Welcome to December, fellow CLN members.
My name is Cindy Heidecker and I am honoured to be a new Board Member on the 2021-2022 CLN Board of Directors. As the program manager for the Paintearth Community Adult Learning Council I have had the great pleasure of meeting and interacting with amazing learners and instructors in East-Central Alberta communities within the County of Paintearth, including Brownfield, Castor, Coronation & Halkirk, for over 11 years. When I am not supporting learning opportunities I am a super sports fan and enjoy spending time with family, travelling, quilting and being outdoors.
The CLN is fortunate to have amazing staff members that ensure adult learning organizations have the tools and skills to support lifelong learning in Alberta. I am also thankful for the current and former CLN Board members that have worked so hard to govern professionally and stay ahead of the curve. My first couple of months as board member have provided me with the opportunity to think about adult learning policy and practice from a provincial lens in the company of great leaders from across the province. I look forward to growing with the CLN over the next few years as we navigate the evolving learning climate.
Literacy and learning are at the heart of every community's strength.
Best Wishes for a super holiday season and a great start to 2022!
Cindy Heidecker, CLN Board Director
Program Manager, Paintearth Community Adult Learning Council
Hello! My name is Tanya Mercredi. I am a Coordinator with Ponoka & Rimbey Adult Learning and I’m brand new to the CLN Board. I would like to tell you how stumbling into the CALP system became one of the most rewarding accidents of my life.
I was hired part-time to offer programs in my community. I fully believed that I knew what our Adult Learning Society was all about and felt pretty confident because community programming was in my wheelhouse! I was excited and I had all kinds of ideas swirling in my head about all the things I would do – and then the phone rang.
As I was settling into my office, on my very first day, I got a call from Cheryl Lovstrom who said she was from the Community Learning Network. She welcomed me as a new coordinator and asked if I would have time to meet with her in the near future and I replied that my day was wide open if that was not too soon. She said, and I quote: “That works for me. I will see you in a few hours.” I had no idea what to expect from our meeting, but I can tell you this – I got more than I bargained for!
Cheryl introduced me to CALP. We talked about the Guidelines, required programming versus general interest programming (bye-bye wheelhouse!), foundational learning and learners, reporting expectations, outcomes and measurement evaluations and, how our organization was a bit of an anomaly because we are two fully functioning sites sharing one grant. Oh, and on that note - your grant application for next year’s funding is due in just over a month so you might want to discuss this with your partner Krista…who is also brand new to CALP.
Mentally, I was formulating my getaway plan and like she knew what I thinking, Cheryl said, before you run for the hills, know that you will not have to do this alone. She assured me that learning the ins and outs of the CALP system was achievable and went on to explain all the professional development and supports that were available to us through the CLN and Rural Routes, and how supportive other CALPs would be in helping us learn the ropes.
Why is my almost comedic story of ineptness important? Because although I felt woefully unprepared in the infancy of my job, with the help of so many, I was able to “roll with it”. The CLN and the numerous other CALPs we reached out to who listened, explained and mentored, had given me tools and resources that were immediately useable and enabled me to connect with and serve learners. I didn’t have to do it alone. And while I grew in my role, each new training gave me confidence and sparked a curiosity to learn more and it reignited my passion for advocacy and involvement.
As I move into a new phase of learning and growth through the CLN Board and not knowing exactly how I will “fit”, I still do so with excitement and passion, because I know I am not going it alone.
Tanya Mercredi, CLN Board Director
Coordinator, Ponoka & Rimbey Adult Learning Society
Thank you to everyone who joined us for CLN's 34th Annual General Meeting virtually on September 28th.
We are pleased to share with you the CLN Board of Directors for the 2021-22 year:
Colleen Thiessen, Chair Lois Polege, Vice Chair
Stephanie Brown, Treasurer Rochelle Galeski, Secretary
Cindy Heidecker, Director Kimberly Cairns, Director
Melanie Patenaude, Director Tanya Mercredi, Director
To contact the CLN Board of Directors please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A note from Kate Glover:
Life turns on a dime, so quickly that I have regretfully had to resign from the CLN board. I wish the very best for the new board and hope to see everyone next year at another excellent symposium.
In this special edition of CALP Connections, please find some important information about the Literacy and Learning Symposium 2021 (Virtual), including how we will honour September 30, the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Chime Live details, and what to look forward to in the mail!
We are so excited about the upcoming sessions, the networking aspects, the celebrations and seeing all of you online at this year's event!
