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Community Awareness and Registration Event connects residents and organizations in Lac La Biche

On Sept. 8, community members gathered for an evening dedicated to promoting social and organizational services available in Lac La Biche County. The annual Community Awareness and Registration Event (CARE) saw over 200 attendees participate.

LAC LA BICHE - On Sept. 8, community members gathered for a yearly evening event dedicated to promoting social and organizational services available in Lac La Biche County. The annual Community Awareness and Registration Event (CARE) saw over 200 attendees participate in the program aiming to connect residents and service providers at the Bold Center. 

“It’s an opportunity for people to see community agencies and organizations,” while simultaneously allowing those groups to seek volunteers and register for programs, said James Verhaeghe, Family and Community Support Services (FCSS)’ seniors, adults and volunteers outreach worker. 

“It's basically about the community reaching out to the individual; and the individual being able to reach out, access and actually see some of the different events that we have... Everything is basically in one place.” 

The Lac La Biche KidsSport chapter hosted a barbecue in tandem with the community event. 

This year, 44 local and provincial organizations participated, says Verhaeghe. 

“We have RCMP recruiters, Alberta Health Services (AHS)… and all kinds of local agencies from scouts, dance,” schools, clubs, sports and healthy lake management groups, he explained.  

With no shortage of programs for residents both young and old to learn about and get involved in, continuing to foster that opportunity as a municipal community organization is vital, he said.  

“What we figured is if we mix the different ages and organizations, once people walk around they’ll have some of that opportunity to actually see and have conversations with the plethora of organizations that we have here.” 

One of the features that make the annual CARE event so successful is that it bridges the way people can connect, reducing the need for residents to go out looking for information through self-service methods, Verhaeghe explained. 

“It's really about that holistic approach. It’s not just for children it’s something for everyone in the community to be able to access. Not everyone is on social media... so if we have a physical presence where everybody can come, take advantage of and get all the information that they require, than it works.” 

Volunteering opportunities 

Considering CARE provides a vehicle for residents to become more informed about what’s going on in the Lac La Biche area, a huge part of the event is gathering support and growing organizations’ volunteer base, he said. 

“It’s really important, especially coming out of the pandemic. Just about every agency is needing more employees and every organization is crying out for volunteers.” 

That concern is also being compounded because many of the community’s volunteer base is made up of seniors, requiring younger people to fulfil the local need, said Verhaeghe. 

“They’re getting older and there is not that next generation who is either aware or have fully stepped up to take some of those places. That’s what we are really encouraging, for people to see the opportunities and take some time to help, hopefully.” 

Response 

The community event was held in both of the Bold Center’s field houses last year to allow attendees and organizations to social distance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It was downplayed the last two years because of protocols, but it’s nice to see people communing out. We had a good crowd and lots of organizations come out,” said Verhaeghe, speaking about this year’s event. 

With another year of building community connections, event organizers will be garnering feedback from both attendees and participating agencies in order to improve CARE for the years to come. 

“It's a multi-layered level of community organizations that are invited to come. If you are a part of an organization that didn’t attend, please reach out to us so that we can make the plans for next year.”