“There is divine beauty in learning…To learn means to accept the postulate that life did not begin at my birth. Others have been here before me, and I walk in their footsteps.”
~ Elie Wiesel
I had other plans and ideas of how I wanted to grow after I finished my upgrading and none of those involved becoming a teacher. I always loved helping people with their life and learning goals and didn’t realize that was what CALPs provide for communities. In fact, I wasn’t even aware of what a CALP was. I was strongly encouraged to drop a resume off to Deena at Hinton Adult Learning in the latter half of 2012 by a former teacher. It took me until January 2013 to build the confidence needed to actually see that what I had to offer was an asset to the community, so I sent a resume off to Deena. At that point in time, I figured my learning journey was over and I was going to work now. I had the requirements to be a tutor and I was satisfied with that for a career. I was in for a grand wake-up though, because as you know, we never stop learning. Lifelong Learning has now become a favorite mantra of mine.
Since joining CALP in 2013, I have pursued many learning opportunities as they arise. I have become an experienced staff member due to my love of learning of everything adult learning related. So when I joined the CLN family as a Board member in September this year, I felt I was ready to rise to the challenge. I know I am going to learn immensely from my fellow knowledgeable Board members.
Attending my first hybrid Board meeting, I sat in awe at how intelligent and unruffled each of these wonderful board members present themselves. Each member brings with them unique life experience and a love of learning. The safe space for the meeting was created naturally with no judgment or arguing over differences with opinions. The professionalism displayed from each member really represents how dedicated our team is to adult learning communities around Alberta. I am motivated by this board and am thrilled to be able to work alongside and learn from each of them during my term.
A little holiday wish to each of you:
"Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most."
~ Ruth Carter Stapleton
May each of you receive that light of love during the season and beyond.
Essential Skills Coach, Hinton Adult Learning
CLN Board Director
In the midst of this crazy year, I have been reflecting on the roles we all play in Adult Learning programs across the province. There are so many variations amongst us. However, one thing I believe we all share is our motivation to make a difference in the lives of our learners. As we roll with the waves of change, let’s not forget that we can still find ways to encourage, to cheer and celebrate and honour our learners and each other. What none of us could do alone, we CAN do together!
Thank you to all of you who have inspired and strengthened me on my journey – sharing stories, resources, and strategies along with laughter and the occasional tear (or growl ). Thanks for being part of the Community Learning Network family.
“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT
Adult Learning Coordinator, Flagstaff Community Adult Learning
CLN Board Secretary
Thank you to everyone who joined us for CLN's 33rd Annual General Meeting virtually on September 29th.
We are pleased to share with you the CLN Board of Directors for the 2020-21 year.
The newest member of the CLN Board is Stephanie Brown from Hinton Adult Learning Society
Colleen Thiessen, Chair
Wetaskiwin Community Learning Program
Kate Glover, Vice Chair
Willow Creek Community Adult Learning Society
Jana Thomson, Treasurer
Rocky Learning Centre
Lois Polege, Secretary
Flagstaff Community Adult Learning
Doray Veno, Director
Hanna Learning Centre
Lil Radley, Director
Read On Adult Literacy Program (Lethbridge Public Library)
Stephanie Brown, Director
Hinton Adult Learning Society
Who would have ever believed time would fly during a pandemic? Well it sure did! Welcome Back!
I’m quite sure that many of you have hit the ground running. (Final Reports submitted, Fall Programming planned…Programs started…Registering for our Virtual Symposium...connecting with colleagues and learners…..) I hope you shared some peaceful time, with family and friends because you deserve it. The opportunity to refuel is a key component to doing the meaningful work in your programs and communities.
While many CALPs are just returning to the office, the CLN Team has been busy over the summer months with several activities including converting our annual Learning and Literacy Symposium from in person to virtual professional development and networking opportunity! Registration deadline is Wednesday, September 16, 2020.
With all the additional time everyone has been and will be spending online, I leave you with these tips borrowed from the below U of A article, How to Handle Digital Overload. https://www.folio.ca/how-to-handle-digital-overload/
See you at our CLN Annual General Meeting and the 2020 Learning and Literacy Symposium (Virtual) September 29th to October 2nd!
Executive Director, Hanna & District Association for Lifelong Learning
Chair, Community Learning Network
This time of year, I schedule the opportunity for reflection. Well, I certainly have no shortage of situations and events to reflect on!
