Aside from everything else, this 2021 year has also been a whole series of mini-milestones for me:
- the 10th anniversary of Buddings incorporation, last February;
- a 10 year anniversary lunch with my bookkeeper - the amazing Maggie Geiser, last July. We both rode our bicycles to that first meeting, and right away, knew we would get along!
- My 5-year criminal record check is expiring again, my loan insurance needs to be renewed... and;
- on Nov. 18, we'll be celebrating 10 years in operation!
<-- Check the view from the front entrance, 10 years ago today!
We've come along way, Buddings Broadway!
What have we accomplished?
A decade of flexible care! 🙂
Back in 2011, Vancouver had never seen an option for childcare when they needed it. Our opening made headlines, and over the years, we have consistently been recognized for our unique way of serving our families' needs.
In the last 10 years, I'm very happy to acknowledge the shift in political will when it comes to funding conventional childcare, but while families continue to sign our petition, it has been frustrating to continue to report no support for flexible needs.
We have heard acknowledgement from every level of government that family work-life schedules have shifted away from 9-to-5, but despite the massive economic shift to working from home wrought by COVID-19 in the last two years, "flexible daycare" is still unrecognized by childcare licensing at Vancouver Coastal Health, and families who use it remain excluded from subsidies they would receive if their needs were more conventional.
Buddings and other flexible programs are ineligible for expansion grants, the $4 wage enhancement for hiring ECEs, and the childcare recovery programs from the pandemic.
This makes it harder to attract staff, open new locations, and recover... but Buddings wasn't created to take government money. It was created to prove that childcare could be better - more responsive, more affordable, and especially, flexible.
In that, we're calling it a success! 😉
Committed to Sustainability
In the last 10 years, I've also seen a shift towards sustainability, and corporate responsibility, in the small business realm, at least. BC introduced Canada's first "Benefit Company" legislation in 2019, and I'm proud to say that Buddings has legally committed ourselves to "conducting business in a responsible and sustainable way."
Should we get an award ... ? Probably not.
But we do get an assessment, and submit a report. For our corporate year ending in 2021, we used the B Impact Assessment tool from B Corp, and earned an unaudited score of 127.9!
Since transparency is part of accountability, you can find our report by clicking here.
Taking swapping online!
Since 2012, we've been helping families recycle and stock on their growing children's clothing and accessories. When in-person was out-of-fashion, we moved our semi-annual events to Shopify!
You can hop over to 2loops.ca to schedule a donation, pick-up purchases, or offer your services at our volunteer-run recycling initiative that has sent almost 500 pieces of children's items back into circulation, since launching in July.
Click here to find out more!
Committed to Innovation
Moving with the times...
When the global pandemic sent everyone home from school, and work, and daycare, we moved our Big Kids Club program online, working with talented teachers virtually, and bringing flexible education home!
Click here for a video of our World of Dance class!
2020 was pretty crazy, but this class, and idea were actually so much fun...
... but so stressful! We're definitely happy to be back in class!
So what's next?
I love solving problems, and making improvements. And documentation!
If you didn't know that I'm a policy nerd, you can ask any of my employees, or read through this website.
After 10 years, we have a snack manual that includes procurement policies, a parent handbook, How It Works, and half a dozen how-to posts, for families, and a documented 6-week training program for new teachers. We love to support them in all their professional goals as well! In fact, our staffing policies are a big part of our high Impact score - 100% of Buddings staff earn a living wage. (Another award! ... Probably not.)
It took time to develop and express those values, so even after 10 years, I feel extremely lucky to find myself in an industry that never stops developing! Of course I mean the children!
But I also mean the teachers!
Every year, at some point, I realize that I am completely surrounded by amazing teachers.
Young women (that's just how it is) who come to my workplace, committed to the care and education of Vancouver's amazing kids. Teachers with unique and beautiful perspectives, from all over the world, who want to share what they know with children, and with me.
They help Buddings grow and adapt. They push us to make new goals, and keep me motivated to keep improving!
It's a privilege to be able to offer them the opportunity, and a responsibility that I couldn't be more honoured to uphold.
I am grateful, and proud, of what Buddings has become, and I can't wait to share the future with you.