Spring 2017 Newsletter

Spring 2017


Engage
Nova Scotia


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Welcome to our first quarterly newsletter, which complements the steady stream of Engage updates on social media. You may have noticed we've been on the road—shining a spotlight on people, groups and communities who are stepping up in all kinds of creative ways. We have also been partnering with municipalities to help build trust and set priorities across communities. And we've been preparing to launch Nova Scotia’s first province-wide wellbeing index and survey—a powerful new tool that will help focus resources and advance collaboration across sectors for years to come. For more information about this work and ongoing projects like ShareThanksgiving, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Look who's stepping up!

The new Annapolis Investments in Rural Opportunity fund (AIRO) is already bringing measurable economic benefit to the Annapolis Royal and surrounding communities. AIRO invests private money in the future of the region by supporting new businesses, entrepreneurship, business expansion and community development. Founder Jane Nicholson talks about Engage as the "cradle" of AIRO, as it was conceived at the Engage Stepping Up satellite event in Middleton in 2015.

AIRO's investment strategy is guided by public engagement. The team conducted extensive interviews and surveys that captured the vision of Annapolis Royal residents and their ideas about how to get there. Listen to Adele MacDonald walk through the findings in AIRO's recently published report, "Local Logic: How to Get There From Here." 

Learn more about AIRO's report and activities


Speaking of voices

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Our new VOICES podcast series features real stories of engagement, community development, innovation and change as told by Nova Scotians. Listen online or subscribe to the podcast using the iTunes or Stitcher Radio apps. Listen to back episodes and watch for more coming soon. Do you have a story that should be included? Email jeff@engagenovascotia.ca


Workshop for municipal leaders

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Are you looking for creative ways to build trust, engage the disengaged, or support citizen-led initiatives? Join us on May 10 for a day-long hands-on public engagement clinic on the shoulder of the UNSM Spring Workshop. Whether you are new to Council or bring hard-won lessons from many years in the trenches, you'll have a chance to exchange information, learn new skills and find new allies. Contact us for more information.


Six trends of municipal engagement

Municipalities have always engaged their communities in multiple ways—from sharing information to holding public meetings and officiating at events. As times have changed, so have needs and expectations. Here are six trends to pay attention to in 2017

On the road again

In recent months we visited the busy town of Amherst to check on the progress of citizen-led initiatives underway after our work with the Municipality last spring. We also had the opportunity to compare public engagement notes with the mayors of Wolfville, Digby, Yarmouth, Truro and New Glasgow. Soon we will head north as our road trips continue throughout the spring. If you know of anyone in your region who is making an effort to engage the public in becoming more actively involved in their communities, please connect with us so that we can reach out and capture their learning.

Building community...one meal at a time

Share Thanksgiving has grown! The number of guests has doubled every year since we began inviting Nova Scotians to open their doors to newcomers in 2013. Friendships have grown too. We recently contacted hosts and guests who had participated in 2016 and found out that over 53% had stayed in touch, connecting via social media, sharing other meals, or visiting places around Nova Scotia together.  

We invite you to join the fun. Early registration is now open for anyone who would like to host a newcomer family or International student for dinner over the 2017 Thanksgiving weekend. Simply complete this form and we will be in touch with you in August with more information.


Becoming better versions of ourselves

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On a recent visit from Denmark, Toke Moeller spoke with Tim Merry about the challenges of our time in a webinar hosted by Engage. When we find ourselves on a burning platform, he said, our first reaction is to duck and take cover. But then we become even more isolated and polarized—which is what created many of our problems in the first place.

Toke described the Art of Hosting as a practice of bringing people together so they can find their own solutions and take action. It’s simple, he says. People naturally innovate. They naturally learn. This is just common sense, and yet it is also radical. We don’t need a movement for change. We need to become more human. To learn more and to watch the webinar, click here.

Listen to another reflection on this theme from Jean Vanier on the occasion of Canada’s 150th anniversary.


Many hands, many voices

Engage is one of the partners helping to shape the Community Sector Council conference at Membertou this fall. We hope to see you there! 

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