Over 50 community members gathered at Brennan Park on November 24th to participate in the first of two Community Conversations hosted by the Squamish Community Foundation (SCF), as part of the 2023 Vital Signs research project. We saw a diverse group of Squamish residents involved, including those from local small businesses, non-profits, retirees, the Squamish Nation, and three newly elected members of our local government council.
The session was led by Vital Signs Coordinator, Michelle LeBlanc, who gave an introduction to the Vital Signs project before starting the timed round-table discussions. Participants had a chance to move between tables each round to provide insight on the issues most important to them. Topics ranged from housing and affordability to diversity, environment, and reconciliation, among others.
The conversations were lively as differing perspectives were brought forward, and groups spent time debating the issues and brainstorming solutions. Not only did these conversations prove beneficial for community members to listen to and learn from others, but the event was essential in aiding the Vital Signs team in extracting themes that will guide the next stage of research.
“Insight from the local community is essential to ensure inclusivity and efficacy in data collection. We hope that community members and organizations will feel inspired to contribute to this project in meaningful ways through active participation and collaborative processes.” – Michelle LeBlanc.
In January 2023, the SCF will be releasing a Community Survey to collect localized data, which will be available online and in print. A second Community Conversation will then be hosted in February. Following the research stage, the Vital Signs report will be published in May 2023, providing an important update from the last report.
Community members can stay in-the-loop on project updates by following the SCF on Facebook and subscribing to our newsletter via our website.
You may also contact Michelle LeBlanc directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SCF would like to express their gratitude to the community members who showed up with an open mind and valuable insight at the event last week, as well as those who expressed interest in this project but were unable to attend. A big ‘thank you’ to the Vital Signs Steering Committee and volunteers including: Mona Sidhu, Andrea Dunne, Adrian Blachut, Kyle Horvath, Christina Musselwhite, Alex Cairns, Pam Duynstee, Christine Baker, Carol Coffey, Heather Hall, Suzie Soman, and Karen Clarke for all of their dedication to this project so far.
ABOUT VITAL SIGNS
Vital Signs is a research initiative that uses local knowledge and data to measure the vitality of our community, to create conversations, and to encourage collective action. The resulting Vital Signs Report is a powerful knowledge tool used by many agencies (non-profits, organizations, businesses, realtors, local government, etc.), to provide localized information on issues important to Squamish citizens, to support grant and funding applications with pertinent data, and to empower individuals towards action.