The people who bring Early Years programming to communities across Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, have quietly been offering new youth services across Dundas County.
In late summer, the Dundas Youth Centre opened its doors in Winchester at the new Winchester Community Care Building. And, since September 6, staff from the Dundas Youth Centre have been hosting a drop-in nights at the Iroquois Civic Centre.
While the Dundas Youth Centre in Winchester is gaining in popularity, with 27 area youth participating in last week’s Fear Factor night, the Iroquois site has yet to have anyone drop-in.
“We are hopeful we will see a few out this week,” said Carrie Van Allen, who supervises the programs.
Staffing the Youth Centre are two well-qualified program facilitators, Sean Whelan and Kaitlin Herfkens. The drop-in nights at the Iroquois Civic Centre are for all area youth ages 9-17. They take place every Friday from 2:30-5 p.m. Games, cooking, movies, arts and crafts, sports activities and theme nights will take place.
A Morrisburg drop in site will be added to the program schedule starting October 7. Initially, they will be open from 2:30-5 Mondays and will take place at the South Dundas Municipal Centre. They already hope to expand the hours in Morrisburg from 5- 8 p.m., but are awaiting confirmation of space availability.
The Youth Centres, Early Years Centres, Learning Centres and Youth Programs are all part of the community services provided, free of charge, to residents of SD&G by the GIAG.
GIAG’s youth program mission is to provide safe haven free of judgement and biases for youth.
GIAG aims to provide opportunities for youth to participate in activities, make positive life choices through mentoring, and to develop social and life skills that encourage personal growth. While assisting youth in becoming responsible and productive citizens, building positive relationships between youth and community is encouraged.
“Nicole certainly has some good ideas on how to revitalize this committee,” said South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds, “She’s certainly not letting it drop off.”
South Dundas economic development officer Nicole Sullivan presented council with recommendations for reformatting the structure of the Economic Development Advisory Committee during the July 17th council meeting in Williamsburg.
Council agreed with Sullivan’s recommendation that they turn from an Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) structure and move to an Economic Development Advisory and Project Teams (EDAPT) structure.
The switch will allow for one advisory team that oversees the various project teams.
One of the benefits of EDAPT, said Sullivan, is that “it helps us to include participants who might not otherwise have wanted to commit time.”
Project teams have defined parameters with specific goals. People who might not normally join an advisory team due to its broad scope and large time commitment, might now join a project team with a specific time frame and an agenda that interests them personally, thus bringing in new ideas and perspectives.
According to Sullivan, the South Dundas Economic Development Advisory Committee met on June 13th to discuss and formulate a forward action plan in relation to suggestions made in the South Dundas Economic Development Strategy Update, adopted by council on June 5th.
During the meeting, the committee identified four initiatives they feel are priorities for South Dundas.
The identified initiatives include:
• Develop a tourism strategy
• Develop and continually update marketing and investment attraction materials
• Develop a more tourist-friendly community
• Identify what brand works best, and fully engage the brand
The bottom two initiatives will be focussed on internally by Sullivan herself, while the top two initiatives will be divided and addressed by two separate project teams.
Currently, the Tourism Strategy Project Team consists of Donnie Bowes of Upper Canada Playhouse, Michael Burton of Russell Manor, Sally Francis of Iroquois Marina, Susan Le Clair of the St. Lawrence Parks Commission, Hanna Rycroft of the Basket Case Gallery and Café, Tom Morrow of the McIntosh Country Inn, Linda Wilson of Cornwall and the Counties Tourism, and South Dundas councillor Jim Graham.
The Investment Attraction Materials Project Team consists of John Allison of John Allison Real Estate, Stephen Law of Iroquois, Mark Miron of the Operating Engineers Training Institute of Ontario, Steve Walsh of Udder Comfort, and South Dundas councillor Evonne Delegarde.
The Advisory Team consists of EDAC chairperson Mart Prost, director of South Dundas Chamber of Commerce Michel Proulx, South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds, and the chairs of each of the two project teams.
Sullivan is also a member of each of the three teams.
Anyone interested in joining one of the teams should submit a statement of interest along with a detailed synopsis outlining their reasons for joining and their unique qualifications to email@example.com.
Starting January 1, 2012, businesses were required to be in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act (AODA). Enacted in 2005, the AODA provides standards for accessibility in all areas of daily life.
Accessibility standards identify, remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities in the areas such as Customer Service, Information and Communications, Employment, and Public Spaces. All businesses with one or more employees must meet a variety of mandatory requirements.
“Consideration of accessibility is not an option for a business. These days it’s a basic business practice.” explains Constance Exley, CEO of Accessibility Ontario. “We have an aging population and the numbers of Ontarians with a disability is increasing.”
Exley is one of two keynote speakers who will present at the 1st Annual South Dundas Business Summit, taking place on Thursday, February 26, at the McIntosh Country Inn in Morrisburg.
In its inaugural year, the South Dundas Business Summit will present a unique opportunity to hear expert speakers who will provide advice on accessibility for businesses.
“The South Dundas Business Summit will provide business owners with a clear understanding of what they need to do to comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act,” explains South Dundas Economic Development Officer Nicole Sullivan.
“Businesses need to be proactive in their response to these changes in order to stay relevant to their customer base and to keep their competitive edge,” added Exley. “Accessibility does not need to be expensive or complicated, and there are many things you can do that are low cost or no cost.”
Exley’s workshop will specifically outline how accessibility can build profit, increase a customer base and facilitate employee engagement.
The AODA standards not only apply in the physical workspace, but also the web.
Bernard Charlebois, Principal Consultant at Boumstrategies and Professor at La Cite Collegial, will speak on making websites and other e-business tools accessible to people with disabilities and the aging population.
The Business Summit is being hosted by the Morrisburg Downtown Business Improvement Association, the Municipality of South Dundas, the South Dundas Chamber of Commerce, and the Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre.
It is presented by the Ontario BIA Association, with support from the Eastern Ontario Training Board and the Government of Ontario.
To register or to make accommodations in order to attend, please contact: Nicole Sullivan, Economic Development Officer 613-543-2673 or firstname.lastname@example.org