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Free childcare offered at Middlebury town meeting

ADISON COUNTY — Providing childcare at town meeting was always something the folks at Middlebury Area Land Trust wanted to do, but they just didn’t have the capacity — until now. This year, according to programs coordinator Caleb Basa, the organization finally has enough staff (two full-time educators and person in an AmeriCorps position) to pull it off.
“Recently we’ve seen a big surge of connection with the Middlebury community,” Basa said. “We feel really supported, and we want to give back.”
MALT hopes “to encourage citizens of Middlebury to connect with each other, to become civically engaged,” added Basa. “MALT is an organization that survives and thrives based off of how engaged the community is.”
Parents shouldn’t have to skip town meeting just because they can’t get a sitter.
To that end, MALT is offering free childcare for kids in kindergarten through 4th grade during Middlebury’s town meeting, which is next Monday, March 2, 7 p.m. at Middlebury Union High School. Three MALT educators will lead games, crafts and storytelling activities in the cafeteria from 6:30-9:30 p.m.
What are other towns doing to encourage young families to attend town meeting?
In Salisbury, longtime resident Heidi Willis has worked with a small group — known as the “Champions of Town Meeting” — to provide childcare during that town’s meeting since 2017. Last year the group awarded door prizes to people who stay until the end of the meeting and also hosted a community potluck afterwards. Salisbury meets Saturday afternoon.
Last year in Starksboro, volunteers provided childcare — they will again this year on Saturday a 9 a.m. — and first-time meeting-goers were given little jugs of maple syrup.
This year volunteers in Shoreham will also offer free childcare at their Monday evening town meeting; no registration required.
For more information or to register for the MALT childcare in Middlebury, email [email protected]. Registration is required and space is limited.

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