Growing Great Children’s Glamorous Side

A secret truth about parenthood? It’s not very glamorous.

So, when local moms are given a chance to dress up and ditch the kids, they jump on it – an insight that Growing Great Children has applied to its annual fundraiser, Glamour & Glitz Ladies Night Out, coming up at the Legion on Saturday December 8.  We checked in with group founders, Cathy Konkle Benns and Shannon Paul, to find out what’s behind the event and the Growing Great Children Gang.  (Follow them on facebook to stay in the loop.)

It’s an old saying, but a good one: that it takes a village to raise a child. Is that the intention behind Growing Great Children? To provide a sense of community support and resources to local parents, especially given that so many people here don’t have the benefit of extended family close by?

Growing Great Children, a community collective, is a group of volunteers interested in growing the resources for families of children 0-6 in the Pemberton area.

It really is a collective: we gather and collect all of those that are passionate about working with children. We are health care providers, childcare workers, outreach workers, receptionists, mothers and more. It is wonderful to have such a diverse crowd because there is so much input, and the one thing I can say about Growing Great Children is, we all support each other in making events happen. Sometimes we come up with an event and two weeks later it is happening!

Who started Growing Great Children? When?

Growing Great Children first started in December of 2008, when the Putting Children First Initiative reached out to Pemberton, Whistler and Squamish and asked for people to come together to make things happen in our communities for the families of children 0-6. We held our first meeting and looked at what Pemberton had to offer and what it needed.

Who is the driving force now?

Dr. Shannon Paul and myself (Cathy Konkle Benns) have co-chaired the group for the last two years. It was a natural fit, working as a Chiropractor and Massage Therapist in a practice that sees a lot of soon to be moms, babies, children, and post-partum moms, we see the large need for support for families. Emotionally and physically it can be the biggest change in your life.

Babies, babies babies….how many does Pemberton have?

We have had approximately 80 babies born every year in Pemberton for the past 6 years.

What makes it a good place to grow great kids?

Since Growing Great Children began, Pemberton has really changed and the resources for families have greatly improved. The Community Centre and Library opened in a central location, the pump track and water park were built, StrongStart BC was developed and launched at Signal Hill Elementary, Sea to Sky Community Services created an Infant Development Playgroup, the infant mother group put on by Public Health was moved to the library, and the Healthy Pregnancy and Outreach has become “the place to be” as a new mom.

What kind of resources has GGC added to the toolbox of a new Pemberton parent?

The first completed project was a calendar of what was happening in Pemberton for families to do, because at that point there didn’t seem to be just one place to look. Some of the resources that were available were only available if you had already been to a drop-in and heard about it from someone else. Programs were up and running but didn’t always know how to get the word out. We gathered all of the information and created a friendly easy to read calendar and then distributed throughout the town. The feedback was amazing. New parents, though they had lived in Pemberton for years, had never known what there was to do with a baby. New comers were excited to find the information at their fingertips. We have developed a blog ( and Facebook page to allow people to keep in touch and up to date via the web with the local children’s activities.

This is the 4th year for Glamour and Glitz – obviously there’s an appetite for Pemberton yummy-mummies to get dressed up and get together. What is the draw of the event? What have people liked best about it? What can they expect?

Glamur and Glitz, is really a night to celebrate the wonderful women of Pemberton. At this party you are not someone’s mom, you get to be just you, talk about you, and dust off those heels and pull out those dresses and feel beautiful. Tickets are $25 each and that includes all the amazing food, a drink, great shopping and a whole lot of prizes! This year we have decided to go with an “old Hollywood” theme, and we have a new location in town at the Legion. We are also introducing a scarf exchange where you bring a scarf that you are not wearing anymore and can buy a “new” one for only $5. This years event will be on Saturday December the 8th at 7:30, tickets are available at Pemberton Valley Wellness, One Earth Gifts and from Danielle Menzel Real Estate.

Glamour and Glitz does tend to sell out, so we always recommend getting your tickets well in advance.

Sometimes it seems as if Motherhood is a secret language, or a planet that one can only get to with a secret password… esp if you don’t have kids. For first-time parents, I imagine that that initiation is kind of overwhelming. How important is it for new moms to begin to create a sense of community and support around their new role?

The majority of Pemberton families do not have extended family nearby. So it really does take a community to raise a child, and it really does take a community to support a family. I think people feel very blessed here. Most people love that they can walk or ride their bikes to town, that they feel safe in their own home and that people actually know their neighbours.

Being a parent is a whole new world, there is no university degree available, and the job description changes everyday  – what was working yesterday doesn’t always mean it will work today. When parents get together they feel supported, they feel like they are not the only one who was up all night… or who hasn’t showered in three days. They learn from each other. This is why Growing Great Children focuses on offering events for families. The events we put on provide enrichment for the children, whether it be a musical concert, an imaginationed themed Pirate and Princess Party, or a bike safety rodeo. Growing Great Children tries to provide at least one activity per month.

So with the babies comes a lot of stuff and so came the need for the Kid’s Closet Clean Out. We host this event twice a year both in Spring and Fall, to help clear the clutter, allow families to reinvest in their kids and to help the environment by reducing, reusing and recycling. Not to mention you feel pretty great when you get an awesome deal and you didn’t have to drive to the city to shop!

Growing Great Children also takes a vested interest in our parks. We have recently donated funds to help with the rebuilding of the swingset at One Mile Lake, we have donated trees for shade at the water park and we plan to donate a bench for the new playground at Signal Hill Elementary.

What’s to Come?
We are starting off the year moving and grooving! Will Stroet children’s peformer is coming to town to entertain all of our kids. The show is January 12, 2013 at the Pemberton Community Centre. Doors open at 10 am and the show begins at 10:30, tickets will be available at the door.

The Pirate and Princess Playdate: Sail, Prance or Dance your way into this imagination filled event, with a bouncy castle, crafts, games and friends! This free playdate takes place on March 9th, 2013 at the Pemberton Community Centre from 10-1.

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  1. […] the people who live here. Happily for those of us breeding here in Pemberton in the last decade, a small volunteer group got started in 2008, and the Growing Great Children collective have miraculously managed to sustain their efforts for […]

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