On June 2012, approximately 75 Nova Scotians from diverse walks of life gathered to address how our province could do better. Some of them had been involved in a project called Envision Halifax, and had an appetite for a broader based, province-wide effort. The organization that resulted sprang from a grassroots desire for us to be more innovative, collaborative and open to change.
Word spread and more people quickly joined in. These self-identified "stewards" organized into smaller groups to explore various paths forward in more detail, and met regularly as a whole to chart the journey they were undertaking together.
By 2014, we had grown enough to bring on a permanent board of directors and professional staff to bring to life our vision. The OneNS Commission had by this time cited Engage Nova Scotia as an “exemplary initiative” and recognized the importance of our work to, “change attitudes and adapt to new ideas as we address our economic and demographic challenges.”
Since then we have gathered in groups large and small to question and imagine how Nova Scotia can – through the energy and insight of its citizens – become a more vibrant, resilient and inclusive society. From Share Thanksgiving, to the Stepping Up Conference, to working with the Town of Amherst and all points in between, we have endeavoured to stay true to this path.
Since then, our province-wide network has grown to thousands of people from all walks of life, bound by a common affection and concern for our province.
Our role is not to advocate for a specific cause, but to create conditions for people and organizations to build relationships, understanding, skills and collaboration. In short, we help more Nova Scotians become ready, willing and able to build the future we all want.
We have big plans for 2017 – from launching the first Nova Scotia Index of Wellbeing, to working with municipalities to strengthen engagement capacity.
Beyond that, watch for our team visiting communities around the province to gather content for our “Voices: Stories of Change” podcast series; stay up to date with our quarterly newsletters; and consider opening your door and hearts to a newcomer family as part of Share Thanksgiving 2017.