Blog Archives


Archive for July, 2011


Grow A Community Garden…

Posted by: in North West

This is the season when things grow and flourish. So how do you make a community garden grow? You start with good soil, then till the rows, plant a variety of seeds, water and watch it grow. A good gardener will nurture the garden along by maintaining a schedule of watering, fertilizing and weeding, hoping for the right combination of rain and sunshine for the seeds to take root and grow.

Where am I going with this you ask….follow along.

Not only is it a season of growth but the opportunity for many communities to host outdoor festivals, jamborees, rodeos, farmers markets, baseball tournaments and concerts. Yup. And most of them are run by a group of community volunteers (successfully I might add). I also realized that it isn’t just my community (Grande Cache) where the same ten people (STP’s I like to call them) volunteer for everything, it’s throughout the north-west. For the past two months I have visited a variety of rural communities throughout North West Alberta and there is one reoccurring theme: how do we recruit and retain volunteers?

This got me to thinking: what is it that KnowledgeConnector is trying to achieve?

To put things in simpler terms, I am comparing KnowlegeConnector to a community gardener.

We know that people (the soil) are the most important valuable resource to our community organizations (our garden).  Community sustainability and growth relies on knowledgable volunteers and building leadership skills, creating that passion for learning.

Every good gardener will use a fertilizer to enhance growth. This is where Knowledgeconnector fits in, our role is to help rural Alberta nonprofits/volunteer organizations grow and flourish by linking volunteers to learning opportunities (fertilizer). By empowering  volunteers with knowledge and skills (nurturing the garden) leads to a better organization and a stronger community. So what knowledge is the right knowledge? Where do you start?

Getting started is easy, as the NW Regional Capacity Coordinator is my role to work with rural nonprofits and volunteer organizations (FREE of charge might I add)  to determine your individual or organizational learning priorities and to link them to learning resources in your community or region.

Goes back to the question… so how do we recruit and retain volunteers? Plant the seed – provide your volunteers with accessible, affordable learning opportunities in line with their specific interests and needs and watch your community garden grow!!

If you are interested in participating in a workshop or need further information, contact me your NW Regional Capacity Coordinator



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How to Make More Money and Time for Professional Development

Posted by: in Central East

One the biggest barriers to professional development for the nonprofit/voluntary sector in rural Alberta is funding. If funding was less of an issue, we would all have more money to invest in leadership enhancement. We would also have more time. Finding out about funding opportunities can often be a challenge. Funders do not typically reach out and just give their money away! No, we have to hunt down opportunities, do a lot of research and then apply for it and if successful write reports and undergo evaluations.

The first major step towards attaining grants and funding is having awareness of where to get it and how to apply for it. If you need to know where to look to find funding, look no further! Please peruse the following grant opportunities available by the Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation. If you belong to an organization that falls into the Recreation and Culture sub-sector you will find a lot of great resources. If you belong to another sector – don’t worry because there are a lot of great resources for you too.

Canadian Sport for Life Grant

Learn how not-for-profit organizations that deliver programs related to Canadian Sport for Life, may apply for grants. Go to the grant.

Development Initiatives Program

Get details on the Development Initiatives Program which supports sport, recreation, parks and wildlife projects and programs. Go to the grant.

Donation Fund

This program assists partner Provincial Sport and Recreation Associations, the Alberta Sport Development Centres and Alberta Games in obtaining financial support. This program is established by the Foundation to help enlist donors to support sport and recreation development in the province of Alberta. Go to the grant.

Event Support Grants

Find out about financial support available to communities and associations that are hosting major events. Go to the grant.

Grants for Coaches and Officials

Explore funding opportunities through grants for coaches and officials. Go to the grant.

Podium Alberta Grants for Athletes

Get information on Podium Alberta, a grant for high performance athletes. Go to the grant.

The above grants and more can be found on the Government of Alberta website.  I encourage you to check them out and bust one of the largest barriers to your leadership development.

Don’t wait to secure funding to enhance your leadership skills though. If you would like to have an A.S.K. Leadership Workshop set up for your organization or community please contact me.

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |

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Clubhouse is not just a sandwich….

Posted by: in North West

This past weeks adventure took me to Peace River Area, with spectacular vistas, lush and green rolling hills and beautiful river valleys. Nestled amongst this vista is a very unique community organization – “Clubhouse”. This small nonprofit/volunteer organization (of approximately 30 members) is supported by Alberta Mental Health Services.

