(on behalf of the Servas Canada Board)
The year 2016 was designated The International Year of Pulses by the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and also the International Year of Global Understanding. Both of these designations recognize the need for global awareness of, in the first case, environmental stewardship and, in the second case, cultural tolerance and peace. In April, Servas Canada Board members from across the country met in Montreal for a three-day retreat where we created a three-year strategic plan (2016-2019) involving: improved communication; streamlining our administrative processes; and encouraging recruitment and participation. In light of the international designations above, Servas Canada seems to be on par with the global plan for 2016. But this year is also a time of transition for Servas Canada. We have a number of new Board members, and are seeking volunteers for a variety of positions.
I want to thank most sincerely the commitment of the Servas Canada members who attended the Montreal retreat: Nancy (Deputy National Secretary), Alison (Treasurer), Judy, Jaques, Alan, Julie, Paul, Carol Ann G., and Kathy L. Carol Ann and Kathy decided to leave the Board and I would like to thank them most sincerely for their contributions to the Montreal meeting. In particular I thank Julie D. for her long-standing insights into Servas Canada operations, her mentoring and her ongoing suggestions as this new team transitions into 2016 and beyond.
Beyond these goals in our strategic plan, most significantly Servas Canada wants to promote and instill those values that make Servas different from other travel/host groups for
we are a conscientious hosting community that encourages cultural tolerance, peace initiatives, environmental stewardship, diversity, and inclusion.
In terms of improved communication, we agree to: expand our website visibility by making the website more accessible and easier to use; encouraging feedback opportunities through active social media; marketing and promoting Servas Canada through distribution of outreach materials and engaging in community dialogue; building partnerships (e.g., recently, a financial donation to the Calgary Peace Prize)
Streamlining our administrative processes through a revised Constitution; clarifying Board and non-Board officer job descriptions; creating an Operations Manual that outlines policies and procedures; soliciting engaged Board and non-Board officer activities as Servas International ServasOnline gets up and running
In terms of encouraging recruitment and participation, we agree to: engage and inspire youth to be involved in promoting Servas Canada values; be inclusive by supporting a diverse volunteer community; support our volunteers by allowing them to identify their strengths in their contributions; foster open dialogue of Servas Canada membership through various means; revitalize our youth and language exchange programmes through membership feedback; assist new volunteers in their shared commitment to Servas Canada growth; promote family involvement through Servas International’s Making Connections communities
I think that we are all engaged with Servas because of positive and often, life-changing travel experiences through our shared Servas friendships. I hope that you will consider building on those shared values and friendships by becoming part of the Servas Canada plan. Please feel free to voice your ideas or concerns through the website contact us link. Thank you, Julie.