The Village Exchange Center Village Youth Club returns for a new year of fun learning and adventures with our community's youth. In spite of the pandemic, this program has been able to safely meet in person following our careful protocols. Our cohort of almost 20 youth has made excursions to Moorhead Recreation Center for swimming, local parks for outdoor fun, and the Denver Art Museum. We even hosted a very popular movie night at VEC to celebrate the holidays in December.
Austin and the youth team continue to partner with the City of Aurora Parks and Open Spaces and Generation Wild and we are planning both outdoor excursions and camps for spring and summer. We are especially excited for a filmmaking camp we are hosting on-site in March. The mini-camp will teach students filmmaking in partnership with the Neighborhood Music School. No matter what creative activity we are engaged in, the core of the program remains the students coming together to support each other and find outlets at our Center. Our partnerships and enthusiasm ensure that our youth continue to grow creatively, socially and academically.
Looking ahead to summer, the Village Youth are planning on working on the farm projects at our Village Farm at Stanley. Here, they will learn hands-on skills related to carpentry and agriculture as well as engage in sports and STEM activities. Additionally, they will have expanded opportunities to learn about filmmaking, theater, and even equestrian care at our partner, The Urban Farm in Denver.
VEC Youth Club continues to build its team of volunteers, working this spring with students at Regis Jesuit High School. With this support, the program grows its aims to offer academic support and mentoring throughout the week.
Students from our surrounding neighborhood in northwest Aurora attend this program Monday through Thursday afternoons from 3-6pm. Each afternoon we spend some of our time together offering academic support in reading and provide tutoring as well. We hope this fills in the gaps in online learning. Students attend local schools, including Crawford Elementary, North Middle School, Aurora West College Preparatory Academy, or Aurora Central. They continue to attend school on a hybrid schedule.
It's been a challenging time, but VEC continues to provide its neighborhood youth a fun, safe place to go each day. Here, they receive healthy snacks, play sports, spend time with their peers in person, and learn something new from mentors and coaches. Perhaps most importantly during this time of tremendous isolation and stress, our youth form part of a community of peers that are supportive and engaged with each other.