September 2016 newsletter

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Photo courtesy Eric Lemoine

Like so many Nova Scotians, the Engage team spent precious time this summer enjoying our beautiful province with friends and family. The staff and board also gathered for a day in Inverness County, where we hiked to Uisge Ban falls and then listened to local Councilors and young Mi’kmaq leaders, who deepened our understanding of Cape Breton life, its promises and challenges.

This summer we also set the table for two upcoming events—a visit from Adam Kahane, who will bring his experience working with “tough collaborations” around the world; and Share Thanksgiving, where newcomers sit down for a meal and conversation with their Nova Scotian hosts. Check your calendar and sign up for these exciting opportunities now.

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Who is Adam Kahane?

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Today in Nova Scotia, as in many other parts of the world, we are learning that no magic bullet or imported solution will solve our problems. Instead we need to put our heads together and roll up our sleeves in ways we haven't done before. Just as each community's challenges are unique, so are the solutions.

At the same time, we can learn from others who have traveled down similar paths. We can avoid some of the same pitfalls and look for tips and strategies that will increase our chances for success.

This fall, Engage is joining with the Province of Nova Scotia and Dalhousie University to welcome Adam Kahane to Nova Scotia. The lecture, seminar and workshop he will lead in Halifax September 26-28 will draw on his 25 years of personal experience in the trenches of "tough collaboration."

It turns out that Adam Kahane is no stranger to Nova Scotia. From 2005 to 2014 he travelled annually to the Authentic Leadership in Action (ALIA) week-long summer institutes in Halifax. Like others on the faculty, he came not only to share his expertise and lessons from the field, but also to take part in a dynamic learning community. He brought his questions as well as his successes.

During those years, Adam got to know many Nova Scotians and the issues they were tackling. So when Engage expressed interest in a visit, Adam welcomed the invitation to return.

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July-August 2016 newsletter

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Photo courtesy Shirley Robb

In June we continued to be on the airwaves and in communities around the province, asking questions about what we value as Nova Scotians and how we can better live up to our potential. 

We've been impressed by the turnout and level of candor people have brought to some of our more difficult issues. If you want to learn more, explore some of the the final reportphotos and audio links.

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June 2016 newsletter

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Photo courtesy Sheree Fitch

Can we strengthen Nova Scotia’s economy without losing what makes our province special? How can communities work together to create more opportunities for everyone? 

If you dial in to Mainstreet, you've been hearing the buzz around questions like these. Engage and CBC Radio have been co-hosting community conversations in Sydney, Digby, Pictou County, and Halifax.

Through live polling and small group discussions, we've been finding out what people believe is special about their communities, what success means to them, and what barriers get in the way. In Sydney, many said that Cape Bretoners have a blindspot about their own strengths and assets. They want a vibrant local culture, youth retention, more good jobs, and a stronger shared vision. In Digby, people said that one of the region’s greatest challenges was working together across diverse communities. Many expressed a desire for more inclusion, trust and collaboration. 

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May 2016 newsletter

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Photo courtesy Tynski Photographic

It’s been a lively time, as people from Yarmouth to Sydney tune in to an Engage series on CBC Radio’s Mainstreet program. For five weeks in a row starting April 11, Danny Graham and host Bob Murphy kicked off a different topic every Monday, sparked by the results of a survey involving 1000 Nova Scotians. This was followed by a panel discussion on Wednesday, a weekly online blog, and video clips from people around the province on Facebook. 

And what were all these people talking about? Our attitudes and how they can either propel us forward or hold us back. You may remember that the Ivany Report said that our economic and demographic challenges can’t be solved without a shift in mindsets. So Engage set out to discover what we actually believe and what we are each willing to do to make our province all it could be. 

Click here if you missed the fun. And be sure to join the conversation on Facebook

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April 2016 newsletter

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Photo courtesy John Sell

As green shoots and early flowers begin to appear through the last tinges of frost, Engage is beginning a new cycle of activity. In the coming months we will be sparking province-wide conversations, supporting and connecting community-based groups who are taking action, growing a provincial network of leaders and change-makers, and contributing to partnerships that lead to systems change. Coming up first—a conversation about what we think and how we feel about our province and its future.

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March 2016 newsletter

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Photo courtesy Windhorse Farm, New Germany

It’s still chilly - and maybe it’s risky to even say it out loud - but it seems there’s a hint of spring in the air. As world politics and other trends make our fair province seem even more attractive, we can soon look ahead to a summer of enjoying the glorious outdoors with visitors and friends. 

At Engage we are getting ready to launch a portfolio of activities for 2016/17. We will soon gather input from our strategic advisory group. This group will meet online, so that people can participate from all corners of the province. Watch for updates!

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February 2016 newsletter

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Photo courtesy Alexander Szpakowski

Recently the Engage team has been taking a fresh look at where we’ve been and where we want to go in 2016. The first thing we notice is how much we accomplished in 2015—from the Stepping Up conference (in 12 communities!) to the candid and spirited New Partnership dialogue among federal, provincial, and Mi’kmaq leaders. From “walking alongside” community action groups to inviting Nova Scotians to share Thanksgiving dinner with new neighbours. From making available promising new tools to applying them in our own work. If you haven't already, take a look at the 2015 Year in Review here.

Each of these projects could lead to many more—but will they get us to where we need to go? Right now our best answer is “yes...and maybe not.” We are confident that many large and small positive actions across the province will take on a life of their own and build in ways we cannot predict. For example, a recent survey told us that 42% of people who attended the Stepping Up conference joined or started a new project that day, and 80% of those projects are still continuing. At the same time, digging deeper into one or two focus areas will help Engage move its work closer to root issues and solutions.

We invite your input as we take next steps in our planning. So far over 80 people have volunteered to be part of an advisory group that will meet in the coming weeks. Join them by signing up now.

—the Engage team: Danny, Nancy, Susan, Dan, Elizabeth and Jennifer

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How local action starts and spreads

Engage talks to Dana Perry, Community Sector Council NS–Valley

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“When we try something new, it helps to keep our expectations low.” Dana Perry has a modest way of talking about the monthly sessions he facilitates with Nina Barnaby and Michel Carty at the NSCC campus in Digby. The group had just had their fourth monthly meeting a few evenings before, with a turnout of 60 people—twice the number that came for the first session in September. So their numbers were steadily rising, not dropping off, and all six of the initial action projects were still going strong. The people who turned out came from all corners of the community and included business owners, nonprofit leaders, the local mayor, their MLA, educators, and volunteers. 

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Year in review - 2015

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.

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