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Volunteer Symposium 2019

The day-long conference welcomed Key Note Speaker Danny

Graham of Engage Nova Scotia and followed up with eight

concurrent morning and afternoon workshops, each focused on

helping both volunteers and community-based organizations

increase their capacity for the incredible work they do in community.

Lisa MacDougall, Executive Director of Valley Restorative Justice,

summarized her experience as “An exceptionally well-planned

Volunteer Leadership Symposium. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and the presentations were first-class.  I only wish I had been able to take in everyone! These speakers were so knowledgeable and interesting – I cannot thank you enough for the connections.”

“I am so thrilled to hear comments like Lisa’s.” Karrie-Ann Wilkie, KVRC’s Coordinator says.  “Our planning committee recognizes that each person present at the Symposium has taken time from their busy lives to spend the day with us.  It’s important to us to provide them with a high calibre day and to send them off with connections, education and a renewed energy to go back out into the voluntary sector to do the incredibly important community work they do each day to improve the lives of others.”

Ramona Jennex, who has attended all four years of the Symposium, echo’s MacDougall’s thoughts. “Everyone I spoke to had an extremely positive experience. Karrie-Ann and the KVRC team make a huge impact on the community through their work. Thanks to KVRC for providing such a great opportunity to learn and meet others who have a passion for volunteering.”

In contrast to Jennex’s years of experience as a participant, first time attendee, Amber Juby, Founder and President of NOVA Seven Arts Council (NSAC) raved that she “absorbed tons of great info and NSAC will be better prepared because of this experience.”

New this year was a unique closing KVRC chose for the day to act as a summary and thoughtful take away for participants. Poet Ashley Avery wrote and performed a poem encompassing the purpose, energy and learnings from the symposium.  It was the perfect way to send participants off to reflect on their learnings from the day and the impact each of them have in their communities. We are pleased to post this powerful Poetic Summary below: 

Today you have joined together in Mi’kma’ki

The unseeded and unsurrendered Mi’kmaq territory

You have come voluntarily in all of your diversity with one commonality—

You care deeply about your community

Despite the difficulties in this work, you have broken down barriers

Formed alliances-- built knowledge and capacity

You have brought heart and tenacity

To create change through volunteerism and unity

You are all best suited to lead transformation in Nova Scotia

Not individually, but together, working collaboratively

Which means fusing the qualities that make us who we are, and appealing to others’

Whole heartedly

Standing firmly in the power of humanity

And walking with vulnerability

Telling stories

Having hard conversations boldly

& bravely

& courageously

Leaning in, to create safety

So that others can receive feedback

With clarity, care, and empathy

Fundamentally, we have a responsibility to make this world a

Better place for ourselves and our families

If we can just teach everyone how to periodically step away from technology

& learn to respect differences of opinions, beliefs and abilities

Volunteering is an extension of who we are

When we open our minds and soften our hearts

We can do the work that is necessary, demanding and hard

It’s about coming together and saying we can do better!

Finding the cause that makes people show up

Because when people care, they show up!

What brings others to the table is unique and complex

When you reveal what that is, you celebrate their success

Recognize their contributions

Clarify the policies in your institutions

Be intentional with your influences

Join together with strategy

& long term vision grounded in sustainability

Set your goals, know your roles and operate with transparency

Know when it’s time to rest and step back with integrity

When you strip away the necessary conversations

That enhance our ability to engage in this work

When you look past

Board structures

You’ll find courage and worth

When you look past recruitment

You’ll see progress and rebirth

& when you understand conflict

You’ll know it’s just strength in reverse

When you hear the development of policy

Think of curating safety

Meetings are really about getting together

And today the need for this has never been greater

Our lives are storied

So whether you’re a volunteer or an employee

We all engage in this work

Because we have the desire to love, and be heard

With those pieces we can begin to build our communities

Bit by bit

Brick by brick

“You may make a living by what you get

But you make a life by what you give”

So dare greatly, give deeply and be courageous

Because in the end

If nothing changes, nothing changes

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