October 4th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 40
Possibility of Boys and Girls Club of CNP merger with Foothills
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Archive photo
Pass Herald Reporter
At a Board Meeting on September 25, The Boys and Girls Club of Crowsnest Pass (BGCCNP) made a formal request to The Boys and Girls Club of the Foothills to consider making Crowsnest Pass a service point.
The Foothills club will discuss the possibility of a merger with CNP at their next meeting mid-October and will make a decision by October 30. Should Foothills agree to the merger, The Boys and Girls Club of Crowsnest Pass will need to dissolve the corporation entirely and transfer all funds to the other club. However, all funds would be tracked and only ever used for the Crowsnest Pass location.

Nanton, High River and Black Diamond make up The Boys and Girls Club of the Foothills.

BGCCNP has been facing several challenges resulting in a temporary closure where the club is not offering an after-school program for the fall season.

Foothills executive director Shirley Puttock and Board president Jamie Myles were present at the Board Meeting.
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According to Puttock, should the Board decide to move forward with BGCCNP being taken on as a service point by the Foothills, the Crowsnest Pass club would technically lose their funding entirely as a result of the merger, any present and future funds raised locally remain earmarked for programs in Crowsnest Pass only.

There are direct benefits to be had with the merger, as well. Insurance, audit and administration costs would be cut, and only one executive director is on the payroll, whose salary is split among all participating clubs.

Staff at BGCCNP would only be responsible for programming. Tasks like fundraising, grant applications and paperwork would be done by the Foothills club administration staff.

“Those tasks are a lot of stress, so it removes all of that from our local operations,” says past BGCCNP president Scott Warris. “Our budget is going to be similar, but now it is only going to be used for programming.”

Funds raised in each community stay within those programs. The bigger grants from the club’s anonymous donor or institutions like RBC or the Alberta government are distributed equally among all the clubs. The Boys and Girls Club of the Foothills applies for various grants specific to their clubs depending on what the community needs.

One representative from each community sits on the Board of Directors and an advisory committee from each community can also be involved in the Board meeting via phone conferencing.

Besides a full-time executive director position that was not filled at the time of closure, BGCCNP had two part-time staff working for them. Puttock says that all staff prior to the temporary closure will be retained on the payroll should the merger happen.
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“I liked everything I heard tonight,” says Warris. “The big benefit is that the club continues to operate here and we continue to offer those same services, and even better, because the staff here is only going to be focusing on the service programs.”

BGCCNP has been struggling in several areas that caused the Board to decide on a temporary closure: they have failed to meet several compliance requirements established by the national body, decreased attendance numbers, and, most significantly, they have been struggling to fill the position of a permanent executive director and bus driver.

The executive director was the club’s only full-time paid staff and was responsible for a great deal of administration work on top of programming, like fundraising, applying for grants, driving the bus, scheduling and accounting.

“One of the challenges that we’ve had with all of our executive directors is the mix of the two responsibilities, a balance between working with kids and the technical aspect. It’s two very different skillsets and it’s hard to find one person in an organization our size who has strengths in both those areas. They are out there, but they’re expensive for a non-profit. We just don’t have the budget to attract a person like that,” says Warris.

The Board laid off Karey Lee Watanabe, the club’s last executive director, this past summer. Watanabe was employed from February 2015 to June 2017. Executive director duties were taken on by Nicole Hermann from January 2017 to July 2017. Hermann was already working for BGCCNP on administration and policy duties prior to Watanabe’s leaving, but the position was not officially filled.
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Not finding a suitable executive director is related to another one of their reasons for the temporary closure, the failure to meet compliance requirements.

All member clubs of Boys and Girls Canada go through a peer review to ensure that they are meeting requirements. Last year’s peer review of BGCCNP identified areas where policies were not written to Boys and Girls Club of Canada standards. Correcting the documents has been an ongoing project for the past year, but it is a very time-consuming and onerous process for the executive director.

“It was taking a lot of time and attention of our executive director. The Board determined that there are too many things for one person, one executive director to be able to take care of. We’ve tried a number of different structures to divide up the work, to have the right staff levels, but that has been one of the biggest challenges over the years,” says Warris.

As one of the smallest communities in Canada that has a Boys and Girls Club, Crowsnest Pass does not have enough staff to cover all the requirements necessary to operate.

“I’m not saying that we didn’t get enough support,” says Warris. “We got a lot of support, but it’s just the reality of the size of our community.”

An announcement concerning the merger opportunity is expected later in the month of October.
October 4th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 40
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