History of Neck of the Woods
Neck Of the Woods (NOW) started in 2012 as Moretown Education Center for All (MECA), a childcare, after school program and summer camp based in the Moretown Elementary School. MECA started with twenty-five preschool and school age children, and grew over eight years to accommodate fifty-six preschoolers and ninety-five school age children by 2019 with summer camp serving one hundred and fifty children. As the program grew, it became time to expand to a space where creating more opportunities was possible for more families in a larger setting.
When the coronavirus pandemic upended everyone’s lives MECA became Neck Of the Woods, a non profit child care organization. Neck of the Woods was able to provide safe summer programming for families during the start of the pandemic and in doing so, ensured parents would have child care support by continuing to provide children with opportunities for social, emotional and developmental growth in a safe environment. Neck of the Woods partnered with the Mad River Valley Community Fund to work together to reach local families in need of support and enrolled 120 children ages 3-12 in summer camp programming across the Valley including the former Small Dog building adjacent to the Mad River in Waitsfield. Since that time, NOW has purchased the property and begun work to upgrade the campus, including the main building, a warehouse, and the surrounding 11 acres of land complete with trails and a large solar array that will eventually provide for all energy needs at NOW.
Neck Of the Woods currently houses programs for infants through preschool, an after-school enrichment program, youth leadership opportunities, and summer camp programming for infant through middle schoolers. The Neck Of the Woods building capacity is currently 59 people with a goal of raising it to 75 in Spring of 2022. The future will include training and support groups for parents and families, teen programs, collaborations with local mental health and education service providers, as well as classes for community members.