Northern Growing Abilities held their first annual meeting June 26, saying their first year of incorporation gave mixed results.
Amber Beaton was named the new chairperson for the group at the meeting. Creighton town councillor Anita Rainville was the group’s chairperson, but took a step back, remaining on the board, but not leading it. Beaton was the vice-chair since their incorporation.
“There's not much change in my role,” Beaton said.
“[Rainville] and I pretty much worked closely. We still do. She's got she's got more time on her hands now for the rest of her life.”
Northern Growing Abilities started as a support group for parents with children with intellectual disabilities. After meeting with an advocate, the group realized it needed to incorporate to best advocate and achieve their goals.
Beaton said the group’s long term goals are still to secure a location to do day programming and build a greenhouse. Beaton added the ‘downs’ from describing ‘a year of ups and downs’ was mostly due to their inability to find a location for that project.
“That’s been a real thorn in our side,” she said.
“The day program is, is really the biggest thing because we’ve got seven adults with intellectual disabilities who have nowhere to go. They can't go to the vocational center anymore, because that's strictly a Manitoba thing now. There's nothing on the Saskatchewan side… [We want] somewhere our adults can work but also somewhere for them to just hang out and learn life skills.”
Beaton said the group has given a good look at three or four locations for a building, but nothing has worked out. One particular location in downtown Creighton looked promising, but Beaton said the group couldn’t pull the trigger on it because of zoning laws that would prevent the greenhouse from being built.
“There's always been just really one one thing, one little thing that bending us from getting particular site,” she said.
The group is hopeful updated Creighton zoning regulations may put that site back into play. In the meantime, they are looking into possible locations further away from the town centre for their building.
While finding a permanent location accounted for the lows, there was still many highs to celebrate, especially with their fundraising efforts, especially their lip sync battle in January.
“That was an amazing night,” Beaton said.
“The support we're getting from the community from Flin Flon, Creighton, and Denare Beach has been amazing.”
Beaton said the group is planning another lip sync battle for next year, and is brainstorming new fundraising ideas before they’re looking to hit the ground running in the fall.
“The summer is kind of like a downtime for us,” she said. “But we're all coming up with new ideas to start up in the fall.”