CALP Connections: September 2022
It’s the end of summer and September is here,
With another Fall season about to appear.
Across the province CALP doors open wide,
To welcome learners back on inside.
With new programs ready and instructors in place,
We’re ready to tackle this grant year with grace.
We’ve taken some time to practise self care,
Recognizing it’s healthy to be self aware.
Learners are demanding and the world is unstable,
It’s easy to focus on how we’re unable.
Do this; change that. Adjust, move and blend –
Tell me when does the chaos come to an end?
Probably never, it’s now our “new normal,”
But that’s ok, CALPs are used to abnormal.
Like metal that is shaped and forged in fire,
A CALP becomes stronger; their goals, higher.
So as we embrace sweater weather and crisp fall days,
I’m saying “welcome back” in a new kind of way.
I’m hopeful you’re relaxed and your mind is revived,
Ready to welcome this season and truly thrive!
That was fun! I hope my poetry brought a smile to your face.
Just a reminder to Save the Date for the 35th Annual CLN AGM on September 28, 2022. I hope to “see” many of you online for our AGM beginning at approximately 2:30 pm, immediately following the 2022 Literacy & Learning Awards Ceremony. Watch your email for your AGM Package or check out the link in this newsletter.
Colleen Thiessen, CLN Board Chair
Executive Director, Wetaskiwin Learning Program
CALP Connections: Summer 2022
What an exciting time of year! Summer is just around the corner and many of us are looking forward to some much-deserved vacation time. Just before we embark on our summer adventures, I want to take a moment to thank each CALP and their staff for continually rising to the challenges of the world we live in. It hasn’t been easy to constantly adapt and pivot the way we do business; however, each of you has done an exceptional job of serving the learners in your community.
It has been said that consistency and persistence are two of the main components required to build a strong team. As a team, the CLN Board of Directors has continued to build on the strong relationship we have with Minister Nicolaides and his staff at Advanced Education. As you know, CALPs fall under the Foundational Learning and Skills Development unit of Advanced Education, and there was a reorganization during this past grant term. Just recently we have been introduced to some new team members who will be our primary contacts, and on behalf of the CLN Board of Directors, I want to officially welcome Brian Yaeck and Pratima Lobin to team CALP! Having these two new team members will provide consistency to CLN staff and the CALP system, and I know both Brian and Pratima will soon find out just how persistent we can be! If you haven’t already done so, reach out and say hello.
The CLN staff have done a great job of consistently reaching out and making themselves available to CALPs. The quality and availability of professional development opportunities that have been available virtually, and in-person, have enabled CALPs to build strong teams of staff who are both knowledgeable and persistent with learners. I encourage you to start thinking about the professional development opportunities you will be part of in the fall, and if there is something you feel is missing that would be valuable training for CALPs, please reach out to your CLN regional support staff.
The poet John Keats once wrote, “Impossible is for the unwilling.” Over the past 10 years, I have been in the CALP system, I can honestly say that nothing is impossible because I have consistently seen the CLN staff and CALPs find unique and creative ways to thrive. When I read that quote, I see possible is for the willing, and that is how I see the Community Learning Network and Community Adult Learning Programs working together: a strong team filled with consistency and persistence, working together, willing to do whatever it takes to make learning possible.
Enjoy your summer!
Chairperson, CLN Board of Directors
CALP Connections: May 2022
It is hard to believe that six years have flown by since I first joined the CLN Board. I am so glad that I decided to invest my time in this role. Let me tell you why.
- My local CALP is stronger because of what I have learned about governance, policy and board organization. We have been able to build on the example that CLN sets as a board directed organization.
- I am a better leader because of the leadership I have sat under. I have learned so much from each chair and committee head - about communication, organization, conflict management, inspiration and dreaming big dreams.
- I have deeper connections with a great group of colleagues, who have stepped out of their busy lives, and often their comfort zone, to invest in strengthening our joint work in adult learning and literacy.
