Prairie Post (West Edition)
FCSS: Rural areas depend on partnerships, such as Picture Butte
Partnerships are crucial in rural communities.
In areas where resources and manpower may not be as plentiful as they are in the city, organizations need to come together to create valuable opportunities for residents.
That’s exactly what Family and Community Support Services, the Family Ties Association and the Town of Picture Butte have done this summer.
The three-pronged partnership has helped Family Ties plan a five-day camp for youth between the ages of 8-11. From July 25-29, youngsters will have the opportunity to partake in some fun and games, with a goal to develop some valuable skills along the way.
“We like to have our camps include hands-on experiences where kiddos get outside and in the sunshine as much as possible,” said Darcy Nalder of Family Ties, who added two workers will help staff the 10 children signed up for the camp. “The aim is just to get kids in a good social situation where they have good leadership and they have mentors that can help them learn how to do new things and have new experiences.”
Nalder added the rural summer camps Family Ties hosts are specifically designed for children who might not be able to afford a summer camp, or who may have certain medical diagnosis that could prevent them from participating otherwise.
“It’s been very well received,” she said of the past Family Ties camps, thanks to the Town of Picture Butte and FCSS. “We offered the workers to do the camps and FCSS has provided the space to the able to use the gym. We wouldn’t be able to do the camp ourselves, because we don’t have the required spaces out there in the rural communities.”
Kaitlynn Weaver, Outreach Services Supervisor for FCSS, added the partnership with Family Ties and the Town of Picture Butte was an amazing opportunity.
“It’s really great. I’m part of a committee that’s made up of different organizations in Picture Butte and they were really talking about the need for child and youth summer programming. And then we were actually able to put out a newsletter across the community in all of the utility bills, and so it was just a way to connect people with things like this that are happening, all in one location.”
According to Petra DeBow, FCSS Manager, it was an easy decision for FCSS to allow Family Ties to take the lead in running a summer camp for youngsters in Picture Butte.
“I think it’s a perfect collaboration, as we don’t have the staff or the manpower to run camps all day,” she said. “We’re always happy to share our spaces with other agencies to benefit the residents in the communities that we serve.”
The FCSS and Family Ties partnership kicked off last summer with a youth camp in Stirling, which was a great success. This summer, Stirling will host two camps, from Aug. 8-12 and Aug. 15-19. There are still a few spaces left for those camps.
As the two organizations continue to explore what further collaborations may look like, Nalder added the partnership developed over the past two summers has far-reaching benefits.
“I think it’s a win-win all the way around,” she said. “The town gets a good, quality camp, we get programming out to rural communities, one of the areas we have been trying to expand on, and FCSS has been so gracious to have the spots for us.” To register for the Stirling camp, contact Family Ties at 403-320-8888.