Kids Go To Summer Camp Free

May 30, 2023

Team UP, a collective impact initiative of United Way Southwest Colorado, brings together other organizations to create positive change for youth in Montezuma, Dolores, and La Plata counties. Their newest projects include a scholarship program for summer camps, mental health vouchers for youth, and an app that acts as a hub for early childhood resources. By Ilana Newman. This story is sponsored by the Lor Foundation and Keesee Motors

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Team Up, a program under United Way of Southwest Colorado has started a scholarship program for kids in La Plata County who otherwise would not be able to attend summer camp. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by the Lor Foundation and Keesee Motors. I'm Connor Shreve.

Team Up is a collective impact initiative across Southwest Colorado. What that means is that different individuals and organizations are taking time to step up and work collaboratively with each other to address change and affect change in our community. So everyone is kind of giving something up to come to the table and make things work at a larger level across the community. Everyone is stepping up to share responsibility of change across our community in these different areas that we work within, like mental and behavioral health for youth and food insecurity for families across our communities and child maltreatment prevention for all children across our communities, trying to expand the number of childcare slots so that our families can have a place to send their kids, or they can access quality early childcare.

Team Up's goal is to bring people and organizations together to help children in La Plata, Dolores and Montezuma counties thrive from cradle to career.

So we have a wide variety of organizations that we work with. I don't have the exact number. I think we work with over 50 organizations across the southwest region, and we work with nonprofits, the county, public health departments, schools, youth-serving organizations, businesses, chambers of commerce. We really work with anyone and everyone who's willing to and wanting to step up to work together to help youth, children and families in our communities.

They have several different working groups that all focus on different issues in the community, from food insecurity to child maltreatment. The scholarship is in partnership with other La Plata based nonprofits like the Boys & Girls Club.

We have 10 participating organizations. I know that more wanted to be involved, and we want more organizations to be able to offer more slots for scholarship applicants, specifically for new families that haven't participated in their programs before. And from families, we've heard that it's been the first summer that some of their kids have been able to participate in summer camp, which is incredible to hear, and we want that possibility to be open to every kid across the county, across the southwest region.

Other recent Team Up projects include mental health vouchers for youth in Dove Creek, and an app that acts as both a hub for early childhood resources and provides rewards for completing tasks. Team Up also hopes to expand their scholarship program in the future.

We hopefully could see it expanding to Montezuma, Dolores Counties, Archuletta, other surrounding counties in our southwest region. If different organizations are interested in getting involved, they can reach out. Additionally, if families are seeing cost as a barrier to accessing services, reach out and let us know that so that we can continue to apply for funding to receive grant funding to expand this scholarship fund. This funding has come from the American Rescue Plan Act and the county so that we were able to implement the scholarship program across the county for families, just in La Plata County this summer and hopefully next summer if more counties are willing to step in and more communities are willing to step up and work together to make a community-wide scholarship possible, then we can come together and use what we've learned this year to make it bigger and better next year.

If you'd like to apply for a scholarship or help Team Up to create programs like this, go to their website to apply for available scholarships and let them know if similar scholarship programs are wanted in other areas they serve like Montezuma County. Thank you for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Connor Shreve.


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