In November 2011, Imagine Canada and its partners convened a sectoral Summit that was the culmination of a national engagement strategy begun in 2009. The Summit brought together a number of voluntary sector staff and volunteers from across Canada, among them nearly 50 people from B.C. – including two members of our Steering Committee.
Debriefing their experience at the Summit with the rest of us led to an obvious conclusion for this ‘link-tank’: if we had such a juicy and fruitful conversation about it, and wanted to relate the national to the provincial, perhaps other attendees would, also.
We decided to initiate contact with all the BC folks who went to the Summit to test this idea, and of course an organizing team quickly came together from BC participants. VOCBC was joined by Summit participants from Vancity Community Foundation and Vancouver Foundation to organize and host these founding events. The first was held April 4 2012, and a second on June 22.
Two things (among many!) really stand out:
- it was clear from the first meeting that achieving powerful change in any of the theme areas of the Summit will require us as a sector to explore and develop a foundational narrative we can each build our specific stories on for many different audiences.
- rather than the ‘usual suspects’ of established and mainstream groups leading and deciding how things will go, we must approach this as conveners and facilitators, inviting and including ALL stages and styles and sub-sectors of community organization. The outcome of the process will only be effective and useful if it is ‘owned’ by everyone. This is critically important.
In July, we collaborated with SPARC BC to secure some funding that will help us move forward in developing the connections and activities to really get things underway. Over the next few months the ‘Next Steps” process will be able to expand and evolve more effectively with the kind of technical and professional support the funding will allow.
And so we head into Fall, and for those of you who may not have been involved so far, stay tuned! This has been an entirely voluntary endeavour to this point, not only to bring the local sector together but to stay connected to the national effort (which is also pursuing the development of a foundational narrative).
Although we will be posting updates to this website, the best way to get involved (or, at least, to be informed) is to sign on to our mailing list using the form on our home page. We look forward to hearing from you!