- I have a broader insight into the opportunities and challenges that face our field, and understand more clearly the work that goes on behind the scenes.
- I have the satisfaction of knowing I have made a contribution to an organization that is a vital resource for our CALP programs.
- We have had a lot of fun! We have shared stories, laughs, frustrations, resources (and some great meals!) and I always come away encouraged.
Ok, now I am feeling sad about all I will miss! As I complete my term on the board this September, I want to thank you for the opportunity to be your representative, and I hope you will consider if perhaps the time is right for you to start your own journey on this adventure.
Lois Polege, CLN Board Vice Chair
Adult Education Coordinator, Flagstaff Community Adult Learning
CALP Connections: Special Edition
CLN Support Services Regional Realignment
For the past two years, the CLN has concentrated on delivering professional development, training, services and supports through a virtual/online format. As we move forward, CALPs will notice CLN Staff “out and about”, offering support in-person. We will continue to offer services online through a variety of blended formats. We look forward to “seeing” more of you, more often, while maintaining ease of access to professional development and supports in a timely way.
In order to best meet the needs identified by CALPs across the province, CLN is making a few regional boundary adjustments, effective July 1st, 2022. The realignment will assist CLN staff with maintaining targeted professional development, training, supports and connections.
This chart provides a listing of all 83 CALPs by Region, along with the name and contact information of CLN’s Regional Support Staff. Organizations directly affected by the realignment are highlighted.
CALP Connections: April 2022
Spring has sprung! I know this because of the bird couple nesting in the eave outside of my bedroom window. Every morning their little chirps awaken me to the arrival of a new day. They remind me that the dirty and drab world of winter ending is about to become alive with the rebirth and renewal of spring. The birds chirping outside my bedroom window in March has been a continuous cycle of love, hope, joy and transformation for the past 10 years.
Just like Spring… one thing that is continuous in CALPs is Change.
Our 2022 Outstanding Contributions to Community Adult Learning Award would usually be celebrated with Symposium this Fall. With Symposium moving to Spring 2023, there have been some changes occurring to our timeline for when we will be celebrating.
This year’s celebration will occur at the CLN AGM at the end of September 2022.
We, the CLN Board, are seeking nominations that recognize the exceptional contributions to the adult learning field over the past year, July 2021 to June 2022.
What kind of nominees should you be thinking about?
Well, the Nominees must be CALP organizations, or an employee or board member from a CALP organization, and be a CLN member in good standing.
Do you know of an individual or an organization that has shown leadership in the adult learning field? (July 2021 to June 2022)
If you have answered yes to this question, here is the next one for you to ponder…
Has this individual or organization inspired their community or CALP to advance lifelong learning? (July 2021 to June 2022)
Still answering yes? Here’s the final question for you to really help you visualize who your nomination will be…
Has this individual or organization increased capacity to better meet the foundational learning needs of adult Albertans in their community? (July 2021 to June 2022)
Now that you have this person or organization in your mind, why not give them a nomination for the 2022 Outstanding Contributions to Community Adult Learning Award?
I have nominated in the past and have found it to be a rather simple process.
- Complete the nomination form,
- Attach a nominating letter, and
- Include 2 letters (minimum) of support from members of the community. (This could be a Board member, the Mayor, or a CALP member. Someone who can give specific details highlighting the nominee’s successes and accomplishments in the past year.)
Once you have completed the nomination process you will submit it all to the CLN Board at email@example.com.
As I mentioned above, I have done this process in the past. It felt a bit daunting at first about how I would recognize all the valuable contributions this individual has displayed in their community and organization.
I have a couple of tips to tell those of you that are doing the nominating…
- Don’t tell them. The genuine surprise will make the wait all worthwhile.
- Work with other members of your team to get those letters of support. We all have different relationships with members in our community. Having someone that has a strong relationship, with say the Mayor, may be able to get that letter of support provided more quickly then someone who has a low relationship level.
