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The Learning Agenda
April 17-19, 2018

This is a rare opportunity for you to learn from two of the world's top trainers in Asset-Based Community Development for their first time together in Canada. Healthy Neighbourhoods is a three-day opportunity to learn the fundamentals of Asset-Based Community Development with a focus on Neighbourhood Development and Community Health.

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An Experience to Embrace

We will be gathering in the atrium in beautiful Victoria park just minutes from hotels and world class restaurants. The park is a true gem and the facility is an easy walk from the bus station and minutes by taxi or Uber from the train station. Shuttles from the Toronto airport can take as little as 50 minutes and there are train connections from the airport to downtown Toronto and then directly to Kitchener daily.

Each morning we will hear from two world renowned keynote speakers. These speakers will be supported by community story telling and art, poetry and music. Tamarack will be the learning agenda host and will bring a deep understanding of cogenerative learning to the space. This will include facilitated small and large group conversations and creative design features that include a learning wall, active twitter feeds, a learning commons and much more.

Lunch and three breaks are included in your conference fee and will be provided by community enterprises that specialize in locally sourced foods. As we are in the centre of a park there will be plenty of time for walks or just sitting in a garden during breaks.34608148804_6fce92609f_k.jpg

Each afternoon we will break into three groups. Two groups will be invited to get onto buses and will be taken on experiential learning excursions where we will combine tours and lectures from speakers who actually do the work of ABCD daily. One group will stay at the Pavillion in Victoria park for advanced workshops from our keynotes and other world class trainers. We will end at noon on day three.

A snapshot of what you will learn: (stay tuned for workshops and a full list of speakers)

Learn to facilitate a Capacity Inventory

1. Skills Information: lists the many skills that a person has gained at home, work, in the community, or elsewhere. Examples of these skills can include internet knowledge, hair-cutting, listening, wallpapering, carpentry, sewing, babysitting, etc.

2. Community Skills: lists the community work in which a person has participated to determine future work they may be interested in.

3. Enterprising Interests and Experience: lists past experience in business and determines interest in starting a business.

4. Personal Information: lists minimum information for follow-up.

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Learn about Asset-Mapping

There are five key assets in any given community: individuals, associations, institutions, physical assets, and connections. These assets are broken down into three categories: Gifts of individuals, Citizens’ Associations, and Local Institutions. Asset maps are used in lieu of needs maps which focus solely on negative aspects of communities. Asset maps, on the other hand, focus on community assets, abilities, skills, and strengths in order to build its future.


Agenda at a Glance

Below find a snapshot of how the workshop will take shape. Check back often as we continue to update!

Day 1 
April 17th

8:00 a.m.
Registration Opens

9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Welcome and Convening the Learning Community

Keynote: Cormac Russell

Community Conversations & Inspiration

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Lunch & Networking

1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. 
Workshops & Tours in Three Streams:

- ABCD Masterclass Workshop
- ABCD Neighbours Tour
- ABCD Community Wellbeing Tour

5:00 p.m.
Movie Premier 

Day 2 
April 18th

9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Reconvene the Learning Community

Keynote: John McKnight 

Keynote: Donna Thompson

Community Conversations & Inspiration

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Lunch & Networking

1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. 
Workshops & Tours in Three Streams:

- ABCD Masterclass Workshop
- ABCD Neighbours Tour
- ABCD Community Wellbeing

5:00 p.m.
Community Celebration

Day 3
April 19th

9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Reconvene the Learning Community

Keynote: Cormac Russell

Community Conversations

Keynote: Al Etmanski


Workshop, Tour, and Evening Event Descriptions

ABCD Masterclass
Session Leaders: John McKnight and Cormac Russell

We are honoured to be joined by two world renowned trainers and practitioners of ABCD who have prepared a 4-hour masterclass for us. John McKnight and Cormac Russell will dive deeper into Asset-Based Community Development and share with us practical tools we can use in our communities. This masterclass will be highly participatory and will focus on building strong communities and engaged neighbourhoods.

ABCD Community Engagement and Wellbeing Tour
Session Leaders: Communitech, Kitchener Community Health Centre, The Working Centre, Paul Born and Al Etmanski

This tour starts at the Tannery Building which houses many of our community’s high-tech companies including the organization Communitech and EPOCH.  Communitech is an organization that has harnessed the assets of students and entrepreneurial people to create the “Silicon Valley” of Canada. EPOCH is an integrated platform that aims to enhance engagement for company talent through social impact opportunities.  In the same building we will visit the Kitchener Community Health Centre to learn about how they have engaged with the local community to enhance community wellbeing.  We will then spend the rest of the afternoon with the founder of the Working Centre – KW’s premiere asset-based organization – as they take you on a tour to show you the value of productionism over consumerism thinking. The tour starts at the a 3-acre community garden and then to one of the most unique and productive soup kitchens you will ever encounter. We will then head over to a pavilion of productive living that harnesses the assets of our community in ways that will astonish you. The tour ends with a facilitated conversation on ABCD and Wellness by Paul Born and Al Etmanski..

ABCD Neighbourhood Tour
Session Leaders: City of Kitchener, Heather Keam and Howard Lawrence

Join Heather Keam and Howard Lawrence as well as leaders from the City of Kitchener for this brilliant celebration of neighbourhoods. The City of Kitchener, through a massive engagement process, launched an unprecedented Neighbourhood Strategy last year and this is your opportunity to see the strategy in action.  We will hop on a bus and drive to the Mill Courtland Community Centre, Kingsdale Crosswalk and the Webber Park Community Garden where we will see ABCD in action and learn about the amazing community work that neighbourhoods are doing.  We will then take the bus back to Kitchener City Hall to engage with a panel of residents and city leaders to talk about the unique opportunities and challenges of mobilizing neighbourhoods. The afternoon ends with a lecture from Howard Lawrence (City of Edmonton) on Asset-Based Community Development for neighbourhoods..

Build Community through Music and Poetry

Join local musicians and members of our learning community to engage in good food, folk music and poetry about community at the legendary Boat House, located within Victoria Park.


Have questions? Email or set up a call with Heather.


Tamarack Institute