Task Group Highlight: Critical Hours Training Day 2022

On November 2, OCYI’s Critical Hours Task Group (CHTG), composed of staff from over a dozen critical hours programs across Ottawa, hosted their first in-person training conference since 2018.


This event provided an enjoyable day for new and returning frontline staff at before/after school programs, recreation programs, homework clubs or tutoring programs, youth drop-in programs, or other programs supporting kids and youth across the city, to come together and learn.


According to Beth Tooley, Co-chair of the CHTG and Coalition Coordinator, Ottawa Coalition of Community Houses, this day was especially important given all that has changed since the pandemic began. “As so much has happened since the last CHTG staff training event, it was important for us to provide professional development opportunities that addressed the needs of frontline staff working in child and youth programs. Building the capacity of frontline staff to be more aware of and responsive to the mental health and wellbeing of young people is a priority for the Critical Hours Task Group.”


Held on the beautiful grounds of the Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre, 73 staff from 34 organizations gathered for a shared opening keynote session followed by a choice of morning and afternoon sessions. OCYI was pleased to cover the cost of the conference with the in-kind support of several funders. This meant that staff could attend at no cost, reducing barriers for many. Additional funding from Crime Prevention Ottawa ensured that 20 participants across nine organizations received staff support funds to attend the conference, increasing accessibility.


Matthew Teghtmeyer, Manager of Innovation, Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre, and CHTG Member, spent the day onsite greeting guests and making sure that everyone had what was needed. "It was wonderful to have so many frontline workers learning and connecting together. It felt so good to be able to convene in person again after more than two years of conferences over Zoom! The guest speakers were fantastic and the logistics ran super smooth. Thanks to everyone for a great day."


When reflecting on the day, Beth found the event to be a success and important for many different reasons. “It was great convening frontline critical hours staff after all these years, many of whom were new to the field. Participant feedback really highlighted the importance of frontline staff networking and collaborating with other child and youth serving programs across the city.”


Thank you to the CHTG for organizing and hosting the Critical Hours Training Conference and to the following organizations who provided funding or in-kind services:

  • City of Ottawa—Recreation, Cultural, and Facility Services
  • Crime Prevention Ottawa
  • Jewish Family Services
  • Ottawa Catholic School Board
  • Ottawa Coalition of Community Houses
  • Rideauwood Addiction & Family Services

This story is part of the December 2022 Ovation. This story is also available in French.