This page provides answers to some frequently asked questions about BGC. If you have a question that’s not listed here, please let us know and we’ll be sure to add it!
Strathcona County also has an FAQ page with information about the land transfer that you can see here.
About BGC Strathcona County
This is news to me, how long have you been planning this, and why is this building needed?
BGC Strathcona County has been serving the community for over 20 years. We started small, but have grown a lot over that time. In our early days, we would host 10 kids a day at one location. We now have 10 different program locations, serving over 500 children and youth daily. More than 5 years ago, we could see that we were outgrowing the community spaces we were renting and using for programming, and the needs of our community only continue to grow. Our increased demands and our current capacity don’t match, and they haven’t for a while. Wait lists for all locations continue to get bigger and bigger, the programs we provide are requiring more space, and we’re hearing our families speak loud and clear: we need more space to properly serve Strathcona County.
Over the past 5 years, we have been exploring all of the potential solutions, and have worked with various community partners, including Strathcona County and our local School Divisions. All of that hard work has led us to this exciting community building.
When will a building get constructed?
There is more work ahead, including more detailed design and gathering community feedback on the design. But we want to occupy a new building as soon as we can. We have been serving the needs of our community the best we can in the spaces we have been renting, but we know we can serve more needs and improve our programming and services with a new building that is owned and operated by BGC. If things go according to plan, we will have a grand opening in spring 2026, but we will be working hard to be done sooner if possible.
I’ve never heard of BGC, what are you guys all about?
BGC Strathcona County is a registered non-profit that operates under BGC Canada, one of this country’s leading national youth serving organizations. In Strathcona County, we’ve been around since 2001, focusing on providing high-quality services that promote healthy growth and development of young people and their families.
We serve over 2,000 Strathcona County youth and children annually through our three main streams of programs: our nature programs for outdoor learning that are open to children 3 – 9 years old, before and after school care in 8 different locations across urban and rural Strathcona County, and our free youth drop-in at the CanTeen Youth Hub. We also focus on providing public accessible programs like our evening programs, school sports programs, and summer camps for hundreds of kids.
We believe that every child and youth should have every opportunity, so we work hard to remove every barrier we can: whether it be financially, accessibility, inclusion, safe spaces — we try hard to be a support for everyone we can. As a result, we see that 92% of club kids find that they are more accepting of others, and more confident in themselves.
There are a lot of myths about BGC, here’s a few we think it’s important to address.
MYTH: BGC is just another daycare in Sherwood Park.
BGC is NOT a daycare. We offer many different programs and resources for children, youth, and their families. We run inter-club sports leagues and offer inclusive sports programming to schools. We have evening programs that give kids the ability to learn about their interests. We offer employment assistance programs, resume writing, and virtual network platforms. We’re active in the community and we support other nonprofits that provide services in Strathcona County. We work with government and with organizations like our school boards, the RCMP, and many others to ensure the best services are being provided to our children, youth and families.
Yes, we have licenced programs that adhere to the Alberta Childcare Standards, but we offer so much more than this. BGC is a movement across the country; a movement of opportunity for kids and youth so that everyone can be the best person they can be!
MYTH: BGC is only for underprivileged and for low-income families.
BGC is for EVERYONE. Our goal is to give every person in Strathcona County the same opportunities. We serve every single person that comes through our doors regardless of their financial background. We serve over 2,000 children and youth every year and only 30% of our members are supported by subsidy programs. BGC is here so that every single kid can feel included and respected, so that every youth can feel like they have potential, and so that every family can have the positive experiences that families should.
MYTH: BGC only deals with at-risk youth.
False! We don’t know how to say it without being repetitive — NO CHILD is turned away. We work hard to provide for every walk of life, to have resources for every stage of development, and to support in every way we can. Wherever BGC goes, we create positive role models. Having a BGC club in your neighborhood doesn’t mean increased risk or more concentrated “youth issues”. It means kids picking up garbage and shoveling walks. It means community focused individuals looking out for your community. It means positive experiences and smiles on kids’ faces!
MYTH: This proposed building will be a BGC building that serves BGC operations only.
