Good morning everyone! Thank you for coming to the 33rd Annual General Meeting of our society.
Yes, for 33 years now we have been providing social, educational and recreational opportunities for the young people of Pincher Creek and area. Today we will be looking back over the past year – and also looking forward to the months ahead of us.
Over 2019 we recorded a total of 151 individual young people coming through the doors of our Centre.
The “high” attendance for one day was 24 individuals. There was the odd winter day when we only saw 3 or 4 kids battling ice, snow and/or wind to get to the Drop-In. The total number of visits recorded over the year was 2,915.
Throughout 2019, a core group, who we called our “regulars”, attended Group Group Youth (GGY) programming at least 3 days per week. This group consisted of about 25 youngsters and was somewhat fluid over the 12 months. Members of this group would sometimes come to the Centre after school and stay until closing. Others would stay for an hour or two. However, it would probably not be an overstatement to say the length of the average visit was about 3.5 hours. Our centre certainly provided many hours of service to local kids throughout the past year.
As in 2018, the number of young males attending GGY programming came to 57%. First Nations youngsters made up 32.5% this past year, down from 40% during 2018. The largest percentage of youngsters attending continued to be between the ages of 9 and 14.
Our regular, weekly scheduled programming included Kid’s Kitchen, Creations – arts, crafts, Gym & Field, Healthy Living, Youth Volunteer and Jr. Staff in combination with Career and Employment Opportunities. Kid’s Kitchen captivated the most participants with 1,199 documented occasions when someone ate a healthy, homemade snack or meal at Centre. On 673 of those occasions one of the kids took part in preparing this food.
Special projects included our GGY Shutter Bugs, Peace Cranes, our Sponsored Child, Community Safety Net safety books, RCMP Liaison Officer Project and our Raised Garden Beds.
Our “GGY Shutter Bugs” enjoyed our photography outings over the warmer months of the year. Several youngsters entered on-line photography contests with their photos. Helena had her photo entered into the Reader’s Digest on-line “Our Canada” newsletter contest. There was great excitement here when we realized her photo had been selected, for the month of August, along with 19 others from across Canada.
Through Living Peace International we joined the Peace Crane exchange project. Our group created an impressive collection of origami cranes, peace messages inscribed, to send to a school in Greece and to Pike’s Peak Library in Colorado Springs. We received a very special package back from the students in Greece!
Our new sponsored child, who lives in Nicaragua, is now six years old. Just over a dollar a day from our “in-house” concession goes to ensure the youngster receives the necessities of life. We send him cards and pictures although he’s a little young to write back to us yet.
Our Garden Project was one of the highlights of 2019. With our four new, raised beds we were able to grow an amazing array of vegetables, berries – and even a few flowers. Our garden project certainly enriched our Kid’s Kitchen and Healthy Living programs!
In regard to funding for 2019, it was Pincher Creek and District Community Support Services (FCSS) which provided the bulk of our operating dollars. FCSS support is vital to the on-going operation of our Drop-In Centre. FCSS has been supporting us since “day one”. A Community Initiatives Program grant, this year, provided additional help when it came to staff remuneration. CIP funding assistance will carry on through 2020.
We were all very grateful to receive a $2,700 grant from the President’s Choice Children’s Charity for our Kid’s Kitchen program. The extra dollars meant we could focus more on healthy food and less on our budget. That assistance was greatly appreciated! Shell Canada has been very supportive to us through the years. For 2019, it provided $2,000 towards having some pretty impressive fencing put up along the sides of our property. Under the Canada Summer Jobs program we received funding from the Federal Government to hire a summer worker for eight weeks. Having extra help over the summer months is crucial.
Throughout 2019, various private individuals, local service clubs and businesses made cash donations or donations in-kind. This was all much appreciated and a tremendous help in providing programming for the kids.
Jessica Mrazek worked as part-time contract staff to assist with programming until April. She left us then to further her career as a conservation officer. (We still miss her!) Charmaine Provost filled our Canada Summer Jobs position during July and August. (Charmaine had been a GGY youth member back when she was only six or seven years old.) Irvin Provost, a previous Summer Jobs worker, came back for several weeks as a volunteer. Helena Bruder, a Matthew Halton grade 12 student, began working a short-shift three evenings per week in July. Helena is still with us. It has been awesome to have her help with programs and activities.
In looking back over the past year, I feel very appreciative of all the interest, support and encouragement we received from our staff, volunteers and from those providing assistance of all kinds. I would like to thank my Board of Directors for all the time and commitment they have given. It’s hard to put into words just how important it has been to have their support and input through the annual highs and lows of a non-profit organization!
We are now well into our new year. I’m finishing off year-end reports for 2019, working on funding applications for upcoming projects. One of our goals for 2020 is to have flooring put in our Front Room and Teen Room. That will be a major operation. Our application for a summer program worker has gone in already. Our Casino Event has been scheduled for June 25 and 26. It looks like we will be busy again. Keep in touch to hear more as the months fly by.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!