The Corman Park campus of the Ranch Ehrlo Society was filled with the smell of popcorn and the sound of upbeat music — and children’s cheers and laughter — as the campus celebrated its 15th anniversary.
The Ranch Ehrlo Society operates many group homes for children and adults in Saskatchewan, and the Corman Park campus is home to its smallest and newest campus.
“We’re very proud of our history … and we believe that we do great work for the community and provide support and services for kids with complex needs,” said clinical director Vance Heaney. “We’ve been doing an excellent job for 15 years, and we just want to let everybody know that we’re thankful and proud for all the great work they’ve done.”
Heaney has been working at the Corman Park campus, which includes two group homes that can house up to 10 children each, as well as a school, since it opened.
Wednesday afternoon’s festivities started in the school, where more than a dozen of the children who live at the home, along with staff and guests from the community, piled into the brightly-painted basement for a magic show.
With ‘Ranch Ehrlo 15th anniversary’ as the magic words, Saskatoon-based magician Curtis Strauss made cards, handkerchiefs and soft drinks appear and disappear, and even led a quick teaching session on how some of his tricks work.
Then, everyone filed outside for the 15th anniversary carnival, which included snacks, a bouncy house, races, and games like ring toss, bowling and tug-of-war.
Some children ran between the games, collecting tickets as quickly as possible to exchange them for prizes later on, while others ate cotton candy and danced in the courtyard.
“I think it’s extremely important to mark 15 years in the community,” said Ranch Ehrlo communications director Trudy Bosch. “This (celebration) is for the kids to know about us, and for the staff to celebrate — but it’s mostly for the kids.”
Bosch said most of the children who come to the Ranch Ehrlo Society — many of whom are from Saskatchewan, though some come from elsewhere in Canada — have “not had an advantaged life, either through trauma, generational trauma, neglect, poverty, different things like that have brought them into our care.”
That’s one of the reasons she said it’s so important to mark milestones.
“This (campus) exists to help them, and it was built for them,” she said. “It’s so nice to see these kids have fun and celebrate and enjoy life.”
Heading into the campus’s next 15 years, Heaney said there is a lot to look forward to. Plans are in the works to build a new emergency receiving home for youth who need a temporary place to stay, and that’s only the beginning.
“The biggest thing we’re looking forward to, on this campus, are the endless possibilities of growth and future development,” Heaney said. “We’re looking forward to providing more services, and providing opportunities to fill gaps in services in the Saskatoon area.”
— Local Journalism Initiative
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