If you have any questions regarding Symposium please contact Pat Halewich at 306-821-6030 or email@example.com.
Ah….September. The air is a bit crisper; the days are a bit shorter and we begin to see a beautiful transformation as fall begins to color our world in spectacular fashion. For many of us, the arrival of September is welcome as it means a return to our regular programs and routines. Schools, Colleges and Universities will be open and filled with enthusiastic learners of all ages. CALPs around the province will see a surge in new learners, eager to start their learning journey, and we’ll welcome back our long time learners who will continue learning. It’s impossible to ignore the energy that fall brings!
I have been watching all the wonderful professional development courses and classes fill the calendar on the CALP Portal, and once again, I feel rich with opportunity! The CLN team has been busy scheduling and planning many excellent courses for CALP staff, and I want to give a “shout out” to the team for their hard work ensuring we have such a variety of diverse learning opportunities. The Literacy and Learning Symposium (virtual), the last week of September, is something I look forward to every year, and the 2021 Symposium will not disappoint! I encourage you to register, if you haven’t already done so. You don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to learn and connect with your peers either virtually, or as part of a Symposium Spoke.
As we welcome September and settle into our routines, take a deep breath of the crisp autumn air and let it rejuvenate and inspire you to make this a “September to Remember.”
Colleen Thiessen, CLN Board Chair
Executive Director, Wetaskiwin Learning Program
On behalf of the Board of Directors and Staff of the Community Learning Network (CLN), we invite you to pause with us, as we mourn and honour the 215 children whose remains were discovered at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School last week.
We offer our deepest condolences to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, and to all Indigenous and Metis communities who are grieving this loss, and the loss of countless other children who never came home from Indian Residential Schools.
While we join in the collective mourning today, we recognize that each of us has a role to play to bring about meaningful change, in the spirit of reconciliation.
We invite you to join us. Here are some ways we can start:
We hold in our hearts all Residential School Survivors, their families and their communities.
Colleen Thiessen, CLN Chair
Lisa Dickner, CLN Executive Director
I was always curious about the Community Learning Network; curious as to how it worked to serve the needs of CALPs across the province. My interest and curiosity led to my decision to become a CLN board member. These six years have been a wonderful journey. As this year, three directors will finish their terms, there is an opportunity for you to join the CLN board.
Is there a typical board member? They share some characteristics but are different in other ways. They are members of the Community Learning Network, and come from one of the 85 CALPs across the province. Their CALP roles vary. They could be learning coaches, executive directors, coordinators of literacy programs, essential skills coaches, assistant coordinators or have other roles as in their CALP. Some may have been in their CALP role for a few years, others for many years. All are passionate about serving the adult learners in their communities.
New board members bring new ideas and energy that is exciting and creative for everyone. All bring unique ideas and perspectives from their region of the province, contributing to the thoughtful discussions that shape the direction of the CLN, resulting in practices and programs that serve CALPs across the province.
Board members are rewarded in so many ways. They include learning new roles, working with talented board members, the CLN staff, the Regional Support Staff, and meeting those from other CALPs, community managers, and those in government roles. In addition, I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the memorable meals, locations personally selected by Shaba, from the CLN team, whose talents include being a connoisseur of fine food. It has been a rewarding six years. Please consider becoming a board member, and you will see what I mean!
Lil Radley, CLN Board Director
Coordinator, Read On Adult Literacy and Learning Program - Lethbridge Public Library
Each year, at the CLN March Board meeting, we have two important items on our agenda; Outstanding Contribution to Community Adult Learning Award and Board Member Recruitment.
For those new to the CALP system, the Outstanding Contribution Award is an honour bestowed upon an exceptional individual or organization annually at the Literacy and Learning Symposium. Each year the CLN accepts nominations from the field so we can all recognize the incredible work that is done in our province!
For those who have been in the CALP system for some time, you have seen many of our fellow coordinators honoured for the work they do. Perhaps you have nominated a person or organization or you may have been the recipient of the award.
If you know of an organization or individual who has:
Please consider taking the time to complete a nomination form with a letter and references. Submissions for the 2021 Outstanding Contribution to Community Adult Learning Award will be accepted until June 30, 2021. Click here for nomination form.
The next order of business is, of course, Board Member recruitment. My time on the CLN Board is coming to an end this year. I do feel that I have learned so much about our CALP system and made incredible relationships with the CLN Staff, Board Members and Advanced Education staff throughout my 6 years.