Clubhouse Values

Clubhouse is build upon the belief that every member has the potential to sufficiently recover from the effects of mental illness to lead a personally satisfying life as an integrated member of society.  Clubhouse is a community of people who are dedicated to on another’s success, no matter how long it takes or how difficult it is. Clubhouses are organized around a belief that work and work-mediated relationships are restorative and provide a firm foundation for growth and important individual achievement and the belief that normalized social and recreational opportunities are an important part of a person’s path.

Purpose of Beyond the Heart Clubhouse

  • A place to go for support
  • A place for people to feel welcome from all regions
  • Friends and fellowship
  • Voices of mental health consumers
  • Community awareness by the presence in the community
  • Dealing with stigma

Clubhouse Mission

The clubhouse program promotes independence, individual choice and hope.  The clubhouse provides individuals recovering from psychiatric disabilities with a safe and confidential environment, access to social supports, opportunities to grow or enhance life skills and fellowship.

The Peace River (and area) Clubhouse and I (NW RCC) are setting off on a “learning adventure” come this fall. Follow along on our journey over the next six months as we  kick off the adventure with a special event to introduce the Knowledegconnector Project and to work through the ASK Assessment Tool. From there we will develop a Clubhouse learning plan, identify individual and group learning needs and linking them to learning opportunities. Stay tuned….

If you would like to know more about Clubhouse or how to start one in your own community go to

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Learning Providers Partner with Local Community Adult Learning Councils

Posted by: in Central East

Making learning opportunities accessible in rural Alberta communities is becoming more and more common as partnerships between learning providers and adult learning centres become a reality.  The only problem is that not everyone knows that these partnerships and opportunities exit. Thank goodness KnowledgeConnector is here to save the day the day!

As we know KnowledgeConnector is all about connecting learning providers with learners in order to create even stronger nonprofit/voluntary organizations in rural Alberta. As more and more learning opportunities are being discovered KnowledgeConnector is doing just that. For example, did you know that Norquest College offers leadership steward courses at the Community Adult Learning Centres for free?  Every day we are finding more and more leadership learning opportunities available across Alberta. Norquest is also now partnering with the Camrose and District Support Services to make more learning opportunities available online to reduce the travel barrier that rural Albertans often experience. This partnership may result in the use of shared space for any and all video conferencing equipment.

I had a meeting last week with a representative from the Community and District Support Services and from Norquest College. It was there that I learned of the new partnership possibilities that are emerging between the two. In case you have not heard of CDSS, it is located in East Central Alberta and is a partnership between the Province of Alberta, the City of Camrose, Camrose County, and the Villages of Bawlf, Bittern Lake, Edberg, Ferintosh, Hay Lakes, New Norway and Rosalind.  To find out more about the CDSS rural programs you can visit their website here or contact Clarence Hastings at

Out of that meeting another A.S.K. Leadership Assessment workshop has been booked in Camrose! It will be held in on Thursday, August 18th at the Camrose and District Support Services, 4516-54 St, room 230 from 12-2pm. There will be a free lunch, great networking and great learning. If you live in the Camrose region please RSVP to me by August 15. If you offer leadership learning opportunities I ask you also contact me so we can share them with the rest of the province.

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |



But is it Charitable…?

Posted by: in North West

A registered charity is a charitable organization approved and registered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

I had the privilege of attending and participating in the Learning Provider Forum June 28 2011 .

I would like to highlight a particular learning provider – Charity Central. This nonprofit organization is your guide through charity law.

Their role is to guide Canada’s registered charities through the ins and outs of:

– issuing official donation receipts

– maintaining proper books and records

– understanding fundraising activity guidelines

We all struggle with and are easily confused by the legal requirements for nonprofit/volunteer organizations and registered charities. Board Treasurer or Book Keeping responsibilities will burn out a dedicated volunteer sooner than later. So let Charity Central (skilled volunteers themselves) walk you through the arduous tasks and responsibilities of developing and maintain a viable and legal local community organization, you do not have to do it alone.

To get you started here are some upcoming Charity Central Learning Opportunities through ICCAN Video Conferencing:

1. Charity Boards – Are you Legally Fit? September 15 from 1-2 PM

2. Office in a Box: An Accountability Tool November 24 11 – 12:00 PM

3. In and Outs of Donation Receipts Jan 18 12:00 – 1:00 PM

Charity Central will also be available to present workshops to individual boards to assist them in enhancing their accountability and transparency practices.

