Inclusion Weyburn had a very successful and busy year in 2019, and plans to continue their activities in 2020 as they look ahead, members were told at their annual meeting held on Thursday.
A major activity for the organization in the past year was the Fun in the Sun Inclusive Summer Camp for children aged six to 12. This year, they had 15 children registered to attend various weeks, and 11 teens were registered for the inclusive teen camps. In addition, they had four places filled for the three-to-five year old age category from the Family Place.
There were 10 staff, some full-time and some part-time, to provide support for the campers.
“Parents were so appreciative of this opportunity for their family. Their children loved coming to camp every day. Some parents reported their child was more content throughout the whole summer because of the routine and structure provided by camp,” said the annual report to Inclusion Weyburn, adding that the camps were enriching for both the youth with intellectual disabilities and for the staff. The group plans to add new camps in 2020.
Marie Campbell, a board member and learning support teacher at the Weyburn Comp, worked with the staff to plan activities for the nine days of the summer camp to meet the needs of those who were 13-20.
A unique opportunity arose in the fall from the Weyburn Soccer Association, as they started up an All-Abilities program, the first program of its kind in Saskatchewan.
There were presentations of information about Inclusion Weyburn made to various local organizations and service groups, along with support from local businesses and individuals.
Throughout the year, other activities for the program included a Valentine’s dance at the Wor-Kin Shop, and a Spring Fling dance event at St. Dominic gym in May.
The latter event included a barbecue with the food donated by Prairie Sky Co-op, Credit Union staff volunteering to man the grill, along with fun activities, a silent auction, and a photo booth provided by Grade 6 students from Queen Elizabeth School. A Halloween dance was also with Randy Bakaluk providing music as the deejay for the dances.
The Grade 6 class also held a fundraiser, and collected items for the Yellow Bins along with raising $672 for Inclusion Weyburn.
There were five family-buddy swims held throughout the year at the Leisure Centre, with around 30 people attending each time.
Fundraisers held for Inclusion Weyburn included the proceeds from Mayhem Manor, organized by Ernie and Ammie Parisien, with a donation of $4,250 provided as a result. In addition, Inclusion Weyburn volunteers assisted Sherry Lynn Photography at two trade shows and earned nearly $800, and as a member agency of Communithon, raised around $6,500 for the organization.
The Weyburn Police Service has asked Inclusion Weyburn to help them to learn about and understand their citizens with intellectual disabilities.
Leah Petersen, the autism spectrum disorder consultant at the Saskatchewan Health Authority in Weyburn, will present a workshop to all Weyburn police officers at an inservice for them this coming spring.
The officers will learn about the self-regulation toolkits that will be supplied in each police vehicle, which include noise-cancelling headsets and fidgets that can help reduce anxiety.
Many of the board members of Inclusion Weyburn are classroom or learning support teachers who work in schools in Weyburn, along with members who are parents, social workers and Group Home staff who all provide valuable input.
The organization is constantly searching for programs that provide opportunities for their youth and adults with intellectual disabilities.
“Receiving the same choices and opportunities as others empowers them and helps them feel valued and included in our community,” said the annual report.