- It doesn’t have to be one person doing the nominating. It can be the whole team contributing to showcase those exceptional qualities that the nominated individual owns.
- When submitting, scan into your email as one package. This helps to eliminate misplaced items.
- Enjoy the nominating process!
- Reach out to any of the CLN Board members with any questions that may arise.
“Spring is far more than just a changing of seasons; it’s a rebirth of the spirit.” - Toni Sorenson.
For more information and to fill out the nomination form go to: 2022 Outstanding Contribution to Community Adult Learning Award.
This year’s celebration will occur at the CLN AGM on September 28th, 2022. Deadline for nominations is Thursday, June 30, 2022 and you can send your nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephanie Brown, CLN Board Treasurer
Essential Skills Coach/ GED Coordinator, Hinton Adult Learning Society
CALP Connections: March 2022
Welcome to March… with longer days, melting snow, and spring around the corner, woo hoo!!
My name is Kimberly Cairns, and I am the Adult & Family Literacy Program Manager with the Grande Prairie Council for Lifelong Learning. I was first introduced to CALP through friends who facilitated Family Literacy programs. My interest was piqued, and I applied to be a part-time Family Literacy Facilitator. Even though I enjoyed my other full-time work, I quickly realized that the highlight of each week was leading these parent-child programs that supported literacy learning. Couple this with the joy that came from seeing adults gain confidence as I taught a Basic Computer Skills class triggered a desire to shift my work focus. In the Fall of 2014 this desire was met as I hired on to be a coordinator with GPCLL.
Looking back, I was ill equipped to take on the coordinator role, but I am grateful for the quality training provided through the CALP system, by our own fabulous CLN. My personal learning and growth have been significant and has enabled me to more effectively serve the learners who come through our doors.
I am also privileged to serve as a CLN Board Member. When I was asked if I had ever thought about applying to be a Board Member, my first thoughts were that I haven’t been in the industry long enough and don’t have the ‘training’ to be on the Board. My lack of equipping and confidence would have held me back, but to be able to serve in this new way pushed me to complete the application.
I am new to serving on the CLN Board but not new to serving others. Over the years I have found that the benefit of serving greatly outweighs my inadequacies and fears. I resonate with Anne Frank’s words, “No one has ever become poor by giving.” Serving others is a form of giving that has benefitted me perhaps even more than those to whom I’ve reached out. I have met new people and made lifelong friends. I have learned new skills and tried things that I didn’t think I could do! I have had to look beyond myself and my circumstances, which in turn boosted my mental and emotional health. I have had a sense of purpose and achievement when contributing to a broader picture. There are so many benefits to serving!
As I begin my journey on the CLN Board, I look forward to what I can contribute from my learning and skills as well as to what I will gain because of time with these ladies. I hope you too have found benefit in your service! If you are looking for new areas to serve, consider joining the CLN Board.
I encourage you to serve to become rich!
Kimberly Cairns, CLN Board Director
Adult & Family Literacy Program Manager, Grande Prairie Council for Lifelong Learning
CALP Connections: February 2022
Find the Funny in February!
February is here and let’s hope it brings more daylight and some warmer temperatures our way!
My name is Melanie Patenaude and I am currently the Executive Director for the County of Lethbridge Community Learning Council where I have held numerous positions over the past decade.
I am one of the new directors on the CLN board this year and I have already learned so much. I wanted to serve as a director to give back to an organization that has helped me learn and grow in my various positions over the past ten years. The CLN board and staff have always been there with support, training and a friendly ear when you are facing an issue or have a question.
As we enter this month that is usually the shortest but can feel like the longest, I encourage you to try to make a point of finding something funny each day. Let’s call it “Find the Funny in February!” Whether it be reading a joke or sharing a funny or embarrassing story with a friend or co-worker. I’ll get us started:
Me: This show is so boring.
