In 2015, we hosted, co-hosted and participated in a variety of inspiring events - some you may have attended and some you might want to learn more about. Here are just a few of the amazing things we did together over the last twelve months.
Thirty people braved the cold and snow to join us at Cole Harbour Place for the Ideas Marketplace - an event that originated as a proposal from an earlier Stewards Meeting. Friends working on or exploring an idea pitched them to the assembled group, gathered feedback and made connections.
On March 25, business leaders came together in Amherst to tackle challenges in their region. We co-hosted the event with Cumberland County Life, a group founded by six business leaders who wanted to mobilize the community in response to the Ivany Commission report. The session was designed to promote collaboration and generate concrete actions that could be undertaken without government assistance to improve the economy.
Engage Inverness County invited us to join them at their annual gathering in April. Our very own Dan O'Rourke created this super video to capture the event!
On May 2, In partnership with many other great organizations, we celebrated surviving the #Snowmageddon that was the winter of 2015 by encouraging Nova Scotians to pull out their BBQs and invite their neighbours over for a good old-fashioned neighbourhood party on #ItsOK2GitOutsideDay!
More than 830 people across 12 communities and another 800+ watching on their computers, tablets, and phones were part of our first ever Stepping Up conference on June 16. Our #StepUpNS hashtag trended #1 across Canada for several hours - and was still being used 5 months later. Our team summarized the events of the day here. The following short video captures the extraordinary spirit of the day. Take a look.
After the conference, we compiled all of the ideas and projects that came out of the various sites on the Stepping Up Wiki. Ideas are organized by themes and geographic areas that are easily searchable. Check it out here.
In July, August and September, we took to the road on the Stepping Up Follow-up Tour to visit with each of the communities that took part in the conference. We were listening for ways that we can support groups ready to take action, to expand the conversation beyond our familiar circles and to learn who else needed to be a part of the conversation to strengthen our collective work.
Myrna Lewis joined us for Lowering the Waterline to give us a taste of Deep Democracy in action at a workshop attended by 50+ network members on October 8. As an exercise, participants were invited to share their views on a statement from the Ivany Report, which quickly surfaced two clearly opposing views.
Susan Szpakowski captured the details of the day here.
For the second year, we organized Share Thanksgiving in Nova Scotia. More than 1000 people participated as either hosts or guests - about two and a half times more than in 2014! We were really lucky to have great volunteers join us to help out as we matched host and guest families.
Nancy Watson shared the details with Haley Ryan of the Metro News. Check out the article here.
We held a Book Unlaunch for Al Etmanski's IMPACT: Six Patterns To Spread Your Social Innovation by Al Etmanski on October 28. Several of our social innovator friends joined Al for this fun-filled event at the Company House in North-End Halifax. Once again, Dan O'Rourke captured the magic of the evening.
The next morning, Al led a fantastic workshop based on his book for about 50 people at the Halifax Central Library. Mary Jane Lamond taught us a Gaelic song - collectively, we sounded wonderful! Stories were shared, ideas exchanged and a good time was had by all. Before he left, Al joined Dan O'Rourke and Susan Szpakowski for a podcast. If you missed seeing Al in person, check it out here.
In partnership with Treaty Education Nova Scotia and Canadians for a New Partnership, we hosted A New Partnership: Building Relationship Through Education, a public conversation about how aboriginal and non-aboriginal Nova Scotians can build a stronger relationship. We were in awe of the number of people who wanted to attend - in less than 24 hours, all of the available seats were filled!
Former Prime Minister Paul Martin and AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde addressed approximately 280 people gathered at the Halifax Central Library, followed by a facilitated conversation with panelists Jaime Battiste, Naiomi Mettalic and Cynthia Alexander. If you were unable to attend, you can get a sense of the day through the APTN coverage here.
On November 30, organizers from five different Stepping Up Conference locations gathered at NSCC Stellarton for a North Shore Conveners Gathering to connect and share what they have learned about catalysing change in their communities. The session was designed to test the concept of a regional approach to building networks of support. We shared stories and brainstormed opportunities for energizing and sustaining community engagement.
Wow, what a year! We can't wait to see what 2016 brings!