Wednesday, August 29, 2012

BCHC Newsletter - August 2012


New Dates for Citizen Series Webinars for Northern Residents

BC Healthy Communities (BCHC) and Northern Health (NH) are hosting their third year of ‘Citizens Series’ webinars. These two hour sessions invite dialogue from northern communities on specific topics that are critical to improving the health outcomes of northern people, recognizing that community and civic involvement is a cornerstone to healthy people and populations. The first webinar ‘The Nature of Health: Exploring the Links Between Health and the Physical Environment’ will take place on September 27. Through this webinar you will:

  • LEARN from and with leading experts in the field about their insights on how health is tied to the settings where we live, work, learn and play
  • DISCUSS  the interdependence between health, communities and ecosystems and what this means in the unique geography of northern BC
  • EXPLORE inspiring examples of community projects which link ecological sustainability and human well-being through supporting connections to the land and nature.
More dates for upcoming webinars are listed under the Events section below.  Do plan to join us and register here today!

Thinkpiece ‘Supporting the Foundations of Change’
In 2011-2012 BCHC received innovation strategy funding through the Public Health Agency of Canada to support the project ‘Living Life Fully: Youth taking charge of their health and wellness’.  We took the learnings of this youth engagement project and developed 3 Thinkpieces with a focus on innovative ways to support the conditions for healthy weights for youth in two age brackets (13-19 and 20-24). The first thinkpiece ‘Supporting the Foundations of Change’ addresses the required changes for successful health promotion and is now available on the BCHC website.


Go Girls! Program - Abbotsford,BC

For the past year BCHC and S.U.C.C.E.S.S. have been collaborating on the Welcoming and Inclusive Communities and Workplaces(WICWP) Legacy Project to better engage multicultural youth in Abbotsford.  As part of this project the multicultural ‘Go Girls!’ mentorship program was developed in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS).

Go Girls! focuses on girls between the ages of 12 and 14 and promotes active living, balanced eating and positive self-image through mentoring relationships. Through this program the participants were able to build on their leadership and life skills with support of the tools and information they need to choose to lead and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Go Girls! endeavors to develop capacity in the communities participating in the program and to contribute to sustainable support systems for girls and young women across the province.

The original Go Girls! program was redeveloped through this project to create a multicultural curriculum that focuses on:
  • Increasing cultural understanding and promoting diversity (meaning a philosophical belief that all forms of difference are valuable and should be honoured as such)
  • Promoting diversity by learning about cultural foods, activities, and perspectives.
The program was expanded from seven to ten weeks to accomplish the additional outcomes.  You can find an inspiring video about the Go Girls! participants under ‘The Watch’ section below.


Kluane Buser –Rivet ~ City of Victoria Youth Council 

Kluane is the newest member to join the BC Healthy Communities team! In her capacity as Coordinator of the City of Victoria Youth Council (CVYC), Kluane (pronounced Clue-ah-nee) looks forward to putting her years of experience working in the youth and civic engagement field to work.

Having combined her love of travel with her zest for youth engagement, Kluane has had many opportunities to explore the Healthy Communities model in other locales than the West Coast of Canada. In Senegal and Peru, Kluane worked with Canadian and local youth to facilitate cultural exchanges. In Durban, South Africa, Kluane attended the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change as a youth delegate with the Canadian Non-Profit Organization Friends Uniting for Nature (FUN) Society.  She also engaged politically by meeting with Canadian politicians like Elizabeth May and Terry Lake in Durban.

As a Director on the Board of the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada, Kluane has helped plan a provincial outdoor leadership summit for youth, implemented sustainable outdoor programs and has brought a strong youth voice to the organization. Also, this role gives her an excuse to play outdoors as much as possible!

Kluane’s passion for her community has also led her to local activism work in the environmental and social realms. Furthermore, Kluane has represented a youth voice in organizations like the Esquimalt Community Garden Society, the Saanich Youth Council and the Saanich Environmental Advisory Committee. In her spare time, Kluane enjoys yoga, traveling, staying involved with the Victoria Francophone community and spending quality time in nature. She also enjoys pondering anti-oppressive frameworks, impact, compassion and freedom.
For questions about the CVYC please contact Kluane at


Tourism and its Impact on Creating a Healthy Community

By Naomi Phillips

As the peak tourist season winds to a close there are fewer visitors on local streets, trails and beaches. Many tourists have left but it is still worthwhile to consider the relationship between tourism and the health of communities throughout the province. 
In 2010, tourism in BC generated $13.4 billion in revenue, supported 17,943 businesses, and employed 127,400 people whose combined wages equaled $ 4.4 billion. The economic benefit of attracting visitors, either from within the province or beyond, furthers initiatives related to other determinants of health including environmental sustainability, strong social connections, physical health, and spiritual and cultural development. The list of attractions and amenities that support the health of locals and attract visitors (farm and vineyard tours, farmers’ markets, parks and green spaces, pedestrian friendly areas, well maintained trail systems and bike routes, strong public transportation, festivals, sport and cultural events, museums and learning opportunities) goes on and on.

Scout Island - Williams Lake
The City of Williams Lake’s Parks, Trails, Outdoor Recreation Master Plan (August 2011) is an initiative to improve residents’ recreation opportunities and bolster tourism. The plan includes recommendations to enhance Williams Lake’s existing network of trails and identifies improving access to main activity centres, the river valley, safe highway crossings, public access to the waterfront from downtown, and improved trails linking the downtown with other lake access points as priorities.
White Rock Arts and Culture Hub, developed by the City of White Rock in partnership with BC Healthy Communities and 2010 Legacies Now, shows how strengthening awareness of cultural resources can benefit locals and improve the economy. With more than 240 listings, this website is a valuable resource for locals and visitors. Recommendations to use city beautification and public art to stimulate cultural development and tourism were other outcomes of the project. These improvements would also enhance locals’ sense of community and belonging by creating unique spaces. This projects emphasis on personal development and sense of belonging also serves as a reminder that tourism can bring benefits that are less tangible than improved infrastructure and event opportunities. Sharing your community with “outsiders” is a fun way to learn and make new connections with people whether they live a few communities or continents away.  