Boss: Again, this is a Zoom meeting.
Two goats were munching on a movie script.
Goat 1: Mmm, this is good.
Goat 2: The book was better.
What do you say when you are comforting a grammar expert? There, their, they’re…
Feel free to join me on the Portal to "Find the Funny in February" and let's share some laughs together!
Melanie Patenaude, CLN Board Director
Executive Director for the County of Lethbridge Community Learning Council
CALP Connections: January 2022
Literacy is the great enabler and the foundation on which you build more sophisticated skills. We are living in a world where skills are constantly changing and people with higher literacy skills can adapt more easily to these changes. There are people without jobs and jobs without people and in my opinion, literacy is the root of prosperity and economic growth. It is not the only solution but what is so beautiful about the work we do is that it impacts not only our learners but their children or families and the future.
I often call this work “The Silent World of Literacy”. To be completely honest in some ways it must remain silent. Many Canadians with proficient or higher literacy skills, couldn’t imagine Canadian-born adults who have low literacy skills. However, I also believe that much of what we do must remain silent because Canadian-born adults have low literacy skills. In our work, the importance of privacy and confidentiality is, in my opinion, the most important aspect of our jobs. Especially for those of us that work in small towns and rural areas. While we strive to shine the light on our services, we are required to maintain confidentiality to ensure dignity for our learners.
Our learners whether immigrant or Canadian-born, take a risk in being vulnerable when accessing help. This vulnerability can be honoured through our professionalism and commitment to show our learners that the risk is worth the reward. The vulnerability will pay off in personal growth, confidence and development of skills.
In November 2021, I challenged myself and a group of local community service providers to take note of every time they accessed their digital skills, reading skills, and numeracy skills as they went about their day.
What we found is that everywhere we went we encountered the need for literacy skills. The Covid-19 pandemic has exponentially increased the need for basic literacy skills. The areas that were identified after brief discussion were as follows:
- meetings/job requirements moved online
- vaccination bookings online
- health updates on social media
- downloading/printing your vaccine passport from the AHS website
- standing in line at the grocery store appropriately
- spacing yourself between other people (at least 6 feet)
- masking rules/spacing while attending events
- online school
- supporting our children with online school
- navigating Zoom and Google meet
It is a daunting task when you consider yourself somewhat skilled in digital, numeracy and literacy skills. Our learners often have basic knowledge and lack tremendous confidence in their abilities.
I encourage you to reflect on the work that you do as a leader to build trust, to provide a safe and welcoming space, professional working relationships and develop honest communication.
I would say that this is not a small task, this is powerful work. There’s not one of you reading this today that doesn’t have a story of witnessing incredible growth and success in a learner. We might not get to see the impact of change this week or this year, but I will tell you that the countless hours and commitment to each learner have lasting effects on generations to come.
As we enter 2022, I would like to thank you for working through 2021 and courageously encountering every change, every challenge and every joy.
Thank you for holding space for your learners, thank you for referring your learners to community service providers, for being a shoulder to cry on and for adjusting your personal schedules to accommodate your learners' needs.
It does not go unnoticed when you recognize the needs your learner has when they need childcare in order to concentrate or if you are calling a taxi for your learner on those cold winter days.
Thank you for curiously engaging with your learners, for providing the very best instructional materials, for caring for yourself so you can better care for others and for silently celebrating with your learners while keeping their dignity and vulnerability at the front of your thoughts each day. Thank you for being a lifelong learner. The choices we make in our daily work are what change our learners’ lives and the generations to come.
My wish for you in 2022 comes from Mandy Hale:
Trust the wait,
Embrace the uncertainty.
Enjoy the beauty of becoming.
When nothing is certain,
Anything is possible.
Happy New Year! May you find peace and calm in the year to come.
Rochelle Galeski, CLN Board Secretary
ABLE Coordinator, Medicine Hat College A.B.L.E. Program – Brooks Campus