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Archive for February, 2012


Who-What-Where-When-Why Regarding KnowledgeConnector

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

Over the last 14 months, 5 Regional Capacity Coordinators (RCC) have been tasked with “spreading the word” of KnowledgeConnector and the benefits it provides to rural Alberta. Lets recap…

  • What are they?

The KnowledgeConnector initiative is designed around 6 leadership competencies: Big Picture Thinking, Planning and Organizing, Strategic Thinking, Management and Governance, Self Awareness and Development and Relationship Building.

  • How do we accomplish this task?

RCC have been traveling throughout their respective regions (mine has been the North West) facilitating presentations and A.S.K. Leadership Assessment workshops.

  • Who did we target?

Meeting with Community Adult Learning Councils, FCSS, Government Agencies, local and regional interagencies and one-on-one meetings with various community groups and organizations.

  • Were have we been?

KnowledgeConnector’s focus has been to target rural Alberta (rural meaning anything outside of Edmonton and Calgary)

  • Why KnowledgeConnector?

Designed to link rural Alberta’s non-profit and volunteer organizations to leadership and training opportunities via a click of the mouse – focus is directed towards rural organizations that have limited funding and resources to provide training and development to their staff and volunteers. As well, RCC’s are advocates in the field to provide education and awareness of the various projects and programs Volunteer Alberta has to offer the sector.

So have we done our job as RCC’s? Have we linked our region or communities to learning and training opportunities? Have we identified the various learning providers who populate our website with those training opportunities? Are our learning opportunities accessible? Do we have a  wide variety of learning opportunities posted that attract various learners.?

KnowledgeConnector has been a “team” approach from Volunteer Alberta, the KnowledgeConnector Project Manager and Program Coordinator, Web Design and support to us out in the field. As we head into the last month as regional capacity coordinators, these are just some of the questions that are being asked around the table.

We have made thousands of contacts throughout Rural Alberta crisscrossing over 12 different sectors. Bottom line have we done our job? Where do we go from here? Evaluation and feedback!

The key to the success or continuation of any project relies on the evaluation and feedback from the consumer or client, in this case the “learner”. We would like to hear from you! Here are some questions we have for you?

Have you been on the KnowledgeConnector website? Is the KnowledgeConnector website user-friendly? Are you a registered Learning Provider? Have you accessed a learning opportunity from the website? Is there a variety of learning opportunities to choose from? Have you participated in an A.S.K. workshop on-line? Has KnowledgeConnector helped you create a personalized learning plan designed to develop or enhance your leadership skills?

Please send your feedback or questions to our KnowledgeConnector Program Coordinator, or call 780.497.4780

Lets Stay Connected…

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Family Day, More Than Just a Day Off….

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

Building Community capacity; adding one family at a time, community leadership at its best “volunteering”.

Throughout the North West, “family day volunteers” have been frantically planning and creating activities so you and your family are able to have a “Family fun day” off . Please check out your local newspaper, community website, Facebook or your local bulletin board to see what each community has to offer through the Family Day weekend.

Family Day is on the third Monday of February (observed in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan). This holiday celebrates the importance of families and family life to people and their communities.

Did you know? Family Day was first held in Canada in the province of Alberta in 1990. It is supposed to reflect the values of family and home that were important to the pioneers who founded Alberta, and give workers the opportunity to spend more time with their families. Family Day was introduced in Saskatchewan in 2007 and in Ontario in 2008. One of the reasons for introducing Family Day was that there was a long period when there were no holidays from New Year’s Day until Good Friday.

As the weather is usually very cold in February (we are spoiled for unseasonal good weather this year), so what a better time to take a break and spend it with friends and family. Popular snacks of choices for the day may include (but not limited to) hot chocolate and freshly baked cookies. The long weekend is an opportunity for a short winter break or to travel to visit family members or friends.

So what do you do on Family Day Weekend?

  • fishing licenses are FREE for the weekend, so register for your local ice fishing derby – You could win some cool prizes
  • go pond skating with the family
  • participate in winter festival activities (Grande Prairie, or Edmonton)
  • backyard BBQ with roasted marshmallows
  • snowshoeing or cross-country skiing
  • build a snowman or an ice sculpture
  • walk “fido”
  • indoor family board games

Whatever you decide to do, get out and enjoy a winter day with family and friends and have a great day off. Happy Holiday!

