Parents wishing to put their children in the Town of Drumheller’s Summer Fun Program will now have the option to make payments for the program this summer.
This is an about face, after a number of parents expressed concern about a new policy this year that called for payment upfront for the program.
On May 29, a registration evening was held to sign up youngsters for the popular summer camp program, it was reported that a number of parents reacted strongly to being asked to pay their bill for the program in one fell swoop.
Diana Hanik was registering her children that night and was disappointed with the system.
“We are a dual income house so we could afford to pay for the program, but I saw a couple moms leave who I know are desperate for the program, but they live pay cheque to pay cheque,” said Hanik. “For them being told they won’t get a spot unless they pay upfront infuriated me. That is never how the program was designed to work in years past, and when I asked for clarification on it he had none for us.”
Summer fun is generally $100 per week per child. For the summer that is $800 for one child.
Director of Community Services Paul Salvatore said there were a number of reasons for looking at changing the system, one was that the program would take a loss for families that signed up, but never paid and participated.
“With our new facility and with our new system for managing the facilities, we’ve tried to make the management of all our programs more consistent, a lot has to do with paying upfront for services,” said Salvatore last Friday. “If you don’t pay upfront, and then you walk away and we have a vacancy and we don’t fill that vacancy, at the end of the day our organization has to cover off for someone else’s convenience.”
He has since said the Town of Drumheller is revisiting the change and will make it possible for parents to make scheduled payments in smaller amounts. They are currently working out the new system.
“We are following up those people who have expressed concern,” said Salvatore.
Currently those who want to pay upfront for the summer program can do so by registering at the Badlands Community Facility. You can also sign up without full payment, but it would be an unsecured registration.
“If you want to pay upfront, you have that option, but if you want to take an unsecured, unconfirmed booking, we’ll put your name down and if someone comes along and pays in advance, you won’t have that confirmation,” said Salvatore.
He said they are aiming for June 25 to have the system online to allow registration online and at point of sale that will allow payment plans.
For Hanik, the biggest problem with the initial change is that there was no notice.
“They had no reasoning to do it and no notice. If families knew they would have to pay upfront, most of them would have saved for it or try to save for it,” said Hanik.
“Most people need childcare throughout the summer nobody gets eight weeks off for the summer unless they are a teacher.”