One of the better kept secrets up at the Creston and District Community Complex for some obscure reason is our child-minding service facilitated by our own kinder-director extraordinaire, Susan Duske. I’ll tell you, every time I walk by the Sunshine Room, where Susan watches her charges while the parent participates in a fitness or aquatic class, those kids are smiling and having a grand time and I’m sure the hour or so they are there flies by. You can always tell what the fun quotient is when the parents come and pick up the kids and they don’t necessarily want to leave.
I still have some child care-age memories of being dropped off in some dingy side room in an Edmonton bowling alley where mom was obviously part of a league or something and while I remember the child minding lady listening to a morning talk show, I can almost visualize her in curlers chain-smoking Belvederes while I scrawled “Help Me!” in lipstick on the bathroom mirror. In all likelihood, that last part was the result of an overactive imagination of an 18-year-old — sorry, I mean five-year-old — but rest assured those days are gone or at least certainly are when you leave your children with us. Upbeat, well lit and safe pretty much describes the Sunshine Room, which is also used for birthday parties and small gatherings.
So, can I park my child here and go window shopping with the girls in Elk River? Unfortunately not; the requirement is that you are in the building, most likely taking a Zumba, dance or aquafit class to a maximum of two hours while junior, who is 18 months to six years old, has a great time with Susan. Maybe you have to attend a meeting here or just want a soak in the hot tub or have a physio appointment — there is a lot going on at the complex and we want to make it that much easier for you to partake.
We are also tweaking our hours — based on demand, we offer child-minding Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9 a.m. and noon, but June 12 to Sept. 13, Tuesdays will change to try an evening time of 4:45-7:45 p.m. to accommodate some cool programs happening. So, when you pick up your newly minted Summer Leisure Guide or go online at www.rdck.bc.ca/creston, you will discover what those cool programs are.
Developing the child-minding service is a moving target; we have to co-ordinate what programs and demographic we are targeting at the time they would be able to attend (not when they are driving siblings to school or fixing dinners), as well as continuously polling who wants what when and whether it is workable. It’s similar to how we start and end some programs to accommodate the arrival and departure of the transit bus. Society has changed as well over the years — families are smaller and the world can appear a bit scarier to some, so parents have a tendency to shorten the apron strings. Being the fourth of four kids, I was lucky if they remembered to load me in the seatbelt-less car when they went on vacation, but those days are gone and it’s understandable if most parents are a little more wary about their surroundings.
We are pretty comfortable with our surroundings and invite you to drop by and check them out or get more information — in fact, during the summer; we’ll even give you a free pass to try out child-minding once while you check out the rest of the place. As Humphrey Bogart said in Casablanca, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” The fact that if you have kids of the child-minding age, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about, well…
Neil Ostafichuk is the recreation supervisor at the Creston and District Community Complex.