Yampa Valley Kids daycare hopes to provide a sense of relief to parents
Director Samantha Wilson hopes the center will open in mid-December once the state approves the operating licenses
After going through three baby-sitters in a matter of months for her youngest child, Samantha Wilson knew something needed to be done.
Finding good, reliable, affordable daycare in Craig was simply far too difficult for the mother of two, so she decided to take it upon herself to improve the situation.
Taking online classes while working a full-time job with Human Services in Moffat County, Wilson was able to quit her job to create Yampa Valley Kids daycare on Barclay Street, with the grand opening happening later this month.
“In May of this year, once we were on our third baby-sitter, I knew I had to do something,” Wilson said. “Everybody is struggling to find baby-sitting. There’s no one who will take part-time, or will be flexible with daycare; it’s just too difficult.”
In the summer, Wilson was on her way to a child support seminar as part of her job with Human Services. On her way to that seminar, she decided to start researching requirements to open a daycare facility. That same day, Wilson enrolled in five accelerated college courses to get her directors certification. Following her enrollment, Wilson talked to her husband’s boss, who owns the building at 354 Barclay St. Settling on the property, Wilson and her husband, along with a team of supporters began to develop what will soon be the primary daycare for 35 children right next to City Hall.
“We walked through a couple of different options for the daycare and settled on this one,” Wilson said. “It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been great. The biggest thing with this building is it has a big play area out back, which is something I found when researching. You have to have a play-space big enough for the amount of kids you’re going to take in, so this one worked perfectly.”
While the anticipation for the new daycare is sky-high within Moffat County, Wilson is unsure of when the facility will open due to some hiccups along the way. Construction issues within the building have popped up, causing some delays, but the support from the community and the excitement from those hoping to send their kids to Wilson has pushed her forward.”
“I didn’t think it would be this difficult, honestly,” Wilson said. “We’ve just run into a few minor issues here and there, but hearing the support from community members keeps me going. I keep telling myself ‘we can’t quit now because you have all of these people counting on this,’ so it’s really kept us going and pushing through some of the obstacles along the way.”
The only thing standing in the way of Yampa Valley Kids opening at this point is approval from the state of Colorado, giving Wilson the proper operating licenses. Last week, Wilson had an inspection at the facility that was a major step in the way forward for the facility. At this time, Wilson is fully staffed with a certified instructor in each room, as well as three aides total, allowing for every child in the infant, pre-K, and toddler rooms to be under constant supervision.
Following inspection, the state certification and operating license can take 2-3 weeks, according to Wilson. For now, she has to play the stressful waiting game in hopes of her business getting proper approval to open.
“We had to wait for all background checks on staff to come back as well as the inspection, so now that all of that is done, we’re just waiting on final approval,” Wilson said. “That’s where we’re at right now. I would really hope for us to open December 16, but I just don’t know where they’re at in the process. If not Dec. 16, then at the very latest January 1. We’re doing everything we can to be open sooner.”
While the process has been a labor of love for Wilson, she really hasn’t taken much time to reflect on what she’s done for the community so far, and hasn’t really had a chance to thing about opening day, whenever that day may be in the near future.
“I don’t think I’ve even had a chance to think about it,” Wilson said. “Every day there’s been something to address, whether it’s with the building or paperwork, whatever it may be; I just haven’t had a chance to think about it yet.”
Currently, enrollment in the infant and toddler rooms is full, according to Wilson, but there is still some room for pre-K children. However, Wilson says that despite being full in the two rooms, she still wants parents to reach out and see if they can make some things work with flexibility.
Despite the craziness in the buildup to get ready for opening, Wilson and her staff will host an Open House on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Open House will allow parents to take a tour of the facility, meet the staff and see if the setup is a fit for their child, all while enjoying hot cocoa, treats and kids activities.