Report of OSCA Program Committee
The Program Committee is delighted to present this report to the 2013 OSCA AGM. The Program Committee is responsible for the oversight of the programs offered by OSCA and ensuring they meet the community’s diverse needs. These programs include playgroup, the fitness centre and everything in between.
In many ways this has been a transition year for the committee with Dinos Dafniotis, the City of Ottawa provided Program Co-ordinator, the only returning member. With a new Executive Director of OSCA, Christy Savage, and two new co-chairs, the committee has had a steep learning curve. This past year there have been minor changes made to the subsidy policy and fitness centre, and the continued growth of the After 4. Next year, the After School Program will grow for the 3rd consecutive year, new programs will be offered that will specifically target seniors and discussions will be begin on strategies to deal with the implementation of full day kindergarten at Hopewell Public School.
If you have an interest in making Old Ottawa South a better place to live and play, the committee encourages you to speak to Ian Beck-MacNeil or Emilie Taman (Co-chairs) about joining the committee.
A number of changes were introduced into OSCA’s after school program for the 2012-13 year. For the second consecutive year the size of the program expanded with 140 registrants between the ages of 5-12. The basement at St. Margaret Mary’s Church across the street was rented to provide additional programming space. A second coordinator role was created for the 2012-13 year as a result of the expansion of the program. The increase in registrants and the larger staff necessitated this change. The program committee would like to express its appreciation to Alex Tallim and Darcy Middaugh for their tireless efforts to make the centre a warm and inviting place for the children and youth of Old Ottawa South.
The 2013-14 year will see the After 4 program expand yet again. Southminster United Church will be rented for the session to create a separate After 4 program that will target older children. This expansion will result in a total of 160 registrants in the after school program. It will provide targeted activities to the older children while making the space at the Firehall more manageable for the rest of the program. The expansion of the program would not have been possible without the “outside the box” thinking from senior staff within the After 4 program.
The emergence of full-day kindergarten poses a unique opportunity going forward. Hopewell Public School will begin full-day kindergarten beginning September 2014. The Ontario Ministry of Education has mandated that before and after school care will be provided, with a fee of no more than $20 per day, should there prove to be sufficient demand. It is the committee’s goal to work and communicate with the Parent’s Council from Hopewell and staff from Southside Preschool on the evolving child care needs as a result of this change.
A new “family” profile system was introduced for the March registration period for the Spring program session. The new system creates a secure profile that stores the information of children and adults that are members of the same household. This system is more secure and simplifies the registration experience.
After the migration to the new system a number of issues have cropped up that led to clients being billed multiple times or registrations disappearing from the system. Christy, Dinos and the rest of the staff that work the front desk have been diligent in manually correcting the errors that have occurred. The provider, E-Reg, has been responsive to our requests and communicative with us. The committee is hopeful there will be a fix in place for the Summer session which begins in June.
The committee has responded to requests for changes to the pricing structure. One time use passes are now available and discounts to the fitness centre have been made available when clients are already registered in other fitness programs. This has resulted in more members and greater overall use of the fitness centre.
Demographic trends have made it clear there is a need for more targeted programming for seniors. A sub-committee with a focus on senior programming has been struck. Their energy and enthusiasm has been a welcome addition and many of their suggestions will be incorporated into the program guide for Fall 2013.
Subsidies have always been available, yet rarely used. There was an increase in applications and approvals for subsidies. A large number of these subsidies have been for the fitness centre which has brought a number of new people into the building that traditionally did not avail themselves of our services. The subsidy policy, which disqualified applicants that were not residents of Old Ottawa South, has been expanded to allow anyone to apply, regardless of geography.