Friday, 19 January 2018 06:34

Business leaders show commitment to Safe Places initiative

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The  Swift Current & District Chamber of Commerce board and staff met with Mayor Denis Perrault after completing their Safe Place certification, Jan. 12. From left to right, back row: Kelsey Adam, Doug Evjen, Brock Friesen, Mayor Denis Perrault, Karla Wiens, Lawrence Carr,  Mike Rogowski, Michel Deguire, and Kevin Sutter. Front row, from left, Mark Clements, Vim Parmar, Carla Carlson, and Ashley Stradeski. The Swift Current & District Chamber of Commerce board and staff met with Mayor Denis Perrault after completing their Safe Place certification, Jan. 12. From left to right, back row: Kelsey Adam, Doug Evjen, Brock Friesen, Mayor Denis Perrault, Karla Wiens, Lawrence Carr, Mike Rogowski, Michel Deguire, and Kevin Sutter. Front row, from left, Mark Clements, Vim Parmar, Carla Carlson, and Ashley Stradeski.

The entire board and staff of the Swift Current & District Chamber of Commerce have completed their training and certification to receive their Safe Places – Youth Certified cards.


They came together at City Hall on Jan. 12 for the announcement and to have a group photo taken with City of Swift Current Mayor Denis Perrault.
“We’ve been working quite some time to get everyone certified for the Safe Places initiative and we’re very proud and pleased to announce that our entire board and staff are now certified,” Chamber CEO Karla Wiens said. “I hope it demonstrates to our community that we take our responsibility to the youth that we are working with very seriously.”
It will become a standard requirement for future board members to complete the process to obtain their Safe Places certification.
“We will request that they attain their certification,” she said. “It’s really a good educational program that has been set up and it’s not an onerous program.”
The Safe Places initiative was launched in early 2016 by the City of Swift Current to reduce the risk of abuse and bullying for children and youth in the community. The initiative provides an opportunity for those who are leading activities or who come into contact with children to become youth certified through a four-step process.
A person is required to complete the Respect in Sport Activity Leader online training, and to do criminal record and vulnerable sector checks at the RCMP detachment.
One of the focus areas for the Swift Current & District Chamber of Commerce is to develop more programs that involve youth and young entrepreneurs in the community, which gives even more relevance to the organization's support for Safe Places.
“I think for anyone who is working in any shape or fashion with children or youth, this is a great initiative,” Wiens said. “Our chamber board is comprised of business owners who are very invested in our community and that involves our children as well. So they take it very seriously to be prepared and to assure the public and parents that we’re going to look after these kids.”
The Chamber of Commerce hosted the inaugural Business Connect banquet in Swift Current on Nov. 20, 2017 to provide an opportunity for business leaders and young entrepreneurs in the community to connect and to network.
“The business community in Swift Current is really strong in supporting each other and our community, and that really involves our young entrepreneurs as our future business leaders in the community,” she said. “So everyone was more than happy to attend and participate and the feedback from the event itself was it was a tremendous success.”
The event was attended by 44 students from Great Plains College and Swift Current Comprehensive High School, as well as 44 business leaders. Four students and four business people were seated at each table for the four-course meal. The students changed tables after each course to give them an opportunity to interact with as many business leaders as possible.
The event proceeds will be used to award a $500 scholarship to a student from the high school and another $500 scholarship will be awarded to a Great Plains College student.
The business chamber is planning to host this banquet as an annual event, and there is already significant interest in the next one. Wiens received calls from individuals who asked to be put on the list for the 2018 banquet and there was also positive feedback from students.
“There was a lot of discussion and there was a waiting list of kids wanting to sign up to attend,” she said. “So I would anticipate, with the [business] diploma program at the college, it will just keep getting bigger, and it’s great to see.”
Mayor Denis Perrault welcomed the commitment of the Chamber of Commerce to the Safe Place initiative.
“We are very thankful for the many organizations in Swift Current that have been true sponsors and supporters of Safe Places, and I was very happy today to be alongside the directors of our Chamber of Commerce, who believe in the importance of Safe Places as well,” he said. “I’m very thankful all of them are now Safe Places accredited.”
He felt the leadership by the board and management of the Chamber of Commerce will be an inspiration for other businesses in the community to participate in the Safe Places initiative.
“The Chamber of Commerce represents the majority of our businesses in our community,” he said. “Seeing the board of directors be leaders and champions in that, to me that should encourage their member businesses as well to want to be part of it.”
Since the launch of this initiative just over 1,200 individuals have received their Safe Places certification, and the Town of Gull Lake also adopted the Safe Places initiative for that community.
“It’s a very important program for our community,” Perrault said. “We are going to continue on with the process of growing our members and telling the story of Safe Places. We’ve got Gull Lake that signed on and we’ve got other municipalities that are looking at doing the same. So it’s a very important initiative and one that we’re very proud of in Swift Current.”

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Matthew Liebenberg

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