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I attended the open house for the proposed rec center with some students from our Ready to Work/Circles program last week so the students could get a prospective on what their community was facing in the upcoming election. It was well attended by the time we arrived and the students were greeted by other classmates already in attendance. As Director of the Pagosa Springs Youth Center (PSYC) it was encouraging to hear some of their comments.
From my prospective the rec center is another opportunity to give our community youth additional healthy choices for after school or summer time. I see the potential for great collaboration on youth programs between us and the proposed rec center’s staff. The PSYC has had as many as 100 students stop in after school on Fridays and for the past several years has served approximately 75 families in our summer camp for our 5-12 year olds. We once took our summer campers to the Durango Rec Center for an all-day field trip and the cost was $3 per camper to get in and $450 for transportation. We use the river when the flow is manageable for our young kids but it costs $5 per camper to use our local resources downtown.
The Pagosa Springs Youth Center is supported only by grants and dozens of private donations, which are solely used just to keep the doors open and our programs running. The Director is an unpaid position. It would be a great if our programs could be offered at a rec center so that we could put all of our funding against programming rather than having to divert some to cover our increasingly expensive maintenance and utility bills.
We started the PSYC five years ago because services for our youth, especially teens, wasn’t adequately supported by our town or county. Over those five years, we have continually tried to increase our program offerings, working closely with other organizations such as Victims’ Assistance, the Archuleta School District and the United Methodist Church. With limited funding, it’s been difficult. From my perspective, the Rec Center would allow our community’s youth even more opportunities. Our kids are worth every penny we spend to keep them safe and healthy.
Please vote yes on the rec center … I have kids waiting.