Snow days got you scrambling? New program offers relief for working parents

A new winter daycamp program offers salvation for working parents put in a bind by show days.

The Waynesville Recreation Department will offer a daycamp for elementary-aged children on days school is canceled for snow.

“We figured it was a good way to serve the community and fill a need,” said Colt Miller, with the Waynesville Recreation Department.

The cost is only $20 a day per child. Parents must register in advance by Friday, Nov. 15, however, in order to use the program this winter. Once enrolled, parents can pick and chose which snow days they use and only pay for what they actually use.

“If you are able to stay off work and be home with your kids, you don’t get counted for using those days,” Miller said.

Haywood County Schools averages nine to 10 snow days a year. But higher years have seen as many as three weeks worth of missed school, which is financially challenging for parents forced to miss shifts and lose pay for days on end.

Parents who don’t pre-register by Nov. 15 won’t be able to simply drop kids off on a snow day, however. One reason for the pre-enrollment is the need to plan for staffing.

“We have to project how many kids we’re going to have any given snow day so we can have the right number of staff here,” Miller said.

The snow day daycamp is the second new offering to be rolled out this year under the umbrella of Waynesville’s BaseCamp program for elementary-aged kids. Best known for its outdoor-themed summer daycamp, Waynesville BaseCamp began offering afterschool care for grades 1st through 5th this year.

The afterschool program was a direct response to please from parents grappling with a shortage of afterschool childcare in the Waynesville area.

The snowday daycamp was also in response to demand.

“We held a couple of meetings with parents from around the community and that was something they kept reiterating and said they wanted,” Miller said.

When pre-enrolling for the snowday daycamp, parents will pay $100 upfront for a bank of five days. A running balance will be kept for each family. As the pre-paid days get used up, parents can add additional days to their accounts.

Parents who don’t use all their “snow bank” of days get a refund at the end of the winter for any unused days.