McClure told The Journal. “We were able to work together as a community and had a really generous grant with the school district who had a grant from the Colorado Department of Education that allowed us to provide two full summers of this day camp.”

The question of, “Where can children go that is safe during the summer?” was exacerbated by two students suicides over consecutive summers a few years ago.

Children craft during Mancos Summer Hub. (Katie McClure/Courtesy photo)

“It’s Monday through Thursday for six weeks. It was designed to fill a gap for families with kids and parents who have to work,” McClure said. “We found out that a lot of families had adults who were going to either quit their job or spend a lot of time patching together different summer programs for their kids, or do really scary things like leave their kids home alone.”

Now, students from kindergarten to eighth grade can join the hub, an educational program that runs from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Children are not required to attend the entire time from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; parents can set hours that work for them and their work.

Additionally, the program provides teacher-certified staff for the course of the summer. McClure said it was important to them that Mancos Summer Hub staff were paid well.

“Our staff were all extremely satisfied according to a survey we did at the end of last year,” McClure said. They all came back this year. They felt very valued.”

When enrolled in Mancos Summer Hub, children participate in a variety of activities. (Katie McClure/Courtesy photo)
When enrolled in Mancos Summer Hub, children participate in a variety of activities. (Katie McClure/Courtesy photo)

McClure added that 100% of students who attended last year said they wanted to attend again.

Last year’s data showed that children who attended 20 days or more did better academically than their peers.

“We designed the programming to be trauma-informed and social, emotional and positive youth development,” McClure said. They had a lot of time for play and having fun, which we know helps regulate your brain. It gives more autonomy and independence and teaches decision making and how to solve problems as a group. We also had a quiet time where they would read to each other and read alone. They also went on a lot of field trips.”

The hub also encourages the enrollment of students with behavioral challenges.

“We not only allow, but we encourage and really try to bring in the kids who have behavioral challenges,” McClure said. “We know that those are the families that are probably struggling the most, so we have staff to accommodate that and to make sure those kids are supported.”

Right now, the program is full with a wait list, but McClure said families can join the wait list.

“We opened registration without any advertising at parent/teacher conferences and we sold out in 64 minutes, and we had 50 slots,” McClure said.

The hub added 10 spots, bringing the number of students participating to 60. Right now, the wait list contains about 17 families.

Because of the CDE grant the hub was free in 2023 and 2024. In 2025, the program will be without grant funding, leaving organizers planning on how to continue the program.

They plan to apply for grants and accept donations.

“We’re still encouraging people to get on the wait list, because when we apply for grant funding and things like that for future summers, we want to be able to put how many families we had on the wait list,” McClure said.

Mancos United is accepting donations. A summerlong sponsorship would be about $2,000.

“It is expensive, but here’s why,” McClure said. “We are unapologetic about paying our staff well and for having these really good ratios to encourage and make sure all kids are welcome and have their needs met.”

Donations are accepted at Mancos United’s website at https://mancosunited.org/.

To avoid fees, checks may be mailed to Mancos United at 355 W. Grand Ave., Mancos, CO 81328. In the comment section of the check, write “Mancos Summer Hub” or “summer hub.”