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Tag: La Vonne Rideout

Brock Ramias, wearing his trademark number 23 yellow and green LCI Rams jersey in 2011.

#LiveLike23 football tournament carries a legacy

Many young men have a passion for football, and a love of the game and all it entails becomes part of who they are. This was the case for Brock Ramias.

As a student at Lethbridge Collegiate Institute, Brock stood out for his prowess on the field, his leadership, and his support of his teammates.

From the LCI Rams, he went on to play for the Calgary Colts, primarily as a running back or defensive back. He played both sides of the ball and on specialty teams.

Brock’s jersey number was 23.

His football family was very important to him and some of his best friendships were forged on the field. He was known for his hard work, competitive drive and sportsmanship. He left everything out on the field every time he played and he was always working to be better. While Brock worked at a number of jobs, his life’s occupation was football.

These words are from Brock’s obituary. He died Oct. 18, 2015, at the age of 20.

“His superpower really was relationships,” says Brock’s mom, La Vonne Rideout.

She and Brock’s grandparents, Tom and Carol Ferguson, are well known for their community service in Pincher Creek.

 

Heritage Acres Ad – – Pincher Creek Trade Show

 

Sharing laughs and memories over a day of football and a Mexican fiesta has become a way to celebrate a young man who made a difference in the lives of many.

Funds raised after his death created a base for the Brock Ramias Citizen Athlete Scholarship.

The $1,000 bursary is presented annually to an LCI student who shares Brock’s undying passion for their game, his kindness and determination to positively face challenges and influence others, and who values the importance of relationships with friends, family and all individuals.

“Brock was so committed and passionate about doing well, he really put all of his energies and efforts into being his best and helping those around him be their best,” says La Vonne.

“He recognized that most sports are not individual; when every member of a team does well, the whole team thrives.”

She loves the idea of a scholarship in Brock’s name. It is awarded to students who care about doing their best while helping everyone around them thrive and be the best they can be.

In 2016, the family asked people to do random acts of kindness, which led to a friendly football scrimmage. The next year, the family began hosting the Brock Ramias Memorial Flag Football Tournament, with proceeds raised to support the scholarship fund.

 

Grassroots Realty Ad – – Pincher Creek Trade Show

 

From an adults-only game — people who played with or knew Brock and his brothers — the tournament has grown to three divisions.

Last Sunday, six adult, six bantam and two peewee teams came together for a day where the gathering of people, both players and spectators, and a motto of #LiveLike23 was as important as the game.

Cougars teams, with players mostly associated with Catholic Central High, took the top spot in all three divisions this year.

The event is like a family reunion where the family keeps growing and all are welcome.

La Vonne says it’s a labour of love for her oldest son, Brett.

“He is the one who spearheads the tournament and I try to be the best sidekick I can be.”

Family members come from all over the province and friends pitch in as well. Donations and sponsorships are beyond what La Vonne thought would ever be possible.

“I can’t thank them enough for holding Brock in their memories and hearts,” she says. “It’s not just the game, it captures the essence of a big part of who he was.”

La Vonne believes more people are understanding the “why” behind the event as it grows — the importance of relationships and of eliminating the stigma around opioid addiction.

While carrying Brock’s legacy forward, La Vonne encourages people to find something they love and do it well.

 

 

Shown at the Brock Ramias Memorial Flag Football Tournament are Pincher Creek players Ben Poloni and Will Schoening. Also donning blue Mustangs jerseys for the Sunday games at the Servus Sports Centre in Lethbridge were Brady Bonertz, Boston LeJan, Cody Querengesser, Rigdon Perry, Austin Norris, Layton Bailey and Keaton Tipple. They won the first game against the Coaldale Spartans but took a loss to the Cougars after being tied for much of the game.

 

Pig roast at wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.
Child-care worker, a dark-haired woman wearing glasses and a blue shirt, talks to three preschoolers

Child-care crunch looms amid staffing shortage

 

Pincher Creek’s child-care facilities are operating well below capacity due to a persistent shortage of qualified staff, according to La Vonne Rideout, municipal director of community services. 

There are 159 child-care spots available at the Pincher Creek Community Early Learning Centre between the town’s Canyon Creek and Sage facilities, whose combined staff looks after around 95 children. The facilities are running at 60 per cent of total capacity, leaving about 50 kids on each waitlist, Rideout told Shootin’ the Breeze, Thursday, Jan. 5.

 

Nellie Maund-Stephens, smiling woman with scarf covering head, is a parent with concerns about child care in Pincher Creek.
Nellie Maund-Stephens and her husband waited nine months to get their young son into Pincher Creek’s Canyon Creek early learning centre. Photo by Laurie Tritschler

 

Caught in the middle are parents like Nellie Maund-Stephens, whose three-year-old son Kaysen started at Canyon Creek Friday morning — nine months after he was waitlisted at Sage. 

