My Community Development Education


Days like today remind me of how grateful I am for being in Wood Buffalo, in the physical place and amongst the people who call this home. We spent the full day in a strategic planning session for the Nonprofit Sector LINK--a nonprofit for nonprofits, facilitated by Karen Doyle from the provincial government . Walking home, exhausted from a day of vigorous discussion and consensus building, I reflected on the value of being able to participate in and contribute to this kind of process. It's is a great education in community development, possibly the best.

Less than a week ago, we went through a different strategic planning session with Events Wood Buffalo, facilitated by Ray Floyd, a senior vice president with Suncor Energy.

Both approaches offered value and vision to the organizations and offered me some invaluable lessons on strategic planning.

I also love the notion of being able to get to know a new group of talented individuals from other sectors. Getting to hear the passion and wisdom from the folks on the social services side of things is exhilarating. Listening to fellow Leadership Wood Buffalo alum Melissa Haley talk about the nuances of social planning, or getting insight about recreational facility and program development from John Mulhull, provides me with rich fodder that I can adapt and put to use in many of the organizations and projects with which I am involved. I could sit and listen to people like Iris Pasareno from the Salvation Army and Dianne Farkouh from the Oil Sands Developers Group all day. And seeing the facilitation work of Karen Doyle, Ray Floyd and Ed Kamps is akin to community development grad school.

Long story short, we can learn so much just by engaging in dialogue with each other, by listening, by sharing. I feel eternally blessed that I get to sit around various tables with so many of the people who make this region tick. Today represented another of those great opportunities that I value more than I can properly articulate.

March 10, 2010 - 191.2 pounds, 26.4% body fat

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