Education and Community Engagement

Current Work Plan for this Working Group

AGM 2016/17 Education and Community Engagement Working Group Report

The Education and Community Engagement Working Group continues our commitment to educate both ourselves and our broader community in a mutually enriching way.  We recognize and value our interconnectedness and diversity.  We strive to be both teacher and student. We encourage communication with youth, for they understand contemporary social currents and can provide education and guidance to us as we choose our project work for the year. Working from an elder perspective, individually and together, we provide our experience and energy in collaboration with others to help society prepare for and embrace positive change so as to make our environment a healthier place for ourselves and for future generations.

2016/2017 was a year of lively thought and conversation while planning processes, sharing ideas, building/deepening relationships and laying groundwork to ensure the success for future projects for education and engagement.  With other Elders we were involved for ten months in the planning of the March 2017 Forum however logistical obstacles prevented that event from coming to fruition and was cancelled. The legacy of that work will be carried into salons and workshops over the next year.  Highlights of other activities include the following, with various members taking the lead on each project:

  • We continued to improve the educational booth with updated information. New brochures pertaining to our projects are in the works.
  • Members repeated a salon called Food Security in the 21st Century; Are We Prepared?   on April 18 2016, at The North Shore Elder College.
  • We facilitated and evaluated an intergenerational workshop in May 2016 called Building Resilience to Climate Disruption.   The content from the above workshop and two previous salons has now evolved into an up-coming series of small conversational circles which will be held as a pilot over the next three-four months (one has already taken place).  These will be called “Staying Resilient as Our Climate Changes:  Thinking and Feeling Our Way Forward.”   With these small gatherings we hope to attract new audiences and build deeper relationships in the broader community by offering an opportunity to come together to listen, learn, feel, express, and act.  Tools from this pilot series will be shared and offered as a blueprint for future such conversation gatherings.
  • Our working group was involved in planning a major session of the annual Elder summer retreat in August 2016. Our theme “What do we say Yes to” was inspired by the recent book written by Jim Hoggan “I’m Right and You’re an Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean it Up”.
  • Several of our members contributed to the Suzuki Elder Facebook page and Suzuki Elder website and we continue to explore new ideas and tools for innovative and creative use of social media.
  • We worked with the other working groups and the council on their projects to support our mandate.
  • We spent several of our monthly meetings exploring ideas for enhancing positive public discourse and identifying issues that we, as environmentalists/citizens of this earth could “say yes to” with certain compromises.  Each member was asked to spend time selecting a topic on “tough” environmental topics that we could say “yes to” under certain conditions and to come prepared to discuss the results of the process that we used to “get to yes”.  The purpose of this exercise was to explore, in depth, chosen topics and prepare points of connection that we can use in the upcoming election, in our booth discussions, or wherever we choose to challenge the belief that “environmentalists” are all so negative and seldom supportive of economic developmental uses of our natural resources. We also hope to encourage positive public dialogue where we move from toxic to fruitful discourse.  Members delved into really tough topics such as fish farms, mining issues, pipelines etc.  Much homework and reporting back was done and many lively discussions ensued as we realized the many facets that went into making hard decisions to do with socio-economic issues and maintaining a healthy planet.  However, knowing this, there is still room for prevention and balance as we become better stewards of the earth.   We must enhance our depth of knowledge and make our values known to decision makers in order to create a future for the public good. The discussion goes on. A report of this process and tools for further discussions will be forthcoming.

Our members continue to inspire us with the work that they do outside the group in trying to create a healthy and sustainable environment for all; they report their accomplishments and challenges to us regularly, and we love to hear about all of it.  Thank you everyone for a job well done and for caring and sharing in such useful and positive ways; you provide us with unwavering support and resources, and help lay the groundwork for future work. This coming year promises to be one full of stimulating challenges – and we are ready!

Respectfully submitted by Jim Park and Erlene Woollard, Co-Chairs, Education and Community Engagement Working Group

Members:  Cynthia Lam, Stan Hirst, Carlos Hardy, Erlene Woollard, Jim Park, Don Marshall, Jill Schroder, Jerry Growe, Patricia Plackett, Virginia Gillespie, David Cook, Ros Kellett, Eva Wadolna.

 

Previous Work Plans and Reports

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Education and Community Engagement Working Group

Activity Summary for 2016 AGM

 

The Education and Community Engagement Working Group continues our commitment to educate both ourselves and our broader community in a mutually enriching way. We recognize and value our interconnectedness and diversity. We strive to be both teacher and student. We encourage communication with youth, for they understand contemporary social currents and can provide education and guidance to us as we choose our project work for the year. Working from an elder perspective, individually and together, we provide our experience and energy in collaboration with others to help society prepare for and embrace positive change so as to make our environment a healthier place for ourselves and for future generations.

