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Mobilizing Youth for the Delivery of Advisory Services (MYDAS)

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Big Update

David and I have fallen out of the blog habit unfortunately. However, I, being the ultimate record taker, will attempt to provide a synopsis of our activites since I left off. I would also like to invite all of this summers interns to pop in and give us an update on their lives and their coop activities should they get a moment among all their other things to do.

1. The first big news is that I have moved to Charlottetown, and will be working out of David's office on Kent Street for the time being. I will be travelling to Wellington once or twice a week to help Edgar out as well. Never could there be two more opposite people to work for than David and Edgar, so it is good that I get the best of both worlds. On a personal note, I found a great apartment, am closer to family, and I finally got a dog, Beamer, from the humane society, so I plan on settling here for a good long while (I hope). Also, I am conveniently situated between federal and provincial offices, so if any ABC or D out there wants to hire me after my internship, by my guest! I also start a new internship in January, in the field of export development, which I am very excited about.

2. On to cooperative stuff. Currently, to me, the most interesting project that has come across my desk is the immigration project. The CDC is setting up the Cooperative d'integration de l'IPE (CIIPE) in order to attract, welcome, and integrate new francophone immigrants to the Evangeline region. This is really a faboulous plan, if it ever comes together, as it both helps Evangeline attract new citizens and new economic and social activity, and helps francophones in need abroad come to Canada and hopefully have the chance to build a better life for themselves and their families.

The project is slowing slightly, probably because everyone is busy with other projects at the moment, and also everyone seems to be going madly off in all directions whenever work is done on the project. I have various plans to organize the troops, but being the person with the absolute least seniority at the table, my voice is not really being heard. However, David gave me some good advice about how projects he started twenty years ago are only now seeing real success and that we all need to be patient. It is hard though, when it comes to immigration issues when you think of all those people from in the DRC or Cote d'Ivoire, in need of a safe place to live, and all those homes for sale in Evangeline sitting empty all winter. I guess it just reminds us of how lucky we all are.

3. Coop Forum 2005 is being held during co-op week in Evangeline. Edgar has many plans for promoting the coop movement during this week, but the deadline is fast approaching and I hope we can get everything done in time. The CDC is working on promotion for several special events durign co-op week, and is organizing the conference and banquet on Saturday. I am doing some marketing, but I am mostly busy with translation duties, as the CDC has decided to make all of its Co-op week publicity and resources available in both official languages, which I think is great. It is easy work, but time consuming.

3b. We hope to get the first issue of the newsletter "The Co-operator" published before co-op week, in order to promote the activities that are coming up that week. It is written in both languages, it just has to go through the editors, be fit into the layouts and printed. I had hoped to get two issues of the newsletter out before co-op week, but that proved to be unfeasible. I have a general format planned for each issue, which will include local co-op news and events, a message from the CDC outlining their activities, an indepth profile of a local co-op (this month it will be the CSJ youth worker co-op), a profile of successful national co-ops that locals may be interested (this month it will be MYDAS that is profiled), and some tips and advice for running co-ops and small businesses in general. In upcoming issues, I hope to feature interviews, commentaries, editorials, and more community input. The next issue will probably sum up the events of the Co-op Week and the conference.

3c. The CDC website will be launched at the Coop Forum 2005. I'm still working on the content. It will be bilingual, so there is still some translation to be done. Most of the website was taken directly from my powerpoint presentation for the Festival Acadien. The website will feature profiles of each co-op, an on-line version of the newsletter, an interactive community calendar where co-op meetings and other events can be advertised, important links to other web sites of interest, and news from the CDC. The great thing about a website is that it is really a work in progress, and I hope when everyone sees it, they write in and add on to the history or information on the co-ops, and correct any information that may be wrong, so that we can have accurate details on all of Evangeline's co-op, which is something the community is really missing and in need of.

3d. Organizing the meetings at the conference on October 22: As I said I am doing a lot of translation for the Forum. Edgar is taking the lead on organizing the topics of the meetings. Basically, the main discussing topic is to reflect on Evangeline's coop movement, talk about what has been successful, and generate ideas for the future. There is also a special emphasis on youth at the forum, and all local youth with be admitted to all activities for free, and they have a chance to win an IPOD during co-op week. I think Edgar and I plan to design our work for the next few months on the ideas generated by these meetings, possibly developing some new cooperatives, or adressing the issues the participants pointed out at the conference.

