Much of the month of June was dedicated to planning capacity development opportunities for SSP staff. One of our two highest priorities for 2014 is the development of our “common agenda” – a combination of shared vision/goals/objectives and creating work and communication practices that promote collective impact through meaningful alliances between SSP staff and the communities they serve. Toward this end I have been working on three primary projects:

  1. Participation of 5 SSP staff in the Simon Fraser University Community Economic Development (CED) Certificate Program,
  2. A Fall retreat for all SSP staff and leadership team members; and,
  3. A Winter annual meeting for the Sustainable Southeast Network (SSP + SAWC member groups)
The boardwalk in front of the old cannery housing area in Kake.

The boardwalk in front of the old cannery housing area in Kake.

Our participation in the CED program at SFU is intended to provide a shared education experience for five of our staff to develop a common understanding and language for community economic development. Our partnership includes a diverse range of organizations and we have considerable work to do to make sure we are on the same page when each one of us talks about and develops projects around community economic development. This year, we have registered two community catalysts (Adam and Marjorie), two regional catalysts (Alana and Lia) and the program coordinator (me) for participation in two short, but intensive residencies in Vancouver in October of this year and May of next year, as well as weekly webinars with instructors and this years’ CED cohort in between the residencies. Each month, the five SSP staff attending the course will offer a summary webinar to share what we have learned with the rest of the SSP staff. Click here to get a general overview of the SFU CED certificate program and here to see a list of the classes we will be taking together this year.

I have been working with Peter Forbes on planning a retreat for all SSP staff and leadership team members. Peter is a professional facilitator and curriculum developer who has been working for over 20 years on bridging the gap between community-based conservation and human well-being efforts.  So far we have shared our proposal for the retreat with the leadership team, identified the second week of November as our target date and Sitka as the likely location of the retreat. The focus of this retreat will be on relationship building between SSP staff, on recognizing our common interests, celebrating and respecting our differences, and developing a set of tools and practices that we can employ to build a true alliance between all SSP staff, partner organizations and target communities.

I have also been working with Angie and several others on planning for this year’s Sustainable Southeast Network annual meeting. We are still in the initial stages of planning but at this point it is looking like it will be a 2 day event during the second week of December. The first day will include just SSP staff and SAWC member group representatives and will focus developing our capacity for collaboration and community engagement. The second day will be open to a wider audience, including folks from communities, organizations and government agencies that we currently work with or would like to work with. The second day will focus on sharing success stories that highlight the resources that we each bring to the table. We will be seeking a keynote speaker for day two that we hope can also participate as a mentor on day one.

In addition to working on these larger events for the Fall/Winter, I worked on a number of items to support our regional and community catalysts: from project level participation with Shaina, Adam, John, Scott and Lia to more general program development work including getting on paper a more complete description of what the program coordinator job entails.

I also had the pleasure of visiting two communities this month: Hoonah and Kake. You can ready my trip report for Hoonah here, and for Kake here.

Please check out monthly and trip reports from the other SSP staff to learn more about project specifics and don’t hesitate to contact any of us for more details.