Friday, January 25, 2013

BCHC Newsletter - January 2013


We’re Hiring
BCHC is looking for a skilled Communications Coordinator to join our dynamic team. The Communications Coordinator will provide expertise, support and coordination around the organization’s communications needs. Specifically, she/he will work with the BCHC team to create and implement a communications strategy for a provincial project involving the development of a learning network for BC communities.  For more information about how to apply please click here. Deadline for applications is February 1st.

Welcome Krissi!
We are pleased to announce that Krissi Spinoza has joined the BCHC team as the Healthy Communities Program Coordinator.  Krissi is a passionate advocate of community development and healthy communities. She has worked extensively with not-for-profits and local government organizations both in Canada and the UK. Krissi enjoys working with people and organizations to improve the health and well-being of their community and has assisted communities to improve their environment, increase access to parks and create coordinated support networks for vulnerable adults. Krissi is currently overseeing the Municipal Alcohol Policy Program (MAP).

For questions about the MAP program you can reach Krissi at

The Community

From Trust Me to Trust Us
By Jodi Mucha

As part of the Trust Me initiative I currently have the honour and privilege to co-facilitate a series of dialogue and community project planning sessions between a mixed group of 20 seniors and youth in the Gorge-Tillicum community. The purpose of these group sessions is to not only identify the typical barriers between seniors and youth being more connected in the community, but also to unpack and dispel the myths and then create positive, possible and ongoing solutions to addressing this issue in the local community.

BCHC, in partnership with the Greater Victoria Eldercare Foundation, the Yakimovich Wellness Centre (VIHA), Saanich Parksand Recreation leveraged funding and launched the Trust Me initiative in Gorge-Tillicum in November 2012 as a way to build support and momentum for intergenerational connections and opportunities. As partner organizations we reached out to our vast networks and had many engaging conversations in effort to recruit a diverse range of seniors and youth in Gorge-Tillicum to participate in our 6-month intergenerational program.

Early December marked the beginning of our 4 part dialogue series which focused on creating a shared vision for a common future for seniors and youth, identifying the barriers, unpacking the myths and then brainstorming innovative and do-able community action projects.  With a long list of exciting potential project ideas we are now engaged in weekly community project planning sessions with the senior and youth participants.  The next step is that the project participants will take their ideas to the streets, community centres, neighborhood associations and local businesses (to name a few) to share about the possibility of the projects and what they would bring to the community.  Community members will be invited to take part and contribute to fulfilling on the project ideas.

“The main thing we saw out of this dialogue process was that there are way more commonalities than differences between seniors and youth” one of the youth participants noted early on in the process.  “We want to spread the message about what a valuable opportunity it is for young people and older people to connect.  We don’t have many opportunities in our community to do that.  We’re out to change that!” said one of the senior participants. 

At our recent project planning session one of the participants created a big aha moment for the group. “This is not about Trust Me, like one way.  It’s actually about Trust US"THAT’s the message we are trying to get across.  After nodding of recognition around the room, the group agreed. Stay tuned for more updates and information about the TRUST US intergenerational project. For more information please contact Jodi at

The Champion

Jennifer Nichols ~ Fraser Basin Council:Smart Planning for Communities

Jen Nichols is the Fraser Basin Council’s Smart Planning for Communities communications coordinator. In this role she works closely with province-wide sustainability facilitators and manages the BC Climate Action Toolkit which assists with planning complete, compact communities. She worked for the City of Vancouver Sustainability Group on community-wide greenhouse gas reduction initiatives before spending a year in Sweden studying municipal approaches to multicultural community engagement and climate change targets.

Jen’s background in graphic design is evident in her passion for visually recording work at community events in creative and artistic ways, recently contributing to Victoria’s Building Resilient Neighbourhoods initiative. She combined her graphic design skills and interest in active transportation to win a public art competition for a municipal bike rack design. Jen’s collaborative art project on storytelling and the joys of cycling appeared in the Portes Ouvertes Montreal exhibition and the Definitely Superior Urban Infill art show. She is currently researching and experimenting with de-paving and lane gardening - tactical urbanism techniques that can improve community health through local food and community collaboration.

