Thursday, May 29, 2014

Who Gets my PC Leadership Vote

My vote will go to the candidate that promises to:
  1. Enhance support for an Age Friendly and Barrier Free Alberta 
  2. Rip the WELLNESS agenda out of Alberta Health Services and attach it to a delivery system that is connected to grass roots Albertans.
  3. Reinstate the department of Community Development with a mandate to put a Community Development Policy in place before the 2016 election.
  4. Create a unified Healthy Kids agenda that focuses on being active, being literate and eating right. (Yes I know there are "wicked" problems but get used to solving smaller issues and see what success feels like)
  5. Create a well funded community focused programs in Libraries, The Arts, Sport & Recreation that can be utilized to build community agendas around safe & healthy communities, build local leadership, support volunteers and not for profit organizations.
  6. Focus on creating common agendas across government. Penalize silo dwellers.
  7. Invest in Management that is trained in creating common agendas through processes like Collective Impact.
 The BIG Topics like Health, Education, Justice, Transportation and Energy all have huge lobby groups but a focus on community only has the Marthas and Henrys of Alberta.
Peter Lougheed understood the strategic value of having a focus on community.
 Let's focus on grass roots and building communities. Great chances for success!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The National Recreation Framework - RECREATION MATTERS??

Observations from an input session on the National Recreation Framework paper.

The document is very truthful but not very motivating, could even be thought to be dull.

Trying to get representative thoughts and opinions in a "framework" document is a monumental challenge for any writer, never mind a committee of writers.

Out with the old in with the new!! For me leisure has always been a cornerstone for recreation now it appears that the concept of leisure doesn't matter.... it is just assumed to be part of the "new" definition.

What we forget is that there are many new people at the tables for policy and program decisions. Stepping back and revisiting history might be a good investment of a page or two in the doc. Trumpeting our accomplishments along with where we have fallen short might also be helpful.

Brian Johnson did a great job of facilitating 70+ folks in Edmonton recently. A good blend of  younger professionals, old wise ones, parks people, active living & sport folks with a touch of urban & rural. Clearly there was no consensus but that wasn't the goal. Lots of input and tons of homework for a writing team. (over twenty pages of recorded comments plus everyone handed in personal feedback sheets)

Tim Burton did a masterful job of reminding participants why recreation matters.


It might be time for the "recreation sector" to ask itself the questions others are asking.
1. Why is recreation at the table?
2. Why does recreation matter?
3. What has recreation done for us? (millennials might  say, nothing, just created problems)
    Millennials might see "recreation" as a boomer thing.
4. Has recreation past its "before before date"?

The document that goes to the national event in Ontario has to be exciting, motivating and a call to action. In my mind it doesn't have to be short. It has to answer the questions; where have we been, where are we now and where are we going. It is not a strategic plan but it has to say we need one. It shouldn't say recreation has all the answers but it has to say we need a collective agenda with sport and active living. The paper should address the issue of roles and maybe not so gently illustrate to Provincial Ministers that the Federal Government has been calling the shots in their recreation jurisdiction for years. Provincial Ministers have to start doing the tough decision making and quit meeting for coffee at taxpayers expense.

The paper has to focus on how recreation does business......recreation uses a community development approach.

My fear is that if we don't get it right this time, there may not be a next time. Ask/Answer the tough questions! 
Where are the trumpeters of the recreation stories in Canada?

Can we learn anything from this recent article? 
Legos, Erector Sets, Collaboration and the Future of the Nonprofit Sector

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

National Recreation Framework - Keeping Up With The Discussion

The process to create a new National Recreation Framework for Canada is well underway.

The background going back to the National Summit in Lake Louise (Fall 2011) and documents from the New Brunswick event in 2013 as well as other papers are found on the Leisure Information Network site at:

Recent documents outlining the current round of consultations are linked here.

Pathways to Wellbeing: A National  Framework for Recreation in Canada

The discussion guide that is being used to guide conversations across Canada. These events are usually hosted by provincial recreation associations.  The guide outlines the process until February 2015.

Check with your provincial recreation association for consultation dates in your province.