Just like BGC’s mission of inclusivity, this proposed building is meant to respond to the needs of the community, not just BGC. Our dream is that this space will be a hub for all kinds of organizations to come together and talk about how they can contribute to all demographics of Strathcona County, and all ages, not just the ones we serve. We hope that everyone who wants to make their community a better place can use this space for both planning and for putting these plans into action. This community space is for everyone.
Programs, Location, and Community Concerns
How do I get more information about your programs?
You’re in the right place! Check out all our programs on our website (www.scbgc.com) under the “Programs” tab. You can also see more of what our programs look like at “BGC Strathcona County” on Facebook, @strathcona.bgc on Instagram, or @BGCStrathcona on Twitter.
You’ll see the incredible impact that BGC continues to have on the kids and youth of your community. In surveys taken across all locations in Strathcona County, 90% of kids in our clubs say that they are more accepting of themselves, and 91% say they’re more confident because of BGC. Our story in Strathcona County is something we’re so proud of, and we’d love to show you!
Is your programming open to anyone?
Our BGC Core Values state that kids and youth should feel a sense of Belonging, Respect, Encouragement, Support, and the ability to confidently Speak Out or Work Together with BGC staff, with peers, and with their community. We are founded on a strong belief in the positive potential of every child, and work hard to provide opportunities to support that. So, yes. Our programming is open to anyone and everyone who is interested, regardless of your ability to pay.
Being a “member” means that you’re part of one of our registered programs, but we do offer programs that are accessible by all of the community, in our sports programs, our evening programs, and our summer camps. However, the ability to participate is absolutely guaranteed; no child is ever denied access due to inability to pay. In fact, last year with hundreds of families on the wait lists for summer camps, we were able to think on our feet and double our capacity to answer the call of the community. We’re confident this new building will be able to help out with these capacity barriers!
My kids already go to BGC - will my fees go up?
We will not be increasing programming fees as a result of this new building. In fact, we plan to deliver more community programs with little to no cost.
Why do you want to build near the Brentwood Park/Brentwood Elementary School site?
We looked at many options over the past several years. The best way we can serve our community is by being as close to central Sherwood Park as possible and all that the area offers, such as Festival Place, County library, Sherwood Park Mall, Broadmoor Lake Park, etc. We also want to be within a very short walking distance to other existing amenities, such as playgrounds, parks, sports fields, public transit, natural areas, walking paths, etc.
When we looked at all of these factors, the Brentwood site was as close to perfect as we could ever get. We are excited about the potential to be a part of the Brentwood and Maplewood neighbourhoods and do our part in keeping this a great area to live and play!
But this site is already fully developed with the school, park amenities, sports fields, and great natural tree stands. How could there possibly be room for a new building?
You’re right, this site is awesome and that’s why we’re excited for the potential to be a part of it, and we hope to make it just a little bit better. But it is certainly difficult to construct a new building without impacting the site in some way. We love trees, we love park amenities and sports fields, and we love being near a school.
After conversations with County planners and engineers, as well as with our team of design professionals, we determined the least intrusive impact on the community as a whole would be to remove a portion of the natural tree stand. After conversations with forestry professionals, we focused our efforts on how not to disturb the most valuable tree stand from an ecosystem perspective and general enjoyment.
I moved to this neighbourhood because of the mature trees, and these wonderful natural tree stands. These valuable resources need to be preserved!
We couldn’t agree more. In fact, we provide nature programming where we promote the value of our natural environment. We are committed to minimizing how much of the tree stand we would impact. For example, we plan to construct a two storey building with a compact footprint, rather than a one storey building with a larger footprint, and we will continue to look at ways to replace as many trees as we can as part of the landscape design. And, we will be looking at which tree species are the best to replant, both for wildlife habitat and general enjoyment.
My child attends out-of-school care (OSC) at our neighbourhood school - what happens now?
We have great partnerships with our school divisions, both Elk Island Public and Elk Island Catholic. We have no plans to change how and where we run our OSC programs, with one exception – we would eventually stop operating from our Spruce Avenue Club. All of our Spruce Club programming would likely move to the new building, but we will continue to work with our school divisions to find the best ways to still meet OSC needs.
