Symposium 2018: Lasting Impressions

Posted:10 October 2018

Author: Pat Halewich, Community Learning Network

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On behalf of the Community Learning Network, I would like to thank you for attending the Literacy & Learning Symposium 2018!

Our annual Symposium continues to be a wonderful opportunity to gather for professional development and training as a CALP community and to share and learn from our presenters and from each other!

Our Symposium theme was “Creating Safe and Welcoming Spaces” and we heard from so many of you that we accomplished just that!

Our plan was:


And we hope that for you it was a Symposium To REMEMBER!

To recap Symposium 2018, I have included some fast facts as well as some learning takeaways, and I have highlighted some lasting impressions. Hope you enjoy reflecting back on the week as much as I did and please add your thoughts in the comments section below.

Fast Facts…


  • 283 participants attended Symposium 2018
  • 91% of CALP Programs across Alberta attended Symposium 2018
  • Attendees were CALP staff, Board Members, Facilitators/Instructors, Volunteer Tutors, Other Volunteers, CCI Representatives, First Nations College Staff, Library Staff and Government Representatives

Overall Survey Results

Rated as very good or good by respondents

  • Day, time and length of event: 97%
  • Valuable opportunity to share information and network: 97%
  • Quality of training/session delivery: 98%
  • Relevance of training/session content: 96%
  • Symposium Program/Presenters: 96%
  • Keynote speakers: 89%
  • Overall organization of the event: 97%

Learning Takeaways

From the Symposium attendees…

  • “CLN does an outstanding job on Symposium, all involved deserve a pat on their back. Thank you for providing this fabulous learning and networking opportunity for the CALPs.”
  • “I had a fantastic, informative encouraging and inspiring week. Thank you so much for all your hard work.”
  • “Thank you for all your work to offer such a valuable experience of learning and connection for us! The “outcomes” were the icing on the cake.”
  • “The keynote speaker was amazing!! The effort and organization put into the symposium is evident – much appreciated – job well done!!”
  • “Thank you! So well organized! An excellent symposium – the entire experience was so inspiring. I am leaving feeling lighter than a cloud open to new possibilities! So excited!”
  • “Thank you to the organizers! Always look forward to the sessions and info sharing get-togethers. See you next year.”
  • “This event was organized extremely well as always. Everyone/staff are so friendly and helpful. Thank you for all your hard work.”
  • “This was an excellent and very helpful experience as a new staff member. I see now it’s really only the tip of the iceberg, but still thankful for all the information. I’m looking forward to applying it all when I go back to work.”
  • Loved that the event had an Elder present throughout the week. Very powerful, thank you!
  • “I really appreciated the format this year with some of the training being full day. I feel like I got more in depth quality training.”

Lasting Impressions

From a Symposium attendee… (immediate impact)

“May I compliment you and all other organizers on a very good Literacy and Learning Symposium? It was awesome. There was a lot to take in and my brain was full a few times… It was very informative. My co-worker and I were especially pleased with the "Meet the Experts" session on Friday morning, we could easily have done something like this for a full day! We immediately put our ideas into action and are hosting a banking session in the next few weeks, and we are actually partnering with ATB on that.”

From a Symposium attendee… (Creating Safe and Welcoming Spaces)

“My first symposium – overall good impression of caring people doing great work.”

From the new Chairperson of the CLN Board… (inspired)

Doray Veno said it best when she described how she was feeling about the Symposium at the Awards Banquet and said, “I’m feeling full. My head is full, my tummy is full and my heart is full”.

From the Minister of Advanced Education, Honourable Marlin Schmidt… (in appreciation of the excellent work of CALPs)

COF Alla
Presenting the Council of the Federation Award to Red Deer Public Library Adult Literacy Program

The Minister of Advanced Education’s Facebook page also has a post on the Symposium. Click here for the link:

Photos and Presenter PowerPoint Presentations… (keepsakes)

CLN will be updating the Symposium pages on the CALP Portal in the coming days with photos from this year’s conference, along presentations and resources that have been shared by this year’s presenters. Be sure to go to later this month.

Suggestions for Symposium 2019

We would still love to hear from you if you have any suggestions or ideas for sessions, speakers or trainers for next year. Your input is important to us! Please email with possible ideas.

With that said, we wish you a wonderful 2018-19 CALP programming year and hope to see you at next year’s Literacy & Learning Symposium during the week of September 24 – 27th, 2019 in Edmonton!

Pat Halewich
Events Specialist (Symposium Event Lead)
Community Learning Network


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