The HUB is back, and so is its annual salmon dinner.
With 19 salmon cooked under a sauce of mayonnaise, garlic and dill, more than 150 people visited the Langley United Methodist church to support the HUB, South Whidbey’s youth hangout. In total, the fundraiser brought in $2,000.
“The attendees were taken care of,” said Hank Hall, the HUB’s executive director. “The moment they walked in, the kids just coddled them.”
A handful of teenagers ushered guests to tables and served them plates with salmon furnished by Dave Anderson and Butch Doty, coleslaw donated by The Braeburn and baked potatoes from Neil’s Clover Patch.
“It was really great to see these kids step up, guide people to their tables and carry their plates for them,” Hall said.
In the church’s kitchen, near where the HUB is housed in the basement, Bruce Allen took a break as Langley City councilman and took over as the executive chef. He arrived four hours before the dinner began to prep and cook. As a board member for the HUB before it closed in 2011 and now as it thrives, Allen saw the tradition of the dinner fade away and return.
“This is a revitalization of the program,” Allen said.
The HUB has plans to open four days a week starting Feb. 1. Operating five days a week next school year, at a cost of $36,000 annually, is the HUB’s main goal.
“We’re never going to reach the place where we’re done; the goal is to keep the HUB open,” Allen said.
Being open consistently is an emphasis for the HUB’s leaders. If they tell kids they will be open four days a week, then that’s a promise Hall, Allen, program manager Frankie Petitclerc and the HUB board members plan to keep.
“These kids come to count on us being open,” Hall said.
Wariness to overextend has kept the HUB’s leaders from promising too much, too soon. The money has existed for the youth hangout — with a huge TV, Xbox 360, pool table, table tennis and air hockey — to be open more than its three days per week, as it has since September.
“We’re being pretty conservative about this,” Hall said.
The HUB is seeking a new board member. There was a vacancy after Terri Arnold left South Whidbey for a parks and recreation job in Maine.
Even as the HUB raised funds for next year, its leadership eyed expansion. Adding programs for youth development and mentorship were in early development by HUB leaders.
“We think the HUB is going to be more than it’s ever been,” Hall said.
“We see a lot of potential to impact youth in other ways in our South End community.”