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Fort Macleod summer program co-ordinators excited to work with youth

Family and Community Support Services.

Crystal Cross Child and Keeyah Orr are the new summer program co-ordinators for Fort Macleod Family and Community Support Services.

Crystal Cross Child and Keeyah Orr are planning an exciting summer for Fort Macleod’s young people.
Cross Child and Orr are the new summer program co-ordinators for Family and Community Support Services.
While plans are still being finalized, the two women know one thing for certain.
“It’s going to be a fun-filled summer,” Cross Child promised.
The 24-year-old Orr graduated from F.P. Walshe school in Fort Macleod in 2010.
After graduation, Orr enrolled in the social work program at Lethbridge College and is now working on a bachelor degree in social work at the University of Alberta.
Orr has also made several trips to Africa, where she taught English in schools, coached soccer teams and did missionary work.
A master degree and a job as a school counsellor could be in Orr’s future.
“I would like to do something with kids,” Orr said. “I have so much fun with kids, especially with youth. I enjoy connecting with them, and I learn a lot from them.”
“I think also they can be impacted at that age. If they feel that someone believes in them they’re more likely to succeed in life.”
The job as summer program co-ordinator ties in with Orr’s desire to make a difference in the lives of young people.
“It’s working with kids and it’s working with the community,” Orr said of her summer job. “It works out perfectly because this is my favourite community. I get to help create some community bonding.”
The 27-year-old Cross Child, who is from the Blood Tribe, was born in Lethbridge and attended school there until Grade 9.
She attended high school in Cardston and graduated in 2007, then went to Lethbridge College and earned a diploma in general studies.
Cross Child then moved to the University of Lethbridge where she will graduate with a Native American Studies degree, with plans to transfer into the education program to become a Social Studies teacher.
Over the past five summers Cross Child has worked with young people through various department and agencies on the Blood Reserve and in Lethbridge.
“I saw this posting for FCSS in Fort Macleod and that it involves working with youth, and has some research parts too,” Cross Child said. “I thought this was a good spot for me.”
Cross Child sees her job in Fort Macleod as providing opportunities for young people and to engage them in the community.
Orr said they will show young people they have support in Fort Macleod, and help them to make connections in their community.
“And we want it to be lots of fun, obviously,” Orr added.
FCSS director Angie O’Connor has given Cross Child and Orr freedom to plan the summer events.
“She gave us a lot of freedom to get creative, which is fun, and she’s always giving us suggestions and letting us know what has been done in the past,” Orr said.
“And what has worked,” Cross Child added.
FCSS has as goals for its summer programs to bring the community together, help young people understand there is support for them in Fort Macleod, and build connections and feel part of the community.
“With youth, it’s beneficial for them to have encouragement . . . and to have some place to go,” Cross Child said. “To know that people are there to help.”
Orr said it is also important to help young people understand Fort Macleod — in a broader sense — is their home.
“If you can have some place that you know there are people who love you and cheering for you, I know for myself I had more courage to go out and try things,” Orr said.
Planning is ongoing for the summer program offerings, but so far there will be an archery session, tea parties at Mackenzie House for both children and adults, a local Olympics, a Fort Macleod-style Amazing Race, and a children’s “car show.”
Plans are also in the works for a Hockey Night in Fort Macleod event, with both ball and table hockey. The RCMP is assembling a team, with Sgt. Laura Akitt planning to don the tools of ignorance in goal.
Cross Child and Orr also plan to host a table at the weekly Farmer’s Market where young people can sell crafts and home-made products.
Coming up on Thursday, June 23 is an ice cream social at 6:30 p.m. at Lioness Park.
The summer program calendar will be available at the FCSS office on Second Avenue.