Workshop Topics:

1. Does Accountability Scare You? (2-3 hours)

2. The W’s of Accountability (2-3 hours)

3. Tools to Enhance your Accountability Practices (1-2 hours)

For further information and /or to register for one or more of these fabulous workshop please contact San San Sy, Project Coordinator – Educational and Community Services or 1-780-822-7624

Also you can check them out at and to link to a variety of other helpful websites and resources such as

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Town of Beaumont Strengthens Leadership Capacity

Posted by: in Central East

Mariko Siggers, Director of Recreation and Culture for the Town of Beaumont, understands  the importance of supporting leaders in the nonprofit/voluntary sector to create stronger more sustainable communities through KnowledgeConnector. She understood that when she first received and responded to a link to a KnowledgeConnector questionnaire. The questionnaire was developed to aid Volunteer Alberta in determining how to best design KnowledgeConnector to match learners with learning opportunities.

Siggers was more than happy to become involved in an initiative that works to help leaders create stronger more sustainable organizations and communities. That is why, when I visited her at her workplace, she was more than surprised to learn that she had won the biggest prize that we were giving away to one lucky person for filling out the questionnaire. Yes, you read that right, Mariko won an iPad 2!

Following the short presentation on a beautiful sunny day, Mariko and a few Recreation Programmers and I sat down together to chat about the awesome possibilities that KnowledgeConnector has for the  nonprofit/voluntary organizations in this great town. Together we were able to pinpoint some of the top groups that I am sure will get involved with KnowledgeConnector, identify some of the major learning priorities that have been discovered from working with so many organizations over the last little while and better yet, set up an A.S.K. Leadership Assessment Workshop for August. The date of the workshop will be August 22nd and held in the Beaumont Town Office at 5600 49 Street from 12-2:30pm. It is an open workshop so please give me a shout to RSVP!

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |

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A.C.E. Partnership

Posted by: in North West

I want to bring to your attention to an “engaging” organization and the innovative community engagment projects.   ACE Communities (Active Creative Engaged Communities: ) is about working to enhance the quality of life in rural Alberta by strengthening community leadership, collaboration, and innovation through recreation, parks, arts, culture and heritage.  The program initiatives are designed to get more people, more active, more often.   KnowledgeConnector is pleased to support ACE Communities as we both stive to enahnce the quality of life in rural Alberta through strengthening community leadership.

Just to highlight a few of ACE Communities projects and initiatives:

– Four Rural Alberta  ‘Diversity Friendly Communities’ have been chosen to participate in a two year Cultural Diversity Project; Carstairs, Jasper, Grande Cache and Rocky Mountain House. Alberta Government’s Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism (HREM) Fund are funding this project. I am thrilled to see that two of these communities chosen are from the North West Region (Jasper &  Grande Cache – which just happens to be my home town Yeh!). Stay tuned for more updates from us on as we work through this  initiative.

Virtual Learning Center.  Check out this link for a listing of upcoming webinar and learning opportunities.

– Webinares, training links, community highlihts, resource links plus more can be found on thier website:

We are pleased to support the efforts of ACE Communities and the work they are doing in enhancing community leadership skills and knowledge through their various project and learning opportunities. Stay tuned to my blog and the website for future updates and learning opportunity links:   These couple of points were meant to “tease” you and creat a passion  and direct your attention to ACE Communities website. So go ahead check it out for yourself  You may want to also consider signing up for thier newsletter.


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What Makes a Community Leader?

Posted by: in Central East

The definition of a leader usually includes something about a person’s ability to influence their peers, colleagues or followers. They know how to inspire, motivate and evoke change in their community. Many people think that a community leader needs to be an executive director, a town councillor or senior manager in a multi-level organization.

I am here to tell you that this is not always the case. Often senior managers and executives are community leaders but there are also many movers and shakers out there that are seen leaders but do not recognize themselves as leaders. You very well may be a community leader but not giving yourself the right credit. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you volunteer to make your community a better place to live?
  • Do you sit on any committees?
  • Are you a board member for any local nonprofit/voluntary organization?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions than you ARE a leader. Last week the Hanna Learning Centre hosted an A.S.K. Leadership Workshop for their organization and a couple of local community leaders. Some of the leaders were invited because they were seen as leaders in their community. Halfway through the workshop though, two participants mentioned that they didn’t really think they were community leaders because they did not hold a paid senior management position. One of these people is a director of a local non-profit organization. Now she is definitely a leader!!

KnowledgeConnector is tailored to help ‘leaders’ in the nonprofit/voluntary sector to be as great and effiecient as they were meant to be by connecting them to professional development opportunities that meet their current learning needs. Unfortunately, I have been coming across people all over the place that don’t think they are actual leaders in their community. If you are in doubt – chances are you are a leader. If you do not currently make as much of an impact as you would like it is possible you are an ‘up and coming leader’. Either way – KnowledgeConnector is for you!

So, if you are an up and coming leader or leader as has been described give me a call so that KnowledgeConnector can match you with timely and relevant learning opportunities to help you become the leader you were always meant to be.

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |

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