As a member of the Society of Graphic Designers National Sustainability Committee Jen recently developed a tool for designers and wrote and article titled; ‘Sustainability planning for creatives – a brief exploration’. The tool is a version of a traditional graphic design project plan (typically called a creative brief) that include sustainability principles. The updated brief helps designers integrate a values-based approach to the design process.

You can follow Jen’s creative work on twitter @nicholscreative

The Article

By Krissi Spinoza

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”- Søren Kierkegaard

In our busy lives it can sometimes be difficult to find the time and space to pause and reflect. Rushing from meeting to meeting, busy with tasks and chores, our unending to do lists seem to prohibit taking time to stop and think; but on both a personal and professional level taking time to reflect on our experiences can help us successfully plan for our future. Taking time to actively reflect one experiences helps us to identify and build on success.

Reflective practice has long been championed in the education and health fields where it is used to assist learning and improve practice. [1] Its uses can be generalized to many other situations and professions helping all of us learn and develop. We can avoid the mistakes of the past and make plans for the future. Various theorists propose that improvement, in its broadest sense of the word, is one of the hallmarks of reflection.[2]

Reflection is often best achieved using a structured approach to think about our experiences. A common framework for reflection is offered by Gibbs in Learning by Doing: A Guide to Teaching and Learning Methods. Gibbs identifies six key stages of reflection that ensure that all aspects of a situation are considered. Furthermore, the structure of the framework encourages systematic thinking that results in plans to improve in the future.

While reflection can be considered to be a solitary affair, many of the formal frameworks for reflective thinking root the practitioner in the community. For example, in Defining Reflection: Another Look at John Dewey and Reflective Thinking, Rodgers identifies a key aspect of reflection as a systematic, rigorous disciplined way of thinking that is located in a community with others and values the personal and intellectual growth of oneself and others in order to make meaning. By describing reflection as a process that values others and the community, both Dewey and Rodgers encourage the practitioner away from self-absorption and towards community and individual learning and growth.

As part of the Living Life Fully project, BCHC utilized Reflection on Action to assist participants in creating change in themselves and their communities. This technique, identified by Donald Schön in The Reflective Practitioner, enabled participants to develop an inner commitment to the value of learning, and make deep and long lasting improvements.

Whether our technique is to retreat for a week as in Naikan, a Japanese reflective technique; to apply Gibbs’ questions to assist in the evaluation of experiences and projects; to keep a journal; or simply to stop and pause before moving on to our next task, reflection can help us find new ways to develop and grow. As Confucius states “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest”. Let’s make 2013 the year of taking time for noble reflection!

[1] A national study of 30 school-sponsored youth participation programs revealed that the key factor in stimulating complex thinking and improving the problem-solving ability of students was the existence, regularity, and quality of a reflective component (Conrad & Hedin, 1982).
“Perhaps even more central to adult learning than elaborating established meaning schemes is the process of reflecting back on prior learning to determine whether what we have learned is justified under present circumstances.” (Mezirow, 1990:5).
[2] Boud, Keogh and Walker (1985) refer to reflection as a term “for those intellectual and affective activities in which individuals engage to explore their experiences in order to lead to new understandings and appreciation”.


Webinar ~ His & Hers: Perspectives on Health
Where: Online
When: February 7, 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM (PST)
What: This two-hour session invites 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

The Read

The Barefoot Guide to Learning Practices in Organizations and Social Change

The Barefoot Guide 2 is a free, downloadable and practical resource for leaders, facilitators and practitioners involved in social change who want to improve and enrich their learning processes. But this is not just another book on organizational learning and social change. It is different in many ways. It is different in that it was not written by one person. Neither is it a collection of essays written by different people. This book is the joint effort of a group of development practitioners from across the globe. The writers are all passionate about learning and have brought their different experience and expertise to the book. It includes topics as diverse as community mobilising and development, adult learning, funding, evaluation, facilitation, and creative writing. To find out more or to download the guide click here

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