Two groups join for Elkhorn daycare

Steak supper and auction fundraiser coming up

An Elkhorn organization has plans to start a government subsidized childcare facility in Elkhorn. It is a unique plan as two groups join forces to make full use of a good building that is underused.

The Elkhorn Early Learning Centre (EELC) group formed in late winter of 2018 and now has about a dozen members. They have a plan in place, in conjunction with the Elkhorn Curling Club, to transform the building into a multi-use facility.

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Ceri Johnson, is co-chair with Brittany Cousins in the project. Johnson is also part of the curling club and says it is a win-win plan for both organizations.

“We have sent [the plan] to the government to make sure we have covered everything that needs to be covered,” said Johnson.

The curling club is used one day per week about three months of the year.

“It’s a fabulous facility in really good shape.” Johnson says, “Why not use it. If it’s something that will work for us and for the rink at the same time?”

Aside from a couple of weekend tournaments, the curling club is used primarily on Thursdays, something the daycare can work around, says Johnson. “When there’s bonspiels, everything has to be moved out of the way so the curling rink can still function. We just need to have some outside storage for that.”

The EELC board is working to provide space for around 30 children in total, and says the childcare facility will help many families who struggle to find care, create jobs in the community and enhance life within Elkhorn.

At present, children needing daycare in Elkhorn and the surrounding rural area are cared for by family members, in private daycares, or in Virden daycare.

Community support

In order to turn the building into a suitable daycare facility the board has itemized a few changes with the single big ticket being windows budgeted at $35,000.

Smaller costs will include a security system, infant/child-friendly bathroom and washing stations. New furniture is also on the shopping list: tables, chairs, cots, cribs, change tables, toys, toy storage etc.

A fenced outdoor play area for the children with climbing equipment and toys is also in the budget. 

The EELC held a community meeting about a year ago and did surveys on social media to determine the need for the facility.

“There was another community meeting [last week]. Lots of positive comments, people coming with questions, but good questions. People wondering when it’s going to be open and when they can get their name on the list,” said Johnson.

To date, between fundraising and grants, they have about $10,000 toward a total budget of about $90,000.

Coming right up on April 5 the two groups have planned a steak supper and fundraising night. After the supper held at Elkhorn Motor Motel, the evening will include live, silent and Chinese auctions, plus a pie auction, all taking place in the Elks Hall.

This fundraiser auction has received a lot of support from communities all around as well as from Elkhorn. There is over a dozen pies and fresh cinnamon buns to auction, but more than that, “We’ve got some pretty awesome items for our live auction,” says Johnson.

She lists off an array of auction items such as a Power Wheels car, processed meat packages, custom spraying, use of a four-wheel drive tractor, use of a combine and more.

Auctioneer Rhett Parks has volunteered his time to rap up a storm at the live auction – sure to be entertaining.

“The closer the fundraiser gets, I get more excited about the possibility of this,” says Johnson. “We know the community is behind this. We can feel it. The support is there.”

© Virden Empire-Advance