Possible harms related to tourism range from vacation home developments built in local recreation areas to the negative environmental impact of modes of transport including cruise ships and RVing to the appropriation of Indigenous culture for commercial gain to low wages in service related jobs. It’s easy to blame tourists for creating a negative impact, but tourism itself is not the root cause of these problems. Enduring solutions to these problems will come from within communities and will recognize the multiple factors that contribute to them.

BC’s overwhelming natural beauty draws tourists from around the world but it is time we recognize that people also choose BC as a travel destination because they enjoy spending time in healthy communities.

To find out info about recreation sites throughout BC visit Recreation Sites and Trails BC


Using Social Media to Promote Your Healthy Communities Cause
By Naomi Phillips

Amid the rush to stay current and create social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogger, etc) accounts, it’s easy to lose sight of the ways social media can help your organization or cause succeed by sharing information, building community, and promoting action (Lovejoy & Saxton, 2012). For this reason, whether the non-profit organization or cause you are involved with already uses social media or you are thinking about starting, it’s worth reflecting on the challenges and benefits involved and how you can most effectively achieve your goals through the use of social media.

Challenges of Using Social Media

Social media makes information more accessible and supports dialogue but some people face obstacles to accessing these benefits. In order to engage a broad range of people, reflect on how your organization can continue to connect with groups who face obstacles to internet use such as seniors and remote communities. Developing a dialogue takes effort and commitment to monitoring what captures people’s interest but allocating time and resources can be difficult. The fact that social networking platforms profit from selling information to advertisers also raises concerns about the ownership of content posted, as well as privacy and transparency.

Nonprofits and other organizations benefit from social media when they share information about their organization and hear what people think about issues. This kind of dialogue helps build a network around an issue and is seldom present on an organization’s website. When people share your content it offers a personal endorsement and helps build awareness of your organization or cause. Moreover, you can use social media to learn about and support other organizations that have similar goals or are doing work in the same field.

5 Steps for Using Social Media Effectively:
1.    Research and Reflections
Consider what you want to get out of social media and the amount of time you have to invest. One suggestion is to look at other organizations profiles to see how they are using social media and what level of interest their posts receive. Check out this list of top Canadian non-profits and their social media use to see the content they post and the feedback they receive.  
2.    Keep it Manageable and Secure
Choose one or two social media sites instead of trying to manage multiple profiles. Or use one platform, such as Hootsuite, to manage all your social media pages at one spot. Choosing smart passwords is key to keep your accounts secure and safe from spam and phishing. Use strong passwords and avoid using the same password for different accounts.
3.    Create a Social Media Plan
Depending on the needs of your organization, your plan doesn’t have to be long or detailed. Discussing the kind of content you will share gives direction to your postings and prevents them from reflecting staff members’ interests or humour more than your organization’s goals.
4.    Make Connections
Tell people about your social media profiles and include buttons that link to them on your website. Posting once a day and liking, replying to, or mentioning other organizations or people’s profiles will increase your visibility. Posts of photos and graphs are popular and increase your profile’s visual appeal.
5.    Assess the Results.
On a monthly basis, review posts that gain the most views and response and adjust your approach accordingly. You can count the numbers of “followers” of your page profile but it’s harder to measure the impact of your social media presence on the success of your organization. Businesses using social media also struggle with tracking the return on investment. Compare the timeline of your popularity on social media with your organization’s successes. Whenever you host an event or conduct a survey, ask participants if social media was a factor in their attendance or if it contributes to their knowledge of your organization.
References and Resources
  1. Longan, M. & Purcell, D. (2011). Engineering community and place: facebook as megaengineering. Engineering earth: the impacts of megaengineering projects. Dordrecht, New York: Springer.
  2. Lovejoy, K & Saxton, G.D. (2012). Information, community, and action: how nonprofit organizations use social media. Journal of computer-mediated communication 17, 337–353.
  3. The Communications Network (neat webinars!)
  4. The Nonprofit Social Media Policy Work Book
  5. Socialbrite

Presentation ~ Community Tables: Engaging Neighbours Community; Tea & Celebration Party
Join this presentation to hear about the highlights and lessons learned during the Community Tables: Engaging Neighbours Initiative project. Find out more information here
Where: Victoria City Hall (1 Centennial Square) - When: SEP 19, 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Conference ~ Good Jobs for a Green Future

This conference will bring together 200-300 British Columbians from across the Labour and Environmental movements, as well business, First Nations, community, government, and other sectors interested in building a strong green economy. For more info click here

Where: Vancouver – When: SEP 21 & 22

Webinar ~
 Northern BC Citizen Series: '
The Nature Of Health: Exploring the Links Between Health and the Physical Environment'
These two hour sessions invite dialogue from northern communities on specific topics that are critical to improving the health outcomes of northern people, recognizing that community and civic involvement is a cornerstone to healthy people and populations. To register click here
Where: Online - When:  
SEP 27, 10:00 AM -12:00 PM (PST)

Other Citizen Series webinar dates to mark in your agenda:
Home is Where Your Health Is: 
NOV 22, 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM -

The Go Girls! Video

The Go Girls! Multicultural Mentorship Program is a ten week mentorship program offered in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley, West Abbotsford Community School, Central Abbotsford Community School and School District 34. 
Go Girls! focuses on girls and promotes active living, balanced eating and feeling good. This video shows how the girl participants experienced this 'extraordinary' program.

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