December newsletter


Happy Holidays!

We know your attention is pulled in a variety of directions at this time of year. So with that in mind, we’re keeping this newsletter short and sweet – mostly taking the opportunity to pass on our best wishes for a joyous and peaceful season, plus giving you a quick update on a couple of key events.

Whatever is beautiful,
Whatever is meaningful,
Whatever brings you happiness...
May it be yours this Holiday Season
and throughout the coming year.

The Engage Nova Scotia Team (Danny, Nancy, Isabel, Dan, Susan, Elizabeth and Amy) 

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November newsletter


Photo courtesy of Sera Thompson

October brought a sense of abundance at Engage, with a hugely successful Share Thanksgiving campaign, three impactful events, and an exciting partnership on the horizon. Meanwhile, we continue to walk alongside groups and communities that are coming together to address their challenges. Later this month we will be travelling to Stellarton to meet with Stepping Up conveners from communities across the northern mainland. Together we will begin to identify tools, resources and strategies that will help us all be more effective. This conversation will continue to evolve and travel to other parts of the province in the coming months.
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October 2015 newsletter


We’re flying high at the Engage office, after a very successful Share Thanksgiving campaign (279 newcomers sitting down with Nova Scotia families this weekend), a remarkable Deep Democracy demonstration, and more exciting events on the horizon.

We wish you and your friends and families a warm Thanksgiving weekend, as we enjoy the bounty of our beautiful province.

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How to Have Impact

Lessons from Al Etmanski & Six Nova Scotian Changemakers


If necessity is the mother of invention, who is the other parent? Al Etmanski began his “book unlaunch” in North End Halifax with this unlikely question. His answer was just as unlikely. He said that when necessity comes together with love—with caring and passion—we have what it takes to have long-lasting impact. Successful changemakers are “passionate amateurs” who see a need and respond because they care, not just because it’s their job description.

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Lowering the Waterline

Notes from a Deep Democracy Workshop


How many of us avoid conflict at all costs? If you nodded—or winced—you’re not alone. In our families and communities, conflict is often pushed away as unwanted, even dangerous, because it can tear apart relationships and threaten our well-being. It can hurt!

But when well managed, conflict can also be an opportunity for growth. And besides, if we keep covering it over, it ends up costing us more, because we get stuck in endless loops, bickering over the small issues because we don’t dare face the big ones. The only way through is to head into the storm and embrace conflict. This was Myrna Lewis’s opening message at the recent Deep Democracy workshop in Halifax. Some of us were skeptical.

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Culture and the deeper patterns of change

Al_Etmanski.jpegA conversation with Al Etmanski

“We need to pay attention to what we already know.”

Al Etmanski is talking to the Engage team about his visit to Nova Scotia next month and the “unlaunch” of his new book. “Who wants to go see an author up on a stage reading a couple of paragraphs from his book?” he asks. “And anyway, the book doesn’t need the spotlight. Let’s shine the light on people who are doing the work, who are making their communities a better place. We’ll ask them to share what they’re learning. We’ll ask them to look for the deeper patterns and connections, and tell that story. And then I’ll just weave in a few themes from the book.”

So that’s the plan for October 28 at the Company House in Halifax. It will be an Unlaunch. And there will be story-telling, music, spoken word.

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Engage talks to Myrna Lewis

myrna_lewis.jpgMyrna Lewis is co-founder of the Lewis Method of Deep Democracy. Originally trained as a clinical psychologist, she entered the corporate world as HR director in 1984. She then she has since been facilitating large-scale transformation processes within corporate, NGO and social activist organizations in South Africa and internationally. Myrna is recipient of a 2001 Ashoka Fellowship award, which supported her work with South African teachers and HIV/Aids counsellors. In 2012 Myrna became involved with the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, which used Deep Democracy to involve citizens in major decisions through large-scale community dialogues. Myrna continues to travel the world to facilitate Deep Democracy training and processes.

Recently, Dan O'Rourke spoke to Myrna to learn more about Deep Democracy. Listen to the podcast below.

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September 2015 newsletter


Thanks for the hospitality!

Many thanks to our hosts in the communities we visited over the summer—in East Hants, Amherst, Greenwich, Middleton, Sydney, Truro and Tatamagouche. 

This is the season to be grateful for the harvest of summer, to share the bounty with family and friends, and extend our hospitality to others. We've heard a similar theme in follow-up conversations to the Stepping Up conference. Conveners are now realizing it's time to reach beyond their familiar circles. They are asking, Who else needs to be in this conversation? Who are the new friends and allies that could help strengthen our work? This is often challenging to do, but making the effort will make all the difference—business leaders reaching out to community folks, community leaders reaching out to their municipalities, and everyone looking for ways to engage more youth and newcomers. 

In that same spirit, Engage is once again playing match-maker for Thanksgiving dinner. Sign up now, as guest or host, and enjoy summer's bounty together.

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August 2015 newsletter



The Engage team takes to the road, visiting communities that hosted the Stepping Up conference, as we listen for ways we can support groups ready to take action. Meanwhile, the post-conference wiki is brimming with ideas and connections.

"Let's say you're interested in projects related to youth. Simply go to the search bar at the bottom of the wiki page, click on "categories," type "youth," and you will be directed to over 33 pages of ideas."

Read the newsletter here.

July 2015 newsletter



A first report on the June 16 Stepping Up conference, including photos, tweets, numbers, press, and emerging next steps. 

"I left feeling hopeful that we are entering a new way of working and thinking, but not so naive as to think we don't still have a long road ahead." —Jennifer D'Aubin, co-founder, Think BIG (Bridgetown Improvement Group)

Read the newsletter here.


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