We open our first Fort Qu'Appelle Community Outreach Strategic Planning meeting with a snowball fight. Don't ask. You had to be there. But by the end, we've learned that Valerie has a motorcycle license, the Outreach is Ellen's joy, Shiela is taking her kids on an epic holiday, Keitha has been involved with Outreach for 12 years, and Sheena's imaginary childhood name was Susan. Like I said, don't ask.
Strategic planning begins with environmental assessment and background information
so we pull out the markers, scissors and magazines and have some fun. "What is Outreach?" we ask ourselves.
While I am still gluing my collage, we listen to each other share what has brought us to this Outreach table. Valerie, her students and staff at the Elementary School were so happy to partner with Outreach in a food sharing initiative last year that she wants to get even more involved. Keitha speaks of the importance of Outreach to the community that she has been a part of since she was a girl. Ellen shares how she was immediately accepted into the conversation the first day she walked into Outreach and remembers how everyone was hugging Keitha as they left and calling her Auntie. Shiela tells us of making Fort Qu'Appelle her community, moving to and from for many years, and how she now wants to give back, especially for the children. I tell my friends how I had promised to never take Outreach for granted again, after it closed it's doors a few years back, but then re-opened. I have met Keitha, Ellen, and Shiela because of Outreach, three of my four friends at the table.
We tell each other the story of our collages. Each collection of images and words are inspiring. Next, we comb through old files of newspaper clippings, grant applications, fundraising, and miscilaneous reminders of who we are. Of course, many of my files include lists, donations, receipts, volunteers, and maps of our annual Christmas Dinner. We answer the question,"What is Outreach?" in three words.
Love Hope Kindness
Safety Friendship Love
Advocacy Reconciliation Relationship
Community Acceptance Sharing
Friendship Family Food
To help us summarize our thoughts, we each write a recipe for Outreach. At the end of the evening we pose for a selfie; well, I pose for a selfie with four powerful women at my back and a whole wall of dreams ready to scooped, stirred, measured, marinated, blended, baked, spooned up, and served. Can't wait to dig in.
Valerie, Ellen, Shiela, Keitha and me
holding our recipe cards.
Strategic Planning board