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2011 Recreation Service Plan consultations: 3 - third session

22-Aug-2011 [544]

This one was held at the Etobicoke Olympium, not in a gym but a fairly large room with windows and carpeting. There were 8 tables, with 5 non-staff and 2 staff each, plus the “theming” staff and three welcome staff downstairs by the front door – 27 staff altogether and maybe 40 non-staff. Councillor Doucette was there; also PFR Policy director Rick Powers. The meeting was led by Chris Brillinger. At our table there were two people from the Bloordale Baseball Association; a woman who uses the North Albion Priority Centre and who loves the programs there especially zumba, and her mother (who said not a word); plus me from CELOS.

General manager Brenda Patterson said that citywide, the CRC’s have 24% drop-in programs, 29% permits, and 47% registered programs. Most registered programs are for kids: 39% swimming, 17% children’s camps, 12% sports, and 9% pre-school. 65% of all drop-in activities are for swimming. Ms.Patterson again mentioned her confidence in training – and her assumption that everyone shared her confidence: “We know that quality is often associated with staff training’; “we follow industry standards”; “another measure of quality is often certification”; “we use Canada’s nationally recognized High Five program”... but there’s more to do: “Not all programs have the same rigorous standards.”

Ms. Patterson said that 54% of their employees are youth. “Over 100,000 people are eligible for the Welcome Policy.” Applicants are now screened through Employment and Social Services; if you’re on welfare, you’re automatically in. “About 4000 people participate through our adapted and integrated programs.”

The Bloordale Baseball people said that they have trouble getting younger male volunteers because the applicants are turned off on account of the intrusive questioning. The Albion CRC person said that the proposed jump in fees for the programs would not suit her all.

The session ended 20 minutes early, as have all the other sessions.