Our work in 2015/2016 includes the following, with various members taking the lead on each project:

  • We continued to improve the educational booth, updated our information and some of the materials including a new banner, and participated in Seniors Day at the Vancouver Public Library.
  • We participated in the annual summer Suzuki Elder Retreat on Bowen Island.
  • We continued to support and promote nature walks and related informational talks around the lower mainland.
  • The success of our first salon called Forward Thinking For Suzuki Elders: Leadership, World Predicaments, and Emotions has been a catalyst for us to extend the subjects of Elder Leadership, Emotions and Climate Change into a “Study Group” which has met many times over the past year and is planning a workshop for May called Building Resilience to Climate Disruption.
  • Many of our members became actively involved in planning and presenting two salons which utilized various community venues as well as knowledgeable and diverse presenters. These were well attended and enjoyed by our members as well as the broader community. The June 2015 title was GMOs: An Exploration-Why Should We Care? In February 2016 we offered Food Security in the 21st Century; Are We Prepared? This theme was successfully repeated on April 18 2016 at the North Shore Elder College.
  • The intergenerational Playing without Plastic project was put on hold for several months and is now being revived and modified.
  • We continued to initiate work with youth, and respond to their requests, through delivering workshops at their conferences, schools, and volunteer settings. Strategic linkages were made with the Catching the Spirit Youth Society and the Metro Vancouver Youth Summit Network. Last year’s “What Moves Me” (into action, or not) workshop theme proved to be a successful leadership learning process.
  • We received a draft of the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF) five-year strategic plan a few months ago, and we have used it as a framework for developing the Suzuki Elder annual strategic plan which is being presented today. In addition, given the renewed focus on environmental issues by the new federal government as well as the environmental framework created at the COP21 conference in Paris last year, it was felt that a document was needed that “connected all the dots”, that showed the relationship between all the diverse components of building a healthy and sustainable community, province, nation, and world. This document is still in draft form but shows how all the Suzuki Elder projects and initiatives fit together. It may also serve as a blueprint for evaluating future projects.
  • We engaged with the other working groups and the council on their projects to support our mandate.
  • Some members contributed to the new website and have written articles for our blog, and have put forth the time and effort to regularly maintain these modern and useful forms of communication.
  • Our members continue to inspire us with the work that they do outside the group in trying to create a healthy and sustainable environment for all; they report their accomplishments and challenges to us regularly, and we love to hear about all of it.

Thank you everyone for a job well done and for caring and sharing in such useful and positive ways; you provide us with unwavering support and resources, and help lay the groundwork for future work. Next year promises to be one full of stimulating challenges – and we are ready!

Respectfully submitted, Jim Park and Erlene Woollard, Co-Chairs, Education and Community Engagement Working Group

 

StratPlan15cStratPlan15d

Education and Community Engagement Working Group

 Activity Summary for 2015 AGM

 

The Education Working Group has evolved into the Education and Community Engagement Working Group. The name reflects our commitment to educate both ourselves and our local communities, in a mutually enriching way, about our relationships with each other and with the world around us. It recognizes and values our interconnectedness and diversity. We are both teacher and student. We encourage communication with youth, for they understand contemporary social currents and can provide education and guidance to us as we choose our project work for the year. Working from an elder perspective, we provide our wisdom and energy to help society prepare for and embrace positive change as it strives to make our environment a healthier place for ourselves and for future generations.

Our work in 2014/2015 includes the following, with various members taking the lead on each project:

  • We revived the educational booth, updated our information and some of the materials, and did a trial run with it at a Seniors Day presentation held at the Vancouver Public Library.
  • We wrote, edited, and published a new pamphlet called Climate Change in BC: Today and Tomorrow, and introduced them via our booth at the library.
  • We participated in the annual summer Suzuki Elder Retreat on Bowen Island.
  • We continued to support and promote nature walks and related informational talks around the lower mainland.
  • A slide presentation called Change and Resilience, which had initially been presented in Naramata last year was re-introduced at our meetings, and we hope to make it part of our “presentation library”.
  • We finished the pilot of our intergenerational project called Playing Without Plastic and have now fine-tuned/consolidated the work into one three-hour module which can be presented at various venues.  It will be launched at the Wild About Vancouver (WAV) Festival in mid-April.
  • We worked with other elders and several youth on our story-telling project, helped to make a three-minute YouTube video, and started the planning towards several potential new projects.
  • We held our first salon called Forward Thinking For Suzuki Elders: Leadership, World Predicaments, and Emotions. The success of this salon has been a catalyst for us to plan others for this year with stimulating topics, as well as to extend the subject of Elder Leadership, Emotions and Climate Change into a “learning circle” format.
  • Many of our members became actively involved with the DSF Blue Dot Tour by volunteering, by attending local events and by working with communities to encourage and embrace support for the rights of Canadians to a healthy environment, ensuring that all have access to fresh air, clean water, and healthy food.
  • Some members contributed to the new website and have written articles for our blog, and have put forth the time and effort to regularly maintain these modern and useful forms of communication.
  • Our members continue to inspire us with the work that they do outside the group in trying to create a healthy and sustainable environment for all; they report their accomplishments and challenges to us regularly, and we love to hear about all of it.

 

Submitted by Jim Park and Erlene Woollard, Co-Chairs, Education and Community Engagement Working Group