We are very proud to release to you our 2014-2015 Community Impact Report. This is a special time for all of us here at Citizens Academy. But I won’t try and describe it myself: I offer the Executive Director’s message as context for where we have come from and where we are excited to be going. I encourage you to read through the report to see all the fantastic work by our neighbours in and around our city. It’s a great time to live here. Thank you for joining us on this journey!
Executive Director’s Message: Feed Forward
It seems both like yesterday and a lifetime ago that the founding family sat around my kitchen table and dreamt boldly about new ways of co-generating solutions to address civic issues. Did we dream too courageously? I don’t think so. Ottawa is full of passionate and creative citizens who continue to show up, step up and step into creating our city. We all know Ottawa is a truly great place to live, but let us expect more: from ourselves, from business, from communities, and from governments.
At Citizens Academy, we have always believed that no one person, organization, or sector can or should tackle complex issues alone. We challenged ourselves to create programs that would shift minds and hearts to enable thoughtful conversations for collaborative action. We started small: our Civics Boot Camps served to create empathy, mutual understanding, and ownership of civic issues. We have been heartened by the response and the results. Our alumni are creating outcomes and impact – we feel privileged to have played a small role in their success.
We learned a lot from the brave people who joined us on this rollercoaster ride of learning and iteration. It’s not about feedback, but feed forward – driving a new path of possibility. In the last 12 months, we connected back to our bigger aspirations to create more spaces for shared CityMaking where diverse stakeholders feel they are creators and contributors in making our city thrive for everyone. We haven’t figured it all out yet, but we believe in what we see, hear and feel from participants and collaborators. They want more. We are excited about next steps – experiments in dialogue, placemaking, expansion of our Boot Camps, and workshops to drive civic entrepreneurship.
Your contributions as partners, advisors, collaborators, volunteers, and participants enabled