My hat goes off to the many volunteers who make this weekend fun and enjoyable for all of us!!!

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827.1464 |

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Leadership Skills: At The Heart of All Non-profit/Voluntary Organizations

Posted by: in Central East, Global News, Uncategorized

The Central Alberta Regional Network is committed, hard-working and passionate about the conservation and preservation of historical artifacts throughout Alberta. The organization contains over 50 museum members that are located throughout Central Alberta. These museums range from ones such as the Millet and District Museum, Archives and Visitor Information Centre to the large Calgary Glenbow Museum.

As a voluntary sector organization, CARMN faces common challenges that many organizations face. Members are always on the look-out for more volunteers, funding opportunities, board governance skills and succession planning education. That being said, they are also very proactive at facing those challenges. For example, last week they booked an A.S.K. Leadership Assessment for the afternoon portion of their bi-monthly meeting.

I discovered at the workshop that CARMN regularly works on enhancing their professional development. In fact, they regularly utilize AMA – the Alberta Museum Association, for professional development opportunities. You might not have guessed this, but the AMA offers a wide range of professional development opportunities ranging from workshops in board development and grant writing skills to certificates programs in Museum Studies. To view these great learning opportunities visit their site here.

AMA and CARMN also offer a great leadership program called NextGen.  If you visit their site you will read that “NextGen: Canada has proven to fill a need in the Canadian museum sector by providing learning opportunities for emerging and mid-career professionals. This immersive program offers an exceptional development opportunity for participants as they explore their leadership abilities and gain the knowledge, skills, and wisdom they need to become even more effective leaders.”

Leadership development is clearly a strategy recognized within many sub sectors within the nonprofit/voluntary sector of Alberta to enhance organizational capacity. Within the identified non-profit/voluntary subsectors such as Culture and Recreation, Education and Research, Social Services and so on, many great communities have grown to work together to support their own. If you belong to a community such as CARMN, that offers leadership development opportunities, I encourage you to share the excellent marketing strategy available through KnowledgeConnector. If you are looking for other leadership development opportunities visit our site often for new opportunities that are being posted weekly.

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |

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Happy Heart Day

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

Not only is February Heart and Stroke month but it is also one of the biggest day for florists and greeting card companies; if you couldn’t guess already I am talking about Valentines Day. Do you really know how Valentines Day came about? With a little research (one of the many skills of a good community leader) I found out that it is more than just a “Hallmark Holiday”.

Parents are wondering how many cards and cupcakes the kids will need? Do you make homemade valentines  and cookies. The pressure is on; some of the more craft-crazy families may go all-out and even sew some felt hearts on strings.

This time of year many individuals are feeling the pressure in looking for the right gift or greeting card for that special someone. Romance is the key!

Here is an explanation of Valentine’s Day and some of the actual  facts behind the holiday, in case you want to think about this one more.

• Like most modern holidays, a day celebrating love this time of the  year traces its roots back to Pagan traditions. The Roman festival known as Lupercalia, one of the longest-lasting of all Roman holidays, happened every February 15. It honored the goddess of women and marriage, Juno, as well  as Pan, the lascivious god of nature.

• The story of Cupid also comes from Roman mythology. He was the son of Venus who was  the goddess of love. Cupid is often said to be a mischievous boy who  goes around wounding both gods and humans with his arrows, causing them  to fall in love.

• The Christian roots of the holiday centers on the story of Saint Valentine. He was linked to a romantic narrative in the Middle Ages in a work called the Acta. But he is probably an amalgam of at least two Valentines who lived during in the early A.D. era of the Roman Empire.

• The most accepted lore is that St. Valentine was a priest who refused to uphold a law enacted by Roman Emperor Claudius II. The law  ordered young men to remain single because the Emperor believed that  married men did not make for good soldiers and he wanted a bigger army. But the priest Valentine believed in love and he secretly performed  marriages behind the Emperor’s back. When Claudius found out about this,  he had Valentine arrested, thrown in jail, and possibly killed.

• Another legend is it that Valentine was an imprisoned man who fell  in love with his jailor’s daughter. Before he was put to death he sent  the first ‘valentine’ himself when he wrote her a letter and signed it  ‘Your Valentine.’

If the story of St. Valentine is too gruesome  for your tastes, or if you’d just like to focus more on the concept  of love itself, you may choose to tell a different story about love:  falling in love, the power of love, or perhaps the story of how you and  your mate fell in love.