3e. The Cooperative Order of Merit will be awarded at the banquet following the Co-op Forum, and their will also be a guest speaker on the topic of youth in cooperatives.

4. The Chez Nous is going along smoothly. Edgar and I have been fiddling with the computers at the home and trying to get highspeed internet set-up so we can do internet banking and other things. Edgar wanted some reports on how I was doing with the accounting, so we have been going through the records and fixing some minor problems (mostly misunderstandings on my part), and I am currently working on balancing the books for September. Payroll is going smoothly, as are paying the bills and recording the revenues. There are just a few bugs I still have to work out from when I put in all of the previous accountant's data for the first three months of the fiscal year. Once again, simple but tedious and time consuming work.

5. As a side project, I am helping the Basket Weavers Co-op apply for some aditional funding. I hope they recieve it, but I was just glad to hear more about their program, as I had not delt with them all summer. As the founders are hoping to retire soon, they are planning to train new basket weavers, and set-up a museum and interpretive center to pass on their craft. The only hitch is that they had hoped to train low-income people or women on social assistance, and right now the cost of tuition would be unreasonable for people on a fixed income, and they would not be able to buy their own tools which is a large but nessecary expense if they are serious about becomeing entrepreuneurs. I really hope I can find some money for them.

6. CSJ is on a bit of a break now because the kids have all started school again and are very busy. I finished the last payroll of the summer, and the kids made over 2500$ between the five of them, which was a great success. They will be incorporated into Co-op week somehow, possibly setting up a daycare for moms and dads who want to go to the meetings on Saturday. I also hope to do a bit of a marketing blitz before Christmas, so the kids can earn some Christmas money on their vacation from school by wrapping presents or digging out driveways.

7. Outside of Wellington, I am helping David with the MYDAS interim report, which was mailed off on Friday. I am also taking care of the very limited book keeping to be done for MYDAS. David has some other projects planned as well, and we may work on the filing in the MYDAS office.

That is really all I can think of at the moment. I plan to do the blog weekly from now own, so David and Edgar can keep track of me, and so I can give a more detailed explanation of the projects as they come. For now I am doing a lot of finishing of things. Nothing very exciting but all very nessecary, such as translations, and balancing the books, and reviewing files, and checking out resources for the website.

Over the next week, I plan to:

1. While the immigration project is seemingly stalled, I am working on translating the by-laws into english so that whenever I get my signatures, I can submit them to the government right a way. As well, I am trying to do as much research as I can on the topic of immigration. The action plan calls for the creation of resource guides for those involved in the project, and for new arrivals to PEI, and I would really like to be the one to put those guides together, and to do it sooner rather than later.

2. I am also continuing some general research so I can have some story ideas for the next newsletters, and some interesting stories to add to the website, as well as some ideas for future economic development in Wellington and in Atlantic Canada in general. Hopefully, when I am nearing the end of my internship, I can put all my research together to pass on to next year's MYDAS interns if they would find it usefull.

3. I have to put the finishing touches on the website, and get my files organized and sent off to the web developpers so they can publish it before the co-op forum.

4. As soon as Edgar reviews the newsletter, I will stick it into the layouts and get it publish and distributed as fast as possible.

5. Edgar would like a video to be made of some local people talking about cooperatives, including the Leiutenant Governor, Leonce Bernard. We have to jump through some technical hoops, but if everything is arranged, I will be interviewing the english people, and taping the french people, and hopefully I can figure out how to edit it all together and make it look nice for the Coop Forum. It is a task that I would have preferred not to undertake on such short notice, but if we can pull it off, it should be pretty cool, and be a great record for the community to hold on to.

6. Other odds and ends such as pushing paper for the Basket Weavers, continued fun with accounting, translations of documents after documents, etc.

That is really all I can think of for now. My home office is all set up, and as I said I got a new dog who needs walks and food and attention, so I will be dividing my time between working from home, from the MYDAS office in Charlottetown, and from Wellington, so the best way to reach me is on my cell or by email.

That's all for now,
Happy Thanksgiving,



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