As we approach summer, our many projects are heating up and taking off. We are finding creative ways to support municipal-led citizen engagement in communities across the province, building partnerships that will lead to a first-of-its-kind provincial Index of Wellbeing, and preparing for a robust Share Thanksgiving match-up and other activities this fall.
We look forward to seeing some of you during one of our upcoming community visits, and send warm wishes for a bountiful summer with friends and family.
—The Engage Team
Numbers that matter
How do we measure prosperity? What does “quality of life” mean for each of us, and each of our communities? How do we know when we are moving forward as a province? For decades GDP growth has been the dominant way to address all these questions. And of course, most of us would agree that jobs and economic opportunity are a key part of the picture. But we also know they aren’t the whole picture. Many people choose to live in Nova Scotia because of the balance of other factors, such as family ties, pace of life, natural beauty, community spirit and human scale.
In Canada and other parts of the world, there is a growing movement to include these other factors when assessing how a community or country is doing and how it can make progress towards its goals. In Nova Scotia, efforts in this direction have included the Genuine Progress Index, Social Determinants of Health, Sustainable Prosperity legislation and Vital Signs reports.
Engage is now embarking on an ambitious partnership with the Canadian Index of Wellbeing to measure what we value across our province. This will give communities a tool for setting priorities and measuring progress on multiple fronts at once.
Nancy recently traveled to Winnipeg for a Community Indicators Symposium in Winnipeg, where she presented our Nova Scotia plan and met other pioneers in this field from across Canada and the U.S. She returned loaded with inspiration and ideas, and will now be preparing to launch our Index in November, followed by the survey in 2018.
Municipal Engagement Clinic
Lochaber Community Centre, Antigonish County. May 10, 2017.
Strong communities are vibrant and engaged, with citizens coming together to inform decisions, address issues and create opportunities. But it can be challenging to create and maintain the conditions for this kind of public engagement.
That's why we invited Municipal Councillors and staff and community leaders from across the province to come together last month for a day-long engagement clinic. The idea was simple—to learn from each other about what works and what doesn't, based on personal experiences all across Nova Scotia.
We had a full house at the beautiful Lochaber Community Centre in Antigonish County, and everyone left with practical next steps they could take to kick-start and sustain grassroots engagement. Read about some of the key lessons gathered from the day’s sessions and stay tuned for news about upcoming municipal clinics and workshops.
Thanks to our network of local organizations and individuals like you, Share Thanksgiving grows each year. This summer, Elizabeth and Hailey will be travelling across the province to collaborate with those who are working to build more welcoming communities. If you have ideas about how best to bring this awesome initiative to your region, let us know!
Already thinking about hosting a newcomer family or international student for dinner this Thanksgiving? Complete this form and we will be in touch with you in August with more information.
Voices: How do I stay?
On May 18 Fusion Halifax hosted a full-house audience for a panel conversation focused on the question “How Do I Stay?” Three young professionals talked about living, making a living, and choosing to remain living in the city and the province.
While the issue of youth out-migration is often most critical and visible in rural communities, cities like Halifax also wrestle with the evolving expectations, ambitions and conditions that attract and root young professionals to their home of choice.
We have captured the stories from the Fusion Halifax event as part of our VOICES series. You can listen to the recording and past episodes of VOICES here: http://www.engagenovascotia.ca/voices To automatically receive future episodes and conveniently listen to back episodes you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher.
Engage and empower
On May 17, Danny interviewed former New Glasgow mayor Ann MacLean, as a kick-off for a community conversation initiated by current mayor Nancy Dicks. The community conversation was part of a series called Engage and Empower. Mayor Dicks described MacLean as a visionary leader and role model who empowered citizens to take initiative—a trend she aspires to continue. MacLean, who was the longest serving mayor in New Glasgow, recalls that “most of the success we achieved as a council and staff was through the engagement of citizens.” She later went on to become the head of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Call for stories
The focus of this year's Community Sector Council conference, "Many Hands, Many Voices," is on how cross-sectoral collaboration strengthens our communities. A defining feature of the conference is the power of story – the stories we tell, and those we don’t tell.
The Call: We are looking for a total of nine stories from across the province that illustrate cross-sectoral collaborations that have had social and/or economic impact.
Format: Each of the nine stories selected will be featured in the first concurrent breakout session on Tuesday, October 3. Each session will be approximately 45-50 minutes, with 20 minutes to share the story plus time for discussion. Each workshop will be hosted by a facilitator and each story and discussion will be harvested for sharing.
Submission deadline: Respond no later than midnight on Monday, June 19.