MAPLETON – Up until recently, Mapleton parents have often had to travel outside of the municipality in order to get child and youth programming for their children due to a lack of childcare services and programming within the municipality.
“We don’t have a lot of childcare services in northern Wellington County,” said Amy Grose, the township's recreation manager.
“So, when the township formed a recreation department in March 2021 for the sole purpose of creating local programs and activities for Mapleton residents, we decided to focus on childcare services, camps, and programming as those were heavily in demand.”
Earlier this year, the township’s recreation department created after school programming and summer camp program for children in junior kindergarten to Grade 6.
Following on the success of those programs, the department recently developed a PD day or non-instructional day program that followed the same guidelines as their summer camp program.
“With the success of the summer camp program and the after school program, the department started looking at other camp options for Mapleton. Numerous parents and caregivers had begun to ask if we would offer camp during non-instructional days such as PD Days, Christmas Break and March Break,” said Grose.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, Grose reported that the November PD day and Christmas Break is already at 80 per cent enrolment. The program cost is $35 per day.
“A lot of parents in the township work and many of them rely on these kinds of programs especially on days where their kids don’t have school. It definitely alleviates the stress of finding a sitter or where to bring their kids when they have to leave their homes for work.”
Grose noted that many parents are no longer working from home as COVID restrictions have eased and many workplaces are asking their employees to return to the office.
Candace Matthews, a French teacher at Orangeville District Secondary School and a Mapleton resident, noted that having a busy work schedule makes it difficult to juggle the time to pick her children up from school, or find ways to keep them busy and safe during PD days.
“I’m currently on maternity leave but I know how difficult it is to get out of work right on time to be able to get to your child’s school before the day ends, so you can pick them up,” said Matthews.
“This new programming the township is finally offering is great because it’s something that parents can just walk their kids to and not necessarily drive out of town.
We’re a little bit of a drive from the city, so it’s nice to have something local to bring your kids to for days they don’t have school or for after school activities.”
Other residents such as Travis Kell explained that his family always had to drive out to Guelph for sports activities and other childcare services, but having a local program has helped him a lot.
“We used the summer camp program and will be using the non-instructional day program as well for the Nov. 26 PD day, and I must say it has been a lot easier for us to be able to just drop my kids off and it’s only a five minute drive,” said Kell.
Angelica Babiera, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com