17. May 2011 12:25
Farm Credit Canada's AgriSpirit Fund is about making life better for people in rural communities.
The AgriSpirit Fund has a budget of $1,000,000 to fund capital projects (e.g. equipment, construction, rennovations, etc.) in Canadian communities with less than 100,000 residents. Funding awards are between $5,000 and $25,000 per project.
To be eligible applicants must be a registered charity, agricultural society, a municipality or partnered with a municipal government. Supported projects are expected to enhance the quality of life for people living in a rural community. Additionally, projects must be completed by December 2013 and display acknowledgment of AgriSpirit’s contribution. The deadline for applications is June 20, 2011.
5. May 2011 13:29
There are issues within rural organizations across the province – of this there is little doubt. But along with this honest reflection of challenges such as aging board members and a lack of formal training among many who lead our community organizations and rural associations, there is also awareness that there are good things happening too.
At a meeting organized by the Rural Ontario Institute, representatives from across the province met last week to talk about prioritizing leadership and organizational development needs identified by stakeholders, resources related to best practices for organization development, and new methodologies for the delivery of resources and training. One result of the meeting was a sharing of knowledge of resources currently available including Steps to Leadership training, Canadian Farm Business Management Council webinars, and mentoring youth in programs. Also rather than “reinvent the wheel”, there was a desire to examine the successes and resources in use in other provinces and areas, to maximize the uptake of current programs, and to encourage various strategic planning within rural and agricultural boards and organizations.
One of the main challenges that came up during discussions was how do you “sell leadership” -how do you demonstrate to boards the benefits of leadership training, the importance of having focus and vision within an organization, and how even those who have been participating on boards for many years can benefit from such programs. For me, the answer to this seems to fall upon the shoulders of those who know firsthand what skills development can do.
Ironically, this task is not just for those who have participated in rural leadership training, although they may be the peers that rural and agricultural organizations will be most open to hearing from. I would also suggest that those who can testify to the benefits of training, setting goals and focusing on your vision and your plan include (but are not limited to) business leaders, politicians, athletes, motivational gurus, economists, spiritual leaders and more.
If you are someone who has benefitted from professional or volunteer leadership training, I believe that you have a responsibility to share your experiences and to encourage others to learn how to be not just good but great community leaders. All of rural Ontario will benefit from this.
And if you are someone who is planning to host this kind of training and development, continue to look outside of the box for inspiration – other areas, other disciplines and even to other age groups. Potential inspirers and resources are limitless.
There are lessons in everyone’s homes, lives and experiences. This is what makes brainstorming days like last week’s such a success.
Looking forward to hearing what comes of this discussion - how you, and I, and we inspire the world.
Peggy Brekveld - Guest Blogger, Thunder Bay