Cariboo Child Care Society celebrates historic anniversary

Society marks 50 years providing essential childcare for TRU families and the community

This past August, the Cariboo Child Care Society (CCCS) celebrated its 50th anniversary, serving the community and families of Thompson Rivers University and Kamloops.

Susanne Butcher, executive director at the society, told The Omega that the event — attended by at least 150 individuals — was a resounding success, filled with stories and laughter, surrounded by a theme of gratitude.

“Gratitude for all the support of TRU, families, directors and, of course, our amazing staffing team,” Butcher said. “It truly is a privilege to be part of so many children’s lives.”

“We were excited to celebrate 50 amazing years of operation with many guests, including TRU representatives, families whose parents attended Cariboo as youngsters, many families, staff and past and present directors,” Butcher told The Omega by email. “Everyone enjoyed each other’s company and took great pleasure in seeing children play together and feel connected in their new center.”

During the event, CCCS President Kendel Lavallee reportedly expressed similar sentiments of gratitude, firstly by acknowledging how the centre was “enhanced by [its] relationship with the land of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc that [the CCCS is] honoured to reside upon.”

“Our collaboration with Thompson Rivers University,” Lavallee said, “has brought us the opportunity to create a cutting-edge childcare space. This beautiful space, partially funded through the Ministry of Family and Child Development’s New Spaces Fund, has opened doors to expand our reach once again, impacting more families and children.”

Regarding the centre’s future, Lavallee pointed to Sept. 1 as the launch date for the new ‘Willow Program.’

“This program has a nature-inspired curriculum where children will explore the land and community around us,” She said, “They’ll embark on daily hikes into the hills and on campus, developing executive functioning skills like planning, troubleshooting, and negotiation, while nurturing their curiosity. With a focus on self-care skills for kindergarten readiness, the Willow children will forge their path towards the next stage of their educational journey in a way that only ‘Cariboo Kids’ can.”

The CCCS opened its doors in 1973 when several faculty members from TRU – at the time known as the Cariboo College – registered a non-profit organization “to serve the childcare needs for families on campus,” as stated by the society’s website. When the first building was purchased that year, limited childcare services on campus became a reality. As the years progressed, another building was loaned to the society. Then, in 1993, a new building was constructed, allowing the CCCS to expand the available childcare spaces. This new building would be home to the CCCS until 2022 when the society would move for a second time to its current location.

For more information about the Cariboo Child Care Society, visit their website.