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.

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