Popular daycarefacility opens in new location

Published on Thu, Feb 16, 2006 by ack Kintner

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Popular daycare facility opens in new location

By Jack Kintner

A year ago the Semiahmoo Kids Kamp, a fixture for 10 years in Semiahmoo County Park, lost its lease. “The parks people wanted the building for their own programs,” said the child care center and pre-school’s owner and director, Elizabeth Fisher, “so we had to find a new place.”

Fisher, 47, and her staff of five closed the old location on Friday and opened their new place Monday in time for their tenth anniversary, and while the year was not easy, let alone the weekend taken up with the move, they’re pleased with the result.

The building in Semiahmoo County Park, formerly a part of the old APA cannery, was old-home comfortable and right next to the beach, so duplicating that location’s advantages seemed out of reach. After an extended search Fisher found an old 2,200 sq. ft. ranch house and horse barn on five acres at 4560 Legion Drive, next to the American Legion Post 86, the “Peace Arch” post near Blaine Road and Birch Bay-Lynden Road.

“If anything, this is better,” Fisher said, “with the space we have and the improved access, its much closer for parents and very convenient for the school bus.”

The Kids Kamp provides before and after-school day care for about 20 children and has a school bus stop in its driveway.
Once the property was obtained much work ensued, including “many trips to the county offices for permits and to interpret rules and fill out applications,” Fisher said, especially after finding out that half her property was officially a wetland.

“Among other things we were required to plant a tree screen, so we put in 63 different kinds of evergreens and maples,”

Fisher said, philosophical about the regulations because that comes with the business. “Running a fully licensed child care and pre-school is all about regulation,” she said.

Fisher is licensed by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) out of Olympia but must also pass frequent inspections by the state fire marshal’s office and food preparation inspections by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH).

Her staff all have professional child care credentials. A quick check found five other licensed child care/pre-school businesses in Blaine and Birch Bay (see below).

“The story here is how much help I got from all kinds of people to make this move,” Fisher said, mentioning local electrician Alan Johannessen, Larry and Pat Freeman of Freeman and Sons and Lloyd Ford and his family, of Blaine, who helped with the move, as did the paid staff and family members.

“Catarino Martinez and Cruz Muñez did a lot of outdoor work here after they got off their regular jobs,” Fisher said.

Fisher’s father was an Air Force pilot and flight instructor, so she “grew up everywhere,” but by the age of 18 had settled in Hawaii. After earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education she taught fourth through sixth grades at Epiphany, a private school near Diamond Head on Oahu run by the Episcopal Church.

She and her husband Andrew moved to Blaine in 1995 and she began the Kids Kamp the following year. They have two boys, 12-year-old Sean and 14-year-old Matt, both of whom attend Blaine middle school.
The new facility is light and airy with a sizeable playground, “and gives us a lot more space than we had in the park, since we couldn’t use the second floor of the building,” Fisher said, “but we have the same staff, the same phone, same hours, same program and even the same playground equipment, just in a different place.”

Fisher said she’s also going to still operate her summer day camp for children through the fifth grade, offering tennis, swimming and golf lessons through the facilities of Semiahmoo Resort. She has offered drop-in service for resort guests in the past, but for local people interested in her program she asks that people call and make an appointment before enrolling a child.

Staff includes program director Dyna Manzo who formerly directed a large child care center in downtown Vancouver, lead teacher DeEtta Quezon, who has 10 years’ experience as a Waldorf teacher and is also from Hawaii, lead teachers Ginny Sigfusson and Marie Bayer and after school teacher Ynna Kovalenko. Hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The day camp’s session begins when school’s out in the spring and closes when school begins again in late summer.

Local and licensed childcare and
pre-schools

(excludes church-run programs)

Busy Bees Home
Child Care
862 Harrison Avenue
392-8148

Ciara Cares
9751 Vista Terrace
332-3800

Linda’s Little Ones
881 Harrison Avenue
332-4029

Peace Arch
Play School
738 Adelia Street
332-5150

Semiahmoo
Kids’ Kamp
4560 Legion Drive
371-7285

Serendipity
Day Care
8096 Kayak Way
371-8688