Highlights of my time on the CLN Board:
We have three board members who will have completed their terms this year. We are looking for some bright, new, keen faces to help steer the CLN into the future. So please take a minute to consider what you would like to bring to the CLN Board and then apply!
If you are interested in nominating an individual or organization for the Outstanding Contribution to Community Adult Learning Award or for more information on applying as a CLN Board Member you can call the CLN office at 1.877.485.4926 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jana Thomson, CLN Board Treasurer
Program Coordinator, Rocky Learning Centre
Every year around this time, the CLN Board of Directors start the recruitment process to find new board members. You may wonder why this is important and why we do this on a regular basis. You may have even considered putting your application in to become a CLN board member, but are still unsure. Here’s how I came to be a CLN Board member and why it’s been a valuable experience for me.
I have always had an interest in leadership, driven, in part, by my strong organizational and relational skills. I like to be on “the inside” and learn about the “moving parts” that drive an organization. I also like to have a good understanding from the outside looking in before I move forward, and this is exactly what happened for me. I was the Executive Director of a CALP in Wetaskiwin for 7 years before joining the CLN board, so I had built a solid understanding of the system in my CALP role, which gave me a strong foundation and prepared me to move to the next level.
I had already been thinking for a while about submitting my application to become a board member, and even had the application filled out and ready to go. I had just led my organization through a successful merger so the timing seemed favorable to consider the CLN board. When I was approached about joining the CLN board by the CLN chairperson at the Literacy and Learning Symposium in 2017, I knew the time was right. I am currently serving as the Chairperson on the CLN Board of Directors, and have the privilege of advocating for the entire CALP system.
One of the things that was important to me when I was considering joining the board was feeling confident that I had skills and assets to bring to the Board, and it wasn’t just about me being able to check a task off of my career “to do” list. Being a board member involves your time, hard work and innovation to tackle important issues. Each board member has a responsibility to bring ideas and skills that will benefit the board, and ultimately, the entire CALP system. I have valued my time on the CLN board because it has been mutually beneficial. I have learned a lot about the CLN and have been challenged by my fellow board members to think outside the box. In exchange, I have brought value to the board through my unique experience and perspective. It’s a win-win!
Colleen Thiessen, CLN Board Chair
Executive Director, Wetaskiwin Learning Program
Hello February! The month of “love”.
When you think about February, what do you think about?
My first thought is Valentine’s Day. I think about making handmade cards, fluttering cupids with their arrows, cinnamon hearts that burn your tongue when you eat too many, the scent of beautiful flowers, chocolates wrapped in shiny red foil and love.
When I reflect on what love truly means to me, it is all about relationships. The relationships with my family, friends, work colleagues, clients, professional networks and community. Each of these relationships are unique, however they have commonalities. Whether a personal or professional relationship; to be healthy and effective they must have trust, honesty, shared expectations, no judgements, boundaries, open communication, respect, compromises and accountability. The CLN Board is mindful of our role to be relationship weavers for the CALP System. Identifying and establishing new relationships as well as growing and strengthening existing relationships.
This is the perfect opportunity to remind everyone that the CLN Board will be hosting a 1-hour discussion on Tuesday, February 9th at 10 am all about, you guessed it…… “relationships.” For more information, please see Board Chair, Colleen Thiessen’s, January 8th portal post, CLN Board Meets with Advanced Education Minister: Call for CALP Staff Input. I am looking forward to the valuable conversation.
Stay well, be kind and take care of one another.
It’s all about Relationships!
Director CLN Board
“The future depends on what we do in the present.” Mahatma Gandhi
Sometime this month, everyone will celebrate the advent of another trip around the sun…and celebrate is the operative word. After the festivities are over and the gifts opened, now what? Our outlook is a little blurry right now, but one positive effect the New Year can have on us is we want to do things better and become better people. There is an old European custom regarding resolutions:
What one does on this day one will do for the rest of the year.
This is our chance to take a deep, deep breath, look at the beauty of Mother Earth that surrounds us and make a renewed pledge to our family, friends, colleagues and learners. Everyone’s method will be different and that’s what makes our community of CALPs work so well. We can share our experiences, seek and find support, with a common goal to improve our lives and the lives of others with whatever means we have at hand.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
…And that’s a good reason to celebrate!
Happy New Year and Happy Life Everyone!
Program Director, Willow Creek Community Adult Learning Society
CLN Vice Chair