Blog Archives


Archive for May, 2011


Sustainable Programing for Sustainable Communities: Hopeful Thinking?

Posted by: in Central East

I know what you are all thinking. Programs and initiatives that work towards creating sustainability in your communities seem to come and go like the wind. Just when one program starts building momentum something happens. Funding is cut, there is staff changeover, or there is a lack of volunteers to carry the initiative onwards.

Well I want to share my hope that we can and will find long term sustainable programming to ensure that rural communities in Alberta are here to stay, grow stronger and be recognized for the powerful influence they have on this province. This hope is not unfounded.

Please read why.

Two weeks ago I was lucky to attend the 12th ATCO symposium in Hanna. It is great to see companies like ATCO supporting rural communities in Alberta. What is even greater though is that this support is sustainable!! If the first twelve years of the ATCO symposium that is founded on creating education for rural Albertans isn’t sustainable I don’t know what is.

This particular symposium included speakers Vincent Duckworth, Donna Coombs, Terri Potter and the ever popular Wayne Lee. There was quite the array of presentations including topics around partnerships, fundraising, marketing and promotions, volunteerism trends and finally creative project planning.  All of these topics definitely support sustainability for the non-profit and voluntary sector for rural Albertans. If you were not able to attend I would like to steal a quote from the Town of Hanna and say that this symposium is ‘worth the drive’. So, make sure to book a day off for next year’s event! You can go to ATCO Electric to find out more.

The purpose of this symposium reminded me of KnowledgeConnector. Like many initiatives that support rural communities this symposium and KnowledgeConnector both work towards enhancing the sustainability of rural communities. We know that KnowledgeConnector works to connect you with valuable learning opportunities to help you achieve your organizations mission and thereby improve the quality of life for residents in your community. Again, what is more sustainable than creating strong, educated leaders who know where to go to stay on top of their game?

To find out how you can be linked to learning opportunities that meet your needs contact me to set up a workshop in your community! The workshop includes an assessment tool that pairs leaders
in your organization or community with invaluable learning opportunities.

Victoria Poschadel, p, 780.945.6134



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Enhancing Volunteerism by Creating Awarenss of Local Learning Opportunities

Posted by: in Central East, Global News

Only four months into the job, Natasha Albanese, Volunteer Development Coordinator for the City of Leduc, already has a good handle on the volunteer culture in Leduc. She has had the opportunity to get a great feel for the sense of volunteerism and community connectedness. She also realizes though, that the community is complex, fluid and dynamic. As a result she knows that although she has done a great deal of learning there will always be more learning to come!

Providing support for the variety of volunteer organizations within any community can be quite the challenge.  Take Leduc for example, they have 68 charitable organizations alone! So how can a one person department support all of these organizations?

One of the largest difficulties is communicating all of the great programs that exist to all leaders. We have all heard of the marketing statistic that an individual needs to view an ad 7 times before they become familiar with it.

Unfortunately, many volunteer departments don’t have a marketing department.

Fortunately, Volunteer Alberta developed a one-stop shop where learners and learning providers can be matched!

This is your chance to benefit Volunteer Departments in Central East Alberta by sharing learning opportunities in your area on This is a chance to connect you and all other leaders in Alberta with quality learning opportunities to create a strong sustainable province.

For more information about volunteer programming in Leduc, contact Natasha Albanese, Volunteer Development Coordinator at 780.980.7177. For more information on how you can utilize KnowledgeConnector contact me, your Regional Capacity Coordinator at 780.945.6134.

I look forward to chatting with you!

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How many balls can you juggle at once?

Posted by: in Global News, North West

Multi-Tasking: is it a requirement or a necessity in the nonprofit or volunteer organizations (NPVO)?

Juggling requires one to keep sets of three or more objects in the air at once. Balls are metaphoric to the projects we juggle or what society calls multitasking. The length of time the balls are in the air depends upon on the manageable size and weight of each ball. We may drop one of them along the way but we are quick to pick them up and start over. Society endorses constant multitasking, such as texting while you are having a conversation or reading while eating.

Would you agree with me in stating that there more women than men who are employed or work in the nonproit/volunteer sector? Some may argue that women are better multitaskers than men. There is a saying that if you want something done give it to the person that is the busiest. Well, that describes Tracey Templeton from Edson Drama Club Pandora Players to a ‘T’.

This year Pandora players have put on the ‘Show of the Century’, celebrating Edson’s centennial, remembering the music, fashion and popular culture that shaped Edson 100 years ago. Tracey wrote, produced, and directed this play with a volunteer cast and crew of 100. If that wasn’t enough she also assisted with set and costume design and co-wrote the music and lyrics… In addition to what she already had on her plate she also organized several acting workshops for the cast and crew. Did I forget to mention that she has volunteered all her time over the past year to see this project through?

