When this year’s extended March break begins on February 22, the day-care games will begin.
All indications suggest competition for spaces will be fierce.
On the cusp of the Canada Winter Games, nearly 3,000 Whitehorse elementary students will be dismissed from classes. And nearly 4,000 adults will be volunteering for the various events.
So where will the children go?
So far, the Canada Winter Games Host Society hasn’t laid down any formal daycare plans for its volunteer army.
“It’s possible to set up a Games day care, but our first priority is to go to who are prepared to set up or expand service themselves because anything we do, we have to do through volunteers helping volunteers,” said host society president Piers McDonald.
“So our preference would be to find others who are already interested, willing and able and to try and match them up with our volunteers.”
McDonald would like to see existing Whitehorse day-care centres expand service and children take part in day camps put on by the city and the MacBride Museum.
Together, those two camps can accommodate 105 children.
“If there’s a shortfall after that, we’ll have to consider what we can do,” said McDonald.
“It’s like any other challenge with the Games — everything’s larger than what we’re used to, but people are pretty creative and I’m sure they’ll be able to come up with something that meets their needs.”
Laws limit the number of children city daycares can accept.
Legally, Downtown Days day care can’t accommodate more children, said assistant director Deanna White.
However, the Canada Games Host Society had just phoned to ask that any empty spots during those two weeks be offered to parents who are Canada Winter Games volunteers, said White.
Care-A-Lot Daycare is “full to maximum capacity” and unless the government makes changes in child-care legislation for the duration of the Games it cannot expand its services, said director Cyndi Desharnais.
The day care is licensed to take in only so many children and must open and close at specific times.
Accommodating a Winter Games schedule just isn’t possible, she added.
Creative Play Daycare is not planning to take any more kids either, said co-director Chani Fleshman.
“No, we’re just running as per usual,” she said.
“The people who have spots are lucky to have them as I guess there will be quite a need for child-care during the Canada Games.”
During the Games, the city will host a two-week day camp, Yukon Science Quest, that will have space for 60 kids from kindergarten to Grade 7, and 20 extra spaces for parents to register their kids for one or two days instead of the full two weeks.
The camp will be advertised in the city’s winter/spring leisure guide. The registration date is January 3.
“What we’re hearing, because just about everybody is going to be a volunteer in some aspect, is that some parents are actually forming co-operative groups where one parent goes to do their volunteering and the other parent or parents are taking care of children,” said Whitehorse leisure services supervisor Suzette Delmage.
“I don’t know of too many people that aren’t involved with the Games in some way and I think we’re all going to have to be creative in the options we have.
“We’re trying to provide a camp and parents are trying to pool their resources to operate co-operative kinds of child care.
“I think that, for all of us, it’s a challenge for sure and everyone is kind of dealing with it in their own creative way.”
The MacBride Museum will also run day camps for children four-to 10-years old-during the Games.
They begin February 22 and end on March 9.
The museum will have spaces for 15 to 25 children per day.