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(PHOTOS) Former Gillette daycare director opens new business

Campbell County Chamber of Commerce welcomed the opening of Meme's Play Space June 1. (Mary Stroka/County 17)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Connie Van Woerkom, who was the director of Scotty’s Toy Box Infant and Toddler Center on Shoshone Avenue in Gillette, said that as she’s going to be 60 very soon, she has decided to “kind of slow down a little bit.”

Children can climb through a tunnel, among other activities. (Mary Stroka/County 17)

For her, that meant starting a new business. She’s opening a play center for families after closing her daycare center.

Owning Meme’s Play Space — located at 620 N. Highway 14-16, Unit N, in Gillette — will allow her to help provide children, parents, grandparents and other caregivers a place in the community where they can come together for fun and bonding in a safe, clean environment, she said. Meme is a French nickname for a grandmother. Van Woerkom and her helper, Kathryne Larson, will pay attention to what the community wants and update toys and activities accordingly.

“So, like the train table, for instance. If they’re really into it, I won’t change it out,” Van Woerkom said, “but if we watch continually and nobody’s playing with the dinosaurs, then we’ll put something different out.”

The center has a train table and make-believe sets, among its many diversions for children. (Mary Stroka/County 17)

She has a comment dropbox, and she plans to survey customers.

Dolls are among the many toys available for children at the center. (Mary Stroka/County 17)

The center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, but weekend hours could vary, as the center will also be a birthday party venue. The center is first-come, first-served, or caregivers can call for a reservation. There is no charge for parents or caregivers. It’s $10 per day for the family’s first child and $5 per additional child.

Birthday party planners would rent the entire center, which includes a party room. The rental fee for birthday parties is $200, plus any “add-ons” organizers are interested in. For example, children can have a one-hour visit from a selection of Disney or Cocomelon characters.

. Connie Van Woerkom, left, and Kathryne Larson staff the center. (Mary Stroka/County 17)

The center has a Facebook page, and it will have a booking website as well.

For now, the center doesn’t need toy donations, but that could change in the future as toys might break, Van Woerkom said. She plans to open the center this weekend.

“I hope the community’s excited,” she said.

The Salvation Army Gillette used to be at the site. It moved to 209 Stocktrail Ave.


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