BGC of Wolf Creek Lacombe held a grand opening on Sept. 22 at Ecole Lacombe Upper Elementary School. From left are Grant Jorgenson, (chair of BGC Wolf Creek), Program Assistant Josie Pimm and Beth Reitz, executive director of the Ponoka Youth Centre, which is the legal name of an umbrella organization that includes the BGC of Wolf Creek. Mark Weber/Lacombe Express

BGC of Wolf Creek Lacombe held a grand opening on Sept. 22 at Ecole Lacombe Upper Elementary School. From left are Grant Jorgenson, (chair of BGC Wolf Creek), Program Assistant Josie Pimm and Beth Reitz, executive director of the Ponoka Youth Centre, which is the legal name of an umbrella organization that includes the BGC of Wolf Creek. Mark Weber/Lacombe Express

BGC of Wolf Creek Lacombe held a grand opening on Sept. 22

‘The welcome and the interest in the program has been incredible already.’

BGC of Wolf Creek Lacombe held a grand opening on Sept. 22, officially launching a range of programming geared towards supporting local youth.

Formerly known as the Boys and Girls Club, the new branch of the organization runs at Ecole Lacombe Upper Elementary School.

Beth Reitz is the executive director of the Ponoka Youth Centre, which is the current legal name of an umbrella organization that includes the BGC of Wolf Creek which serves Ponoka, Rimbey and now Lacombe.

“We are really excited. The welcome and the interest in the program has been incredible already,” said Reitz. “We are already hoping to open a second site at Terrace Ridge School before Christmas.

“We just really want parents to access the program and if they have any questions about how it all works, to reach out to us.”

Reitz said the BGC of Wolf Creek Lacombe is already seeing tremendous support, what with representatives from the City, the County and the local FCSS among other organizations all attending the grand opening event as well.

“It’s exciting to be a part of!”

To date, about 25 local families are registered with BGC in Lacombe.

“We definitely have room to grow and there are lots of spaces. And once we open Terrace Ridge, there will be those (additional) spaces as well.”

For Reitz, it’s all the more special as she calls Lacombe home. “I’ve lived here for almost 20 years myself,” she said, adding that it just made sense to expand the service to Lacombe and the area at this point in time, too.

Grant Jorgenson, chair of BGC Wolf Creek, said the program has been extremely successful in Ponoka over the years.

“About eight years ago, we also opened up in Rimbey, and there again it’s been successful,” he said. “So it was in the back of our minds – the board has known that there is a need throughout Central Alberta.”

He added that the goal is to not only provide a range of services to families right in Lacombe, but to the surrounding region as well.

“The community has just opened their arms wide to us – it’s been amazing.”

In the meantime, Jorgenson said that other communities have since expressed interest in what the organization has to offer as well. “It’s exciting.”

Currently, there are 659 BGC locations across Canada.

Here in Lacombe, the main program being offered is an after-school program where kids can take part in lots of fun activities, indoor and outdoor play, and enjoy some snacks, too.

This program runs Monday through Friday from 3:15 to 5:30 p.m. and is for youth from Kindergarten to Grade 6.

As mentioned, it’s located at the Upper Elementary School, but a supervised waiting spot at J.S. McCormick School is available to take students from there to the Upper Elementary.

As Reitz has pointed out, the after-school program is really just the beginning – the organization has much in the works to serve the Lacombe community.

Another program available in Lacombe is the School’s Out Day Program which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. during the school year and includes life-skills instruction, leadership training, recreation, field trips and other planned activities on Professional Development days, school breaks and ‘in lieu’ days for schools.

Government subsidies are available for BGC programming as well.

For more information, follow them on Facebook at ‘BGC Wolf Creek – Lacombe’ or check out www.lacombe.bgcwolfcreek.com.

Interested residents can also call 403-704-4126 or email admin@BGCWolfcreek.com.

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