By Sherrie Norris
Middle Fork Baptist Church, located between Boone and Blowing Rock, is offering a new childcare service for parents of young children who need an occasional break in their busy, often stressful routines.
According to church member and program coordinator Jan Scurlock, Parents Time Out will begin in early August and is designed to give parents of children, ages 3-6, a mid-day break once every two weeks. Parents Time Out will allow parents to drop off up to two children for four hours at a time to give the parents uninterrupted time they need for themselves.
This is a program conducted by the ministry committee of the church and will begin Wednesday, Aug. 11.
“It always takes a village to do a project, and in this case it takes a church,” said Scurlock. “It’s a learning process for us, but we would like to give parents an opportunity for one day, twice a month, to have some quality time for themselves — whether for medical appointments, lunch with a friend, shopping, taking a nap, or whatever they might need.
“From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. we would like to help take care of children (potty-trained) between the ages of 3 and 6,” Scurlock added. “We will ask that parents bring the child’s lunch to avoid the possibility of any allergy concerns, a change of clothing and pull-ups in case of accidents. The church will provide a light snack, juice cups and water.”
During the four-hour sessions, children will be able to play games, hear a Bible story, sing songs, enjoy crafts and coloring — “most anything we can do to entertain them,” Scurlock described.
The program will be supervised by members of the committee, which includes a former pastor/musician, a retired ASU professor, a former para-legal and other retirees.
“We hope for this to become a long-term project, depending on participation,” Scurlock said. “We know there are numerous daycares and preschools in the area, and that some 6-year-old children will be going to school soon, but there are those others who might not be in a structured setting and can benefit from our program.”
There is a possibility the program hours will be extended in the future with trained childcare staff and a fee charged, if the need presents itself.
“But, for now, most of us who will be caring for the children are retired folks who love children and will be happy to help parents who need us for free,” Scurlock surmised.
Space is limited and registration will be accepted on a first-come, first- served basis.
Applications may be accessed on the church website (middleforkbaptist.com) under the heading of Parents Time Out.
Scurlock said it’s an easy form to complete and submit, after which parents will be notified of the next step. All information provided will be kept confidential.
For more information, visit the church website listed above or call Scurlock at (828) 295-4457. Middle Fork Baptist Church is located near Tweetsie at 268 Bishop’s Ridge Pkwy., Blowing Rock.