We’ve been busier than ever at OSCA over the past few months. Even though the Firehall is not full to the brim with summer camps, we’ve been working behind the scenes with our virtual summer camps, yoga and fitness classes.
We’ve also been hard at work planning next steps for reopening the Firehall. After much consideration and discussion, the Executive Committee, Staff and Board of Directors have decided to launch programs in four phases:
- Virtual Adult and Children’s Programs
- In-Person Children’s Programs
- In-Person Adult Programs
- Pottery Studio and Fitness Centre
Virtual Programming Continues in the Fall - Fee-Based
We’ve learned a lot about virtual programming since we started running them in April after the Firehall closed. This Spring and Summer we launched 54 virtual programs for children and adults involving almost 1000 program participants and we are excited to continue learning and reinventing the way we offer programming both online and in person. Delivering programming virtually offers many innovative opportunities to engage children and adults in the new environment we are facing. we believe we can create new synergies with our traditional in-person program offerings and we intend to expand our offerings and create new opportunities for engagement with OSCA. Our Fall Virtual Guide will be published a few days before registration opens on August 25th. I encourage you to register for classes and join us this Fall. Your participation and support will determine our success.
We will be charging a fee for Fall Virtual Programs. In fact, we will be returning to fee-based programming in the Fall for both in- person and virtual programs. Maintaining online virtual programming takes a lot of work and oversight. We are happy to have been able to offer programs on a pay what you can basis in the Spring and Summer but this is no longer sustainable.
We need to begin generating revenue from our programming activities to cover our costs as we have effectively been operating on reserve funds over the spring and summer. These funds are rapidly diminishing and will be exhausted if we do not return soon to a more normal revenue-generating situation.
Recording Classes for Video on Demand
In addition to our online virtual programs, we will be recording some of the best weekly programs in the Fall for two reasons. First, for those who miss a class, we will provide links to a few weekly classes so that you can either catch up or go back and take a class again. Not all classes will be recorded but we will build a great resource of online classes and options.
The second reason is to build a Video-On-Demand Membership to launch in mid-late October. For those who would like to participate in a variety of programs in addition to their currently registered virtual programs Video-on-Demand will be an excellent resource.
On-Site/In-Person Children’s Programming
OSCA made the difficult decision not to launch camps this past summer. While there were many factors that led the Executive Committee, Staff and Board of Directors to make this decision, the key concerns for us were the new regulations and safety precautions, and the inability to offer an affordable variety of camps to clients.
Instead, we turned our time and limited resources to creating and launching summer virtual programs and camps. We’ve also been hard at work developing a plan to launch onsite after 4 programming in the Fall. That’s no small feat: we’ve been looking for alternative space, creating health and safety protocols, staff training, determining risk and liability, and ensuring that we have explored every aspect of due diligence on OSCA’s behalf.
In the next couple of weeks we will be presenting a plan to the Operations Committee and subsequently to the Board of Directors for approval.
On-Site/In-Person Adult Classes
After we have launched the After 4 Programming we will be turning our attention to in-person adult classes. OSCA plans to incrementally introduce onsite programming. We need to move toward this initiative strategically and slowly, to assess and ensure we can be successful and safe and that the instructors and staff are comfortable with the way we are operating.
How are we going to do this? Our first step will be to slowly move some of our current virtual programming to an in-person option. This will give current clients the opportunity to register (at no additional fee) to attend one of their classes in person. We’ll create a detailed schedule and we will have a maximum number of people who we can accept in person, so registration will be vital. There will be no drop-in option.
For those of you who want the flexibility on occasion to come to the Firehall for their ‘virtual’ class. We will continue to run that class virtually. The recording will take place in the Firehall and while we will not record students, some will be present. We’ll give you the full details so stay tuned.
Next step, once we get more comfortable meeting in person again, we’ll slowly introduce new classes on-site that clients may register for. These will be courses above and beyond the virtual programming and they will be open to anyone to register. Again, we will provide more details in the weeks to come.
We can’t wait to launch and get back into the swing of things. We’ll see you in the Fall!
Christy's Corner will also appear in the September 2020 OSCAR.