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Family Matters

YMCA and Keyano College: Partnering in Child Care

May 1st, 2015

Photos by Sean McLennan

By Fort McMurray’s Child staff writer

The YMCA was started back in 1844 as an organization that would ‘empower the youth of today by developing a healthy mind, body and spirit’. The way it does that is different from country to country, as the charter that holds all the ‘Y’s’ together allows for programming that fits the local community’s needs. In Fort McMurray, unsurprisingly, the YMCA focuses on health and fitness, community programs, immigrant services and child care needs. And that’s why they are coming to Keyano College.

“A new child care centre operated by the YMCA will be opening at Syncrude Sports and Wellness centre.” That was the first sentence of the announcement of the facility, and it is a partnership that makes a lot of sense. Having a care centre at the College helps students and staff, while a bigger and new downtown operation adds to the services that the YMCA already provide in Timberlea and Thickwood as well as the out-of-school programs they have at five public schools in the community.

Fort McMurray is a town that operates at a fast pace. Many businesses run 24 hours a day every day of the year, and shifts are long and irregular. It’s also a town where both parents often have jobs, so dependable day care is very important. The YMCA offers care for children that is backed by a reputation 150 years in the making. The staff are professional and flexible enough to cover any and all eventualities and they are all licensed and accredited. They all have an Early Childhood Education Diploma or equivalent, participate in child development training, have CPR and First Aid certificates, and have cleared a thorough criminal police check as well as a vulnerable sector check.

“We believe in offering a safe, welcoming and positive environment for the children,” said Jim Weller, the Regional Vice President of the YMCA of Wood Buffalo. In addition the YMCA program follows a ‘Play to Learn’ philosophy. The children are provided with opportunities to enhance all developmental areas through a variety of play centres. The staff develop these centres and continually add materials and equipment to extend and enhance this play to learn aspect.

“This collaboration between the YMCA and Keyano is an extension of our continued involvement with the community,” said Patricia Scantlebury, the Director of Planning, Procurement and Property Management at the College. “Having the child care centre here is good for the college, good for the YMCA, and good for the community.”

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