There were many happy, smiling faces at the 3 Year Old Round Up this past Saturday at the Gibraltar Room.
Attracting young families with their three-year-olds from across Williams Lake and the surrounding region, the event featured booths from dozens of professional childcare and aid agencies with activities for the children including lassoing ‘steers,’ drawing and live music.
One of the event organizers, Naomi Weil, said the event originally started with an idea from the Ready Set Learn program, a 10-week program where three-year-olds learned about different topics in a school environment. Weil said the service providers who were part of the program eventually came together and decided to do an all in one event, with the 3 Year Old Roundup being a result of their collaboration.
Pregnancy Outreach, Williams Lake Optometry, Interior Health and a representative of Williams Lake’s Public Library were some of the many who occupied the booths, each providing activities for children alongside information for their parents or caretakers.
“It offers young families something to come out to and enjoy, if they have any questions or concerns often there are services out there in our community we’re not aware of so the roundup just gives them some extra tools and ideas,” Weil said.
For those who were unable to attend the roundup this weekend, Weil said the information is still readily available though StrongStart BC. Available at local schools and online, Weil said they would be the place to look for young families.
Weil said they hoped to see 80 to 100 kids attend the roundup with their families.
“It’s all about having families come out, supporting them and getting them together,” Weil said.
Families like Shannon Young and her sons Korbin and Hunter were attracted to the event for the chance to ‘wrangle some cows’ and the accessibility of it for someone their age.
“Anything that little kids can do to help them learn and grow is very important,” Young said. “The more people that can get involved the better.”
Beulah Munson, the coordinator for the Williams Lake Early Year Centre, said the event was particularly important for organizations like her own. With a strong online presence via Facebook and their own website, Munson said they promote events like the Roundup heavily each year, in addition to their online resources.
“The Roundup is an excellent way for parents to connect with service providers and get a real good snapshot of what is out there for families in Williams Lake,” Monson said.
The zero to six age range is some of the most critical in a child’s development, according to Munson and she said that both she and the Early Year Centre are committed to connecting these young families to services, both independently and through events like the roundup.
“It’s a wonderful way to very informally get to hang out with children and families and ease their comfort level for when and if it comes time to access some of our services,” she said.