This individual not only volunteers her time with the Drama Club but has created an Arts Community Hub – CANOE (Community Arts Network of Edson). Once a month, she has representatives from the arts and cultural organizations get together to share resources, brainstorm and fill bin the gaps where arts & cultural events and activities are concerned. Talk about juggling. Pandora Players and CANOE are two of the many NPVO in Edson, run by a group of dedicated volunteers.

We convince ourselves we have so much to do, why waste any time? Tracey is just one example of how multitasking demonstrates how creative we can be. In Tracey’s case, it would be fair to say that multitasking not only is a requirement but a necessity in her role as a leader in the nonprofit/volunteer organizations which provides her and the groups she affiliates herself with the flexibility and the right environment to flourish creativity.

The KnowledgeConnector looks forward to working with Pandora Players and CANOE to enhance their skills in voluntary leadership and management and to enhance the vitality and sustainability of these two community organizations.

If you have a leadership story you would like to share or would like me to visit your community please contact me .



Volunteer Burnout: Wetaskiwin Leaders Working Smarter to Bust Burnout

Posted by: in Central East, Global News

In this day and age we are finding people working harder and harder to keep up with the demands of technology and our rapidly changing environment. As a result, we are seeing incidences of exhaustion and mental illness increase. What does this mean? Volunteers and staff alike are experiencing burnout.

I was recently in Wetaskiwin and had the opportunity to visit with an amazingly inspirational individual named Manisha Khetarn, Director of the Wetaskiwin Library. I had actually just dropped by after another meeting in town and was hoping to possibly share a few words with her. I definitely ended up getting more than I was looking for! I had met her once before and at this particular visit she let me know that she was more than willing to get engaged in KnowledgeConnector and to work with me the best she could to ensure everyone in her community would be aware of and utilize it as well.

In our discussions, I discovered one of the biggest issues facing the volunteer and non-profit sector in Wetaskiwin is burnout. The community is full of extremely dedicated volunteers that put in more than their fair share of volunteering. Take Manisha for example, although she is incredibly instrumental in supporting the community I was tempted to tell her she should take it easy! In the last month alone, she volunteered close to 200 hours while managing the bustling library. I got the impression that other like-minded individuals in Wetaskiwin are also eagerly dedicating many hours but taking no time for themselves.

There is always so much to do but little time. I believe this is why Manisha welcomed me with open arms when I informed her that KnowledgeConnector is here to support her and other volunteers to more effectively achieve their missions. Why work harder when you can work smarter?

So after our discussions, Manisha and I decided we should take action. We have planned a workshop for Thursday, May 19th, at 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm in the Wetaskiwin Library. There we will be assessing learning needs and matching learning opportunities for managers, board members and senior volunteers to create more efficiency and less burnout. Contact Manisha or me for more information on how you can get involved!

Victoria Poschadel,

Manisha Khetarn,

For more information on Volunteer Burnout click here!

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The Face of Leadership in Rural Alberta

Posted by: in Global News, North West

Did you know there are over 19,000 nonprofit organizations in Alberta… and that 54% of those 19,000 have no paid staff? Organizations in Alberta report a volunteer complement of 2.5 million people, who collectively contribute about 449 million hours of volunteer time, the equivalent of approximately 234,000 full-time jobs.

That’s a lot of full-time jobs!

Here is the key for these organizations: Volunteer Alberta is launching an exciting new initiative called the KnowledgeConnector which is an online hub that will connect leaders in the nonprofit and voluntary sector with learning and training opportunities throughout Rural Alberta. It is all about creating a passion for learning!

Leaders come in various forms. Leadership is about attitude, skills and knowledge. Our community sustainability and growth relies on building strong those leaders.

The KnowledgeConnector will be used as an effective tool for enhancing the capacity of nonprofit/voluntary organizations, and in turn, promoting the growth, prosperity and quality of life in rural Alberta through learning opportunities.

Follow me along on the Journey as each week the NW Regional Blog will highlight a community volunteer/nonprofit organization. Also this blog will be providing followers with updates or links to various learning opportunities.

Now this is where I need your help. If you have pictures or stories relating to “the face of leadership in Rural Alberta” and you would like to share please submit them to

Keeping Rural Alberta Connected….

Yvonne Rempel, NW Regional Capacity Coordinator

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Rural Alberta Development Fund Volunteer Alberta
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