“I can finally breathe a huge sigh of relief, knowing that I have consistent and good child care,” Maund-Stephens said Friday afternoon.

She and her husband Mark are both shift workers. Nellie is a veteran firefighter/paramedic at Pincher Creek Emergency Services, Mark the newest doctor at the town hospital, and the last nine months have been “a scheduling nightmare” for both parents. 

“It was very hard trying to juggle our schedules,” Maund-Stephens recalled Friday.  “We had to call on friends and family a lot — often at the last minute.” 

Maund-Stephens hopes to ramp back up to full-time at PCES now that Kaysen is at Canyon Creek. 

“Childcare is something that seems to fall on women. It makes it incredibly hard for a woman to advance her career when she has to take time off to take care of her kids,” she said, qualifying that it’s just as hard for single dads. 

 

Pincher Creek Curling Club – – Pincher Creek Trade Show

 

Rideout agrees. 

“The reality is that child-care is an essential service,” she told Shootin’ the Breeze. Town hall realized as much when Children’s World Daycare, which had been a mainstay in the community for decades, closed down in 2018. Child care became vital to Pincher Creek’s economic development when families started turning down jobs in town Creek for lack of child-care options. 

The town purpose-built Canyon Creek and Sage next to Canyon Elementary and St. Michael’s schools, leasing the facilities to the Pincher Creek Community Early Learning Centre when construction finished in the summer of 2020. 

PCCELC has been up against a staffing crunch from the start, despite the federal government’s initiative to reign in child-care costs. 

The Government of Alberta was one of the last provinces to sign on to Ottawa’s affordability grant, which seeks to deliver child-care at $10 per day. 

“The (provincial) government recognizes the need, but they’re not doing what they need to do for service providers to recruit and retain staff,” Rideout explained. 

 

La Vonne Rideout – a smiling woman with long blonde hair – is director of community services for the Town of Pincher Creek
As director of community services for the Town of Pincher Creek, La Vonne Rideout oversees both sites of the Pincher Creek Community Early Learning Centre. Photo by Laurie Tritschler

 

Child-care programs in Alberta are licensed by the ministry of children’s services, which sets certification requirements for child-care workers and minimum staff-to-children ratios at licensed facilities. 

The ministry puts child-care workers through three certification levels: Level 1 workers need to complete an online orientation course that runs between 60-70 hours. Level 2 workers have to finish a one-year program at an accredited post-secondary institution, while Level 3 workers need a two-year diploma or higher.  

Rideout said staffing shortages are the norm when the industry rewards extensive training with perennially low wages. Level 1 workers made $16.75 per hour last January, with roughly $18 and $20 hourly wages for Level 2 and 3 staff, according to recent statistics posted to the Government of Alberta’s website. 

The United Conservatives’ Child Care Grant Funding Program supplements employer-paid wages based on certification levels. At most, these “top-ups” add around $8.50 per hour for Level 3 employees, amounting to an average wage of $28.50 per hour starting this new year. 

PCCELC pays better than the provincial average, but Rideout said child-care workers aren’t making a living wage even after the government top-ups. 

“Child-care has always been provided on the backs of people who enter the field. And it’s mostly women who do the work,” Rideout said. 

 

Wild Developments Ad – – Pincher Creek Trade Show

 

At a broader level, Rideout said the federal child-care initiative is filtered through a provincial framework that undermines child-care programs. 

In order to receive affordability grant funding, child-care facilities must agree to cap fee increases at three per cent per year. For comparison, the national consumer price index rose by around 5.5 per cent, excluding food and gas, according to a December 2022 report by Statistics Canada. 

“It’s always been about making child-care more affordable, which I get,” Rideout said. The problem is that the province’s user-pay model can’t sustain the child-care industry over the long-term. Public schools and hospitals don’t run on a user-pay model, because education and health care are essential services rather than money-making businesses.  

“[The UCP] is all about supporting business in this province, but they’ve tied childcare’s hands. I’d love for them to tell dentists that they can’t charge more money,” Rideout said. 

In the meantime, Rideout said the PCCELC would probably need to hire the equivalent of four to five full-time staff at Canyon Creek and Sage in order to clear their waitlists. 

Rideout then thanked the staff that have stayed on throughout the pandemic. 

“It’s a hard job. It’s a really hard job. My hat’s off to our team: They do amazing work.”

 

Three preschoolers gaze out a window
Photo by Laurie Tritschler

 

 

Ad for Aurora Eggert Coaching in Beaver Mines

 

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Laurie Tritschler author information. Photo of red-haired man with moustache, beard and glasses, wearing a light blue shirt in a circle over a purple accent line with text details