There’s a new name and brand to fit the new responsibilities and try to clarify for people the services that an organization with a lengthy history in Sylvan Lake provides.
KCS is the new moniker for what used to be Sylvan Lake Kinder-Care Association and more recently was known as K-C Community Services.
“Over the past 34 years our programs and services have evolved as we embraced emerging needs within our community,” states information on the rebranding process. “With each change in service came the requirement to adjust our name. Although these changes were necessary, they presented confusion for community members trying to understand who we are and what we do.”
The most recent addition to the organization’s services, which began in 2010, has been serving adults with developmental disabilities or special needs, said executive director Ann Faulk. “So with adults we realized we needed to take some time to go through the rebranding process.”
President Wes Bott said they started out thinking it would be “a seemingly simple process” but “it turned out to be a monster”.
During the process, the organization contracted the services of Indigo Ice of Calgary to hold a number of “community conversations” with parents, staff, community members and the Town of Sylvan Lake. Then the board, along with key staff members and the assistance of former Red Deer College President Ron Woodward (Clock-builder Consulting) worked diligently to implement the recommendations received from Indigo Ice’s research. Tom Kostiuk was also hired to do graphic design work.
After about a year, the final outcome was a positioning statement, four pillars (which articulate the principals and personality of KCS), a logo, tag line and description of what they do.
Faulk said they explored many options for names but in the end found there was a “strong legacy of quality service” with their existing name and decided “to stay linked to that but somehow accommodate the new programs and services now and into the future”.
KCS is the link to the past. The butterfly has been part of the logo for years. “We went from tossing everything out to this,” she said. “It very much symbolizes the hope and possibilities for those we serve.”
The tag line, “Be Everything You Can Be” stems from the animated version of “Snoopy the Musical” the sequel to “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown”.
“That’s us,” said Faulk. “That’s it, people grabbed onto it right away.”
From their research, Faulk said they learned that people who knew the organization from experiences had a very positive view of it. “We hadn’t done work to define ourselves and get our message out,” she added. “If they’d had contact or been with us, comments were positive, excellent quality. If they didn’t know us, they didn’t know us.”
The organization’s services have been evolving. “We haven’t done daycare since 2000,” she said, explaining they need to articulate what they do.
With about 50 staff members, the organization serves 190 students in early learning, another 60 people with special needs from children through youth and adults, and provides summer camps for about 120 children and youth.
The early learning segment is based in the community centre but services for special needs people are community based. Respite, community aid, community access work experience are all out in the community. About 20 of their employees work mostly in the community. The junior kindergarten is housed in the Lions Hall.
Faulk explained, they don’t use the term persons with developmental disabilities, but instead talk about special needs because some of their clients have mental health issues or physical health issues beyond developmental disabilities.
A line below the tag line states: Early Learning, Special Needs, Family Supports.
Bott added the organization has a good relationship with Chinook’s Edge School Division and is able to provide services for youth moving into adulthood.
The organization got involved in serving adults after some of the people they’d been serving since they were preschoolers started turning 18. Otherwise they would have had to be transported to Red Deer for services.
In the two years since they expanded to this service, they have seven clients. Most are young adults although one is in his early 60s. “Our desire is to grow slowly, but we’re not going to turn people away,” said Bott.
Faulk added that their model of service is “to have them engaged in the community. To continue working with them into adulthood so they work here, have activities here.”
“With our model it’s important they’re rooted in the community,” she said.
That means they don’t encourage people to move from other communities to take advantage of their services.
“We’re not providing residential services,” said Bott. “They have to have their own family support. Most of the people have grown up in Sylvan Lake.”
Their introduction of the new brand, which was planned for a family picnic Friday evening that was cancelled due to weather, is considered “a soft opening” said Kostiuk. The campaign to get their name and services better known will begin in earnest in August leading up to the back-to-school period.
Faulk described the process of rebranding as very positive, a good process to sit down and say okay, who are we”.
“It wasn’t an easy task,” added Bott.
The organization’s positioning statements says: “KCS is a not-for-profit, charitable organization that builds upon a legacy of service for individuals and families. We provide enriched early learning programs to help young children gain a head start in life and readiness for school. We also assist children, youth and adults with special needs to develop their skills and participate in meaningful activities and work. We support families to identify their needs, build upon their strengths and connect to others in the community.”
The four pillars are: “We Make a Difference”, “We Are Friendly & Caring”, “We Are Persistent” and “We Are Personal.”