Nurturing rural leadership rekindles communities. At the Annual General Meeting of the Rural Communities Foundation of Nova Scotia (RCF) on June 7 at NSCC Truro, RCF grant recipients shared their experiences on how their projects create and inspire leaders at both ends of the rural spectrum: seniors and youth.
Anna Roch gave an overview of the RCF funded Seniors Navigator Project, which creates and evaluates ways to improve rural seniors’ access to the services they need. “The Seniors Navigator Project will provide training to community leaders so they can serve as rural navigators to seniors. Navigators will direct seniors to the services they need with the objective of maximizing their ability to remain in their homes and in their rural communities.”
Erin Wynn of the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre and Sexual Assault Services Association gave a presentation on Spark the Change, a teen leadership camp project that received a 2015 RCF Rural Leadership Grant. The camp which was held in April 2016 brought together high school students from across the province and expanded their knowledge, confidence and facilitation skills for healthy relationships. “We used art, theatre and music to explore social justice issues. Participants were encouraged to go back to their communities and use what they had learned.”
Brooke Nodding, Shauna Barry and Clare Kellock of the Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation talked about their 2014 Leadership Grant funded project, Trailblazers for Junior High Students. Trailblazers is an afterschool program at Bluenose Academy in Lunenburg that builds leadership action skills outdoors. “The biggest success for us was getting the kids outside! Instead of staying indoors and playing video games, they learned new outdoor skills and had lots of fun.”
“This AGM felt like a turning point for the Rural Communities Foundation of Nova Scotia,” says incoming RCF Chair Arthur Bull. “Building on our past strengths, we are now ready to explore new ways that we can support the great work that grassroots groups are doing in our rural communities.”
At this year’s annual general meeting, RCF thanked outgoing directors Cathy Leslie, Al England and Tracy Kittilsen for their service to the foundation, and welcomed new directors Maureen Coady, Greg Levy and Jean Ward. Maureen Coady resides in Antigonish County and is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Adult Education at St Francis Xavier University. Greg Levy is president of Bulldog Logging Ltd. and lives in Sunken Lake, Kings County. Jean Ward is a former 4-H Specialist and Resource / Leadership Coordinator with the NS Department of Agriculture and lives in Annapolis County.