We are already working on a potential transportation plan for our Spruce Club kids and we will continue to serve Pine Street School and its surroundings at our new building. This transportation plan will have no additional cost to any of our families! Just keep in mind that we are still very much in planning stage for this proposed project and it would still be minimum 3 years away before anything changes.
What will happen to the CanTEEN Youth Hub?
We currently rent the space that is used for the CanTEEN and our administrative offices. We plan to continue operating the CanTEEN at its current location until we move into a new building. Once we move, our youth programming will move as well. And we are so excited, because we’ll continue to work with an amazing team of design professionals (architects, engineers, landscape architects, etc.) and will be gathering public feedback to make the new space as awesome as possible.
Infrastructure, Amenities, and Community Feedback
It’s a ‘zoo’ at Brentwood school during drop- off and pick-up times and this building would make things worse!
One of the reasons we want to be near Brentwood Elementary is because of the opportunity to partner with the school to provide out-of-school care. By doing so, we could help reduce the number of parents/caregivers picking up children after school because families would have the option for their kids to walk a few steps to our building and continue their awesome day with us! We would also continue to work with the school and the County to ensure the final design keeps safety for all users in mind.
What about parking?
As part of the building design, we would be required to provide an additional parking lot on site, so there would be minimal impact to on-street parking, and we will continue to work with the school to ensure little to no impact to school bus operations. Also, depending on when events are happening, our parking lot would be available for public parking for things like baseball games and practices.
We have been in communication with Elk Island Public Schools about the current parking lot situation, and the issues they currently have based on size and safety. We view our project as an opportunity to address some of these existing concerns!
Would anything happen to the sports fields or any other existing park amenities, like the brand new skating rink and spray deck?
During construction, to ensure everyone’s safety, there would be some temporary disruption to accessing park amenities and sports fields. We would work with the County and other user groups, such as Sherwood Park Minor Baseball and Strathcona County Minor Football, to minimize the impacts. But once construction is complete, all of the existing amenities would still be there for everyone’s enjoyment.
What would the building look like?
It would have a gymnasium — that’s a must for our programming. Active kids are happy kids, and 91% of club kids report being more active because of BGC. We would also plan to construct a two storey building, rather than a wider one storey building, in order to minimize the impact on the existing natural tree stands. There is of course more design work that would need to to be done, and we will share details and gather your feedback as part of that process.
For now, we do have a basic site plan, and some conceptual renderings that you can see here.
What do Brentwood Elementary School and Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) think about this? And what about the residents of Brentwood and Maplewood - when will they get their say?
We value the partnership we have with EIPS and we look forward to the new partnership opportunities that this building would create. We’re excited for the potential to be their next door neighbour, and we’re excited for the potential to be a part of the Brentwood and Maplewood communities. As the design progresses, we would continue to gather more feedback from the school and school board, and we would engage with residents and other stakeholders to gather their feedback as well.
How do I get more information?
How can I voice my support - how can I help?
This is a really exciting time for our community and we’d love to hear about it! If you would like to express your support for this amazing project and its incredible impact on the community, there are so many ways that you can get involved…
Provide a Letter of Support. These can be directed to our email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us all about how you’re just as excited as we are that this community support will be in place.
Send in a Testimonial of your experience with our programs to that same email at email@example.com so others can hear about the incredible work we do! We’re proud of our programs and know that you are as well, so it would be amazing to hear your stories.
If you don’t know about our programs or are unsure what we’re all about, you can volunteer in our programs or with our events! Check out our website to get involved. We love our community’s support. It’s how we currently thrive, and how we’ll continue thriving.
We’re having a public hearing at Council Chambers on February 14th. THe biggest way your voice can be heard is here. Speak on behalf of the club at our public hearing at 7:00pm! We would love to hear your voice. There’s some links here to grab your spot on the speaking queue here: https://www.strathcona.ca/council-county/mayor-council/council-meetings/public-hearings/
I have concerns, who should I talk to?
Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we want to hear your feedback about this proposed project and we look forward to working with you to address your concerns.