But first, some thanks. Thank you to our membership and staff for your outstanding commitment to the CALP system during this unprecedented time. Thank you for your tireless and collective efforts to mobilize so quickly. From ensuring the well-being of our learners and each other to offering and attending trainings on how to leverage technology, to creating new learning activities and programs, and to planning for almost every possible contingency. The passion and commitment that you have for the CALP system is not only tremendous, but on display in a way like never before. Thank you, just doesn’t seem like enough. My appreciation for you is much greater than these words.
As the second year of your three-year CALP agreement wraps up, please reach out to your Community Learning Network Regional Support Staff and your Grant Manager if you have questions on grant reporting. Deadline for submitting is no later than August 31st. The new CALP Guidelines 2020 are now available on the CALP Portal under the CALP Grant tab, as well as a series of FAQs about the CALP Guidelines 2020. The 2020 CALP Guidelines will be in effect for your third year of your agreements, starting July 1, 2020.
Many CALP programs are preparing for a summer break, so I wanted to send you off with best wishes for an amazing summer! Be safe, be well and take good care of yourselves. Have a fabulous summer.
CLN Board Chair
So much has changed yet so much remains the same. As we are all adjusting to this changing reality of every day life, we take comfort in what has not changed.
I’m thinking specifically of our Community Adult Learning Programs who continue to do amazing work, perhaps in different ways. Across the province, CALPs are there reaching out and connecting with learners. Building relationships with prospective students, tutors, and partners has always been important. In this time of uncertainity, continuing those relationships is more important than ever for everyone, for they help maintain a sense of normalcy. There are no short conversations these days; those that we are reaching value these interactions.
What has not changed are the supports that are there for CALPs. These include the CLN’s Provincial and Regional Support Staff, the Rural Routes team, the urban Professional Development Specialists from ECALA and Calgary Learns, and everyone who has readily shared ideas and resources via the Portal and online meetings. It seems that without missing a heartbeat, CALPs have acquired the skills and resources needed to continue learning activities for their students.
And at the heart of all this is the Community Learning Network - always there, proactive and responding. Now is an opportune time for CALP Staff, who want to share their skills and talents in a new way, by becoming part of the governing body of the Community Learning Network, the CLN Board.
I also wanted to share how we celebrated Read On Volunteers during National Volunteer Week.
We invited our tutors to join us at a Tim Horton’s drive-thru, where they ordered a coffee and a doughnut, courtesy of Read On. They came, some in cars, bikes, and our intrepid tutor Teena, on her motor scooter.
Learning to do things differently!
Lil Radley, CLN Board Director
Literacy Services Coordinator, Lethbridge Public Library Read On Program
“Encourage, lift and strengthen one another. For the positive energy spread to one will be felt by us all. For we are connected, one and all.” ~ Deborah Day
In this time, like no other we have known, we need one another in ways we could not have predicted. While we may not be physically close, let us be close in ways that matter and give us all strength to face each new day.
The CLN is but a short virtual connection away and ready to support you on this evolving journey. We’ve put on our dancing shoes and will move fast or slow, creating new moves or trusting in steps we know by heart – just say the word. And if you’re not sure of the word, we’ll sway in time to the music and just be with you.
Our team continues to assess your training and professional development needs and recognizes that the pace of change and new learning is relentless right now. We will lead when it’s helpful, follow you where you go or walk beside you – today, tomorrow and in the days to come.
Warm and healthy wishes from our team to yours.
Doray Veno Lisa Dickner
CLN Chairperson CLN Executive Director
As the situation around COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues to evolve, we are reaching out to let you know that CLN has been closely monitoring the situation, and reviewing our plans for all face-to-face training, events and Regional Meetings.
As of today, Monday, March 16th, all face-to-face trainings, events and site visits scheduled between March 17th and April 15th are cancelled.
Your safety and comfort are our first concern.
We will continue to monitor the situation, and plan to reschedule trainings when it is safe to do so.
CLN will ensure that any CALP staff booked into a training will receive a full refund. Your Regional Support Staff will be reaching out to you directly, if they have not done so already, to confirm your understanding of the refund process and cancellation of the event(s) you have registered for.
Those who are currently registered for a training will be contacted directly, to be given priority to register when we are able to confirm a new date.
Earlier today, the following information was sent out from the CALP Team at Advanced Education:
Following the announcement Sunday from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer that there are now indications of COVID-19 community spread, Alberta has increased its measures to limit the acceleration of the COVID-19 spread. These measures include mandating the suspension of post-secondary classes (campuses remain open), as well as closing K-12 schools and daycares.
