As many know, Envision Halifax has been near and dear to my heart since 2005 and I have dedicated countless volunteer hours to this endeavour. After much contemplation, reflection and conversation, Envision Halifax is taking a Sabbatical and it is time to celebrate! Mark your calendars for Tuesday February 16, 2010 between 400-630pm, the Hub 1673 Barrington St. 2nd Floor.
Envision Halifax alumni, investors, supporters, founders, and friends will have the opportunity to reconnect with each other in honouring the impact of Envision – on us as individuals, on us as a community as we take a deliberate break – or Sabbatical – from the leadership program and the broader work of Envision.
This is a time to acknowledge and honour the many contributions people have made to Envision – time, energy, talents, resources – and to celebrate the growth and change that has occurred in each of us and in Halifax over this time. There is no question that as we look over the landscape of Halifax, there is more percolating right now than five years ago, some of it can be traced back to Envision and it seems to have a different vibrational energy.
Read on to discover – or rediscover – a bit of the Envision story – and we hope to see you on February 16th!
The Envision Story
On January 21, 2005 Envision, after months of planning, hosted its first community conversation on a snowy day in Halifax. St. Matthews Church Hall was packed with people, with more on the waiting list. The conversations that day ignited a passion and vision for, among other things, the inception of a 10 month leadership program.
In September of 2005, Envision Halifax launched the first of four leadership programs. It came out of a long period of reflection and seeding the ground by a dedicated group of volunteers who articulated and believed in the vision of Igniting a Culture of Civic Engagement across the Halifax Region. Implementation of the program was picked up by another dedicated group of volunteers who responded to the call to design and deliver the 10 month program, inform key business leaders about the initiative, engage sponsors and recruit participants. The energy around the program was so compelling, it was like the program was its own entity wanting to come into form and would have happened no matter what.
The program was designed based on sensing into the need in Halifax at the time. It used leading edge theories and methodologies like Theory U, Chaordic Design, World Café, Open Space Technology, Appreciative Inquiry, Circle Practice. It opened the doors for transformation and change, particularly at the individual level and also at the organization and community level as participants took what they learned and began to apply it to different aspects of their lives and work.
During the fourth year of the leadership program, Envision began to wonder about the landscape of Halifax, what has changed and what is the current need? This led to asking some important questions – following the guidance of the methodologies promoted in the program. Did the leadership program still reflect the original vision for Envision Halifax? How has the need shifted and changed? How has the community changed? Who/what else is now igniting a culture of civic engagement that was not there five years ago? What is wanting to emerge now? What is the role for Envision Halifax?
As a result of this inquiry, the first strategic decision was to “let go” of the leadership program for the current year (2009/2010), despite all the acknowledged successes, in order to see what the next iteration of it might be – and what the next iteration of Envision Halifax more broadly might be.
What has been discovered so far:
What we have come to realize is that deciding not to run the leadership program in 2009/10 was not only a wise decision, it was the start of a 12-16 month sabbatical for Envision. Now that we understand this, we want to be intentional about what this means and what needs to happen during this sabbatical so we can invite a conversation about re-emergence and re-engagement early in 2011. We also know that those of us who hold Envision near and dear to our hearts will continue to be sensing into the need in Halifax during this sabbatical.
In reflecting back over the four years of Envision Halifax and the leadership program, we know we have seeded a richness into the landscape of Halifax. Much has sprouted in that time and “Envision” has showed up in many places through its leadership program alumni and other volunteers. A few examples (this list is by no means exhaustive):
So come and share your stories with us, laugh and reconnect with friends on February 16th.
RSVP if you can, to firstname.lastname@example.org