There are other ways to celebrate the day include watching a movie about love,  making cards together, or crafting a family poem where everyone takes turns creating one line. You can also play a game that tells what each  person in the family loves about each of the other family members. These thoughts are written out and put in a basket or a small box that is owned by each person. Family members take turns reading aloud what has  been written about them.

Whatever you decide this year to celebrate the day, some clear  intention is sure to help craft lasting memories. As far as I’m  concerned, you should say I love you all year not just because Hallmark tells you so…

Happy Messy Cupid Day!

P.S.: February 15 is National Flag Day – wave your Canada Day flag with pride.

Stay tuned for next weeks blog – always looking for great ideas to blog about throughout the NW Region.

Yvonne Rempel | 780.827.1464 |


Here’s What’s Going On In The North West Region

Posted by: in North West, Uncategorized

Success Factors in Raising Financial Capital for Non-profit Organizations

Grande Prairie Volunteer Services Bureau is pleased to offer “Success Factors in Raising Financial Capital for Non Profit Organizations” in our newly expanded video conferencing center, on Tuesday, February 14 from 11:30AM to

Financial capital for non-profit organizations refers to the financial resources and assets available to an organization so it is able to either gather the resources they need or pay for what it needs in order to provide the services and products of the organization. Non-profit organizations generally raise financial capital through sources such as donations, grants, sponsorships, contracts, Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and various fundraising activities.

Richard Larsen, MSc, a Community Development Officer with Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, focuses on building the capacity of individuals and groups to achieve their goals and accomplish their projects. With twenty-six years of experience working with a range of communities; rural, northern, ethnic, aboriginal, government and urban organizations, he identifies ‘what’s working’ and finds ways to replicate that. Richard also has an active role as a volunteer in his church and community, and is an organizer and sponsor of humanitarian efforts in the developing world.

For more information or registration email Colleen at

Grande Prairie and District SPCA – Paying it Forward Recipient Nominee

The Grande Prairie and District SPCA has been the chosen recipient of this years Paying it Forward event by last years recipient, Grande Prairie Odyssey House.  Paying it Forward is a charitable initiative sponsored by Friesen Bain Chartered Accountants.  The initiative this year will hope to raise the necessary resources to buy a transport vehicle for the society to allow for safe transport of animals in their care to and from veterinary clinics.  The event is raising these funds through selling paw print decals that will contain the sponsor name or logos to appear on the vehicle.  The vehicle will be presented to the society at a Day in the Park Event on June 10, 2012.  For more information or to help out on this worthwhile initiative please contact Jenna Campbell with Friesen Bain at 780-830-2305

Babies Best Start Program is Seeking a Part Time Outreach Worker for Sexsmith

The Grande Prairie Friendship Centre is seeking a part-time Outreach Worker for the Babies’ Best Start Program. Babies’ Best Start is a community based program which provides prenatal nutrition information, advice, support and supplements to pregnant and parenting women.

Applications will be received until a suitable candidate is found

Please forward resume to: Dawn Ferguson, Program Coordinator Grande Prairie Friendship Centre 10105 – 97 Avenue Grande Prairie, AB T8V 0N5 Fax: (780) 513-2199 Email:

Volunteer Opportunities

Below are some of
the recent volunteer opportunities,  Please visit GPVSB website at Can’t find what you’re looking Please call Colleen at 780-538-2727, She always happy to help volunteers connect with the causes they care about!

Database Volunteer, Grande Prairie Council for Lifelong Learning:  Lifelong Learning is seeking a volunteer for database set up and entry. They are upgrading from Excel to Access and need to have their information moved from their spreadsheets to an Access database.  Please contact Cathy Torok at for more information.

Relay for Life Volunteers, Canadian Cancer Society:  Relay for Life is a 12 hour, overnight event where teams of 10 take turns walking around the track. Relay for Life starts by celebrating the life and fight of survivors, remembering and honoring loved ones lost, and encouraging and enabling people to fight back against the disease. Volunteers are the heart of Relay. Help plan and organize this local event.  There are a variety of positions available from scheduling entertainment to helping with food and beverage.  For more information contact Jaci McNaughton at (780) 538-8205 or

Casino Volunteers, The Centre for Creative Arts:  The Centre for Creative Arts will be working at the casino on March 25 and 26, 2012. The Centre is eligible to work a casino once every three years and will earn part of the money required for special projects and purchases at the Centre. In order to make this happen we need 28 volunteers over 2 days.  AGLC needs to clear our volunteers 40 days prior to the event so we need to have all of these shifts filled in the next week or so. Thank you for considering helping us out. For more information please contact Candace Hook at (780) 814-6080 or email

Newsletter Assistant, Crime Prevention:  The City of Grande Prairie’s Crime Prevention Department has a volunteer opportunity available for someone to assist with putting together their quarterly newsletter. This would involve coming into the office to work on it every quarter during office hours. Arrangements to work from home would be considered, once information has been gathered from staff contributors. The expected time commitment is for a few hours, every three months. Interested volunteers must be comfortable using Microsoft Publisher and have some experience in graphic design. Please call (780) 882-7813 for more information.

Lesson Volunteers, Peace Area Riding for the Disabled Society:  PARDS has immediate openings for volunteers who are
interested in helping with Lessons and in the Barn.  If you have an hour to spare each week, please let us know. Check out our website for more information about the Volunteer roles at PARDS; give us a call at 780-538-3211 or email if you have any questions, and to let us know what hour (or hours) you would like to help out with.

Congrats to a Voluneer of the Week – Larry Bentley – Larry has been a Bingo volunteer for PARDS for the past 2 years. He is always ready to help out, even at the last minute, and always has a joke or a story to tell. Larry you are a wonderful volunteer and we appreciate all you do for PARDS

The nomination deadline for the Leaders of Tomorrow awards is Monday, March 7th, 2011. If you know of a youth, between the ages of 6 and 18 years, who is a leader in our community, who volunteers and inspires others to do the same, perhaps they would be a good candidate for these annual awards. A nomination or award of this sort can be a great asset to a youth’s portfolio. Also, such recognition has the potential to motivate a young person to continue their good work well into adulthood. Nomination forms are available in a fill-able PDF format online at, they are also available at all schools, library, recreation centre, Friendship Centre, and The Guild.

National Volunteer Week Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon!

National Volunteer Week will take place April 15 – 21, 2012 and VSB would like your input to organize our largest Volunteer Appreciation event of the year!

Each year during National Volunteer Week, Grande Prairie Volunteer Services Bureau hosts a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon and Leaders of Tomorrow Awards, presented by ATCO.  To be a part of this feel good event that pays tribute to one of our community’s most vital resources – volunteers – please phone Colleen at 780-538-2727 or email

The Hinton Mountain Bike Association (HMBA) is gearing up to plan for the 3rd annual “Beaver Bike Fest”. They’d love to have people join the planning committee and/or volunteer during the day of the event, slated for Saturday, June 16th! The first planning meeting is on February 7th at 7:30 pm at Cedar Creek Restaurant on Highway 16. Spread the word, or join them on Tuesday, February 7th!

For further info contact Lisa Brett Volunteer & Information Centre Coordinator Town of Hinton | Gateway to the Rockies

p: 780.865.2670 | f: 780.865.2669 e: or

The world is hugged by the faithful arms of volunteers.  ~ Terri Guillemets



What Defines Leadership?

Posted by: in Central East, Uncategorized

Leadership development is an ongoing process. It is a process that takes initiative, dedication and sincerity. KnowledgeConnector understands that and is here to work with you to reach your leadership goals on an ongoing basis.

But what exactly is leadership? What is leadership development? Who is an example of a leader? Are you a leader? Am I a leader?

Last week I hosted a Learning Provider Forum in Hanna to get some feedback on how we can better serve our clients. We discussed what leadership is, who leaders are and what leadership development is. One big ah-ha moment we all had centered around the definition of a leader. I think many people find that word intimidating. We wonder, as volunteers, employees and contributors to our community, if we might deserve such a prestigious title.

The Webster Dictionary defines the word leader as: the quality of character and personality giving a person the ability to gain the confidence of and lead others. Here at KnowledgeConnector we see leaders as people. People who volunteer, work and commit to creating positive changes in their communities. They are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, grandparents and great grandparents. YOU are a leader. WE are leaders.

So now that we know we are leaders we need to move forward and enhance the skills we already have and maybe develop some new ones.

Let’s start becoming better leaders starting now. Book a leadership assessment workshop with me or take the online A.S.K. Leadership Assessment. Then take advantage of the excellent learning opportunities available here.

Victoria Poschadel | 780.945.6134 |

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