Advanced Education advises the CALP system to take the same precautionary measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 and suspend in-person learning until further direction is provided.
We understand that CALP serves a vulnerable population and that your organization may be the only safe space in the community for your learners. It is up to your organization’s board and staff if you want to remain open to provide learner support services. Where possible, we encourage all CALP grant recipients to explore the online delivery of foundational programming online.
Should you choose to remain open, please refer to Alberta Health Services, for the best hygiene practices, the latest public health restrictions, and other information on COVID-19.
If you have any questions, please contact your grant manager.
It's important in these times of uncertainty to ensure you have accurate and up to date information, the Government of Alberta has created a page on their website where you can access information, resources and the most recent news. Please visit this link regularly to keep current on the latest news and developments. https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx
Is that spring around the corner? At this time of year, I often think of new starts and what could develop in the year ahead. I’m hopeful that some exciting new adventures will appear, and wondering what I will learn and how I will change in the coming months. Perhaps (probably) there will be challenges, but aren’t they also part of our journey?
As we seek out new opportunities in 2020, I encourage you to consider whether this is the year you join the CLN Board! If you recognize the value of this organization, why not support it by putting yourself forward as a prospective Board member? You will find it a fantastic source of learning new skills, discovering new perspectives and building new friendships. We would love to have your contribution and voice as we strengthen the Community Adult Learning system in Alberta. Please feel free to contact any Board member with questions and suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you!
For more information on the Board Member position or to see the application form click here.
Lois Polege, CLN Board Secretary
Adult Learning Coordinator, Flagstaff Community Adult Learning Society
We are already a month into 2020 and we survived the very cold deep freeze Mother Nature set forth.
In the summer the CLN Board felt it was time to realign the CLN’s strategic plan. This is a process we all know Boards take part in in different capacities on a regular basis…right?!? During our discussions on how to proceed it was mentioned that Brad Kotowich may still be in the business of strategic planning. (For those of you who have been in the CALP world for a while, you may remember Brad from past Symposium sessions.) We immediately agreed we should reach out to Brad to find out if he is interested in working with the CLN again.
Turns out, Brad was very keen to work with us again, however he is no longer in the business of “strategic planning”. His school of thought being that you can’t be strategic if you are not first sustainable. The Board set out to create a Sustainability Plan for the Community Learning Network that includes our five “organizational sustainability pillars”. The pillars reflect the most critical aspects of the CLN’s overall purpose, and ongoing health and sustainability. Our annual planning and intentional work throughout the organization will encompass each of these pillars and the outcomes within. The CLN’s sustainability pillars were determined to be as follows:
We were so excited and pleased to see our new creation and in January we were able to share it with the CLN Staff.
The staff were assigned to look at our Sustainability Plan creation and tear it apart. Find any and every gap and ask the Board to defend it. We had a “great debate” and it was GREAT! By the end of the activity the Board and Staff were able to look at the new plan from a variety of different perspectives and we are now in the process of making final edits and minor adjustments.
We rounded off our time in January with Board and Staff trying out our culinary skills by creating some cuisine inspired by New Orleans. Jambalaya, coleslaw and ribs were on the menu followed by a fantastic bananas foster. What a wonderful team we have in the CLN and CALPs throughout the province.
We know you want to see how our Sustainability Plan turns out so stay tuned for the unveiling in the Spring!
Jana Thomson, CLN Board Treasurer
Program Coordinator, Rocky Learning Centre
How many times over the years have you heard if your eyesight is 20/20, you have perfect vision? I certainly have been reminded lately that my eyesight is not perfect and sometimes I need help with my vision.
I have personal and professional visions of how I would like 2020 to unfold; however, I am old enough to know that things will not always be perfect. Some things will drift out of focus. I’ve learned that I can regain clarity by adjusting my attitudes and expectations. Nevertheless, I still need help from family, colleagues and friends along the way.
My challenge for each one of us is to have a 2020 vision, do our best to fulfill it, and be ready for the challenges life will toss our way.
They say hindsight is 20/20, so who knows? If we don’t get it right the first time, we can learn from mistakes, make adjustments and see where life takes us. My guess is the future will be better than we envisioned.
Wishing you all an insightful 2020!
Colleen Thiessen, CLN Board Vice Chair
Executive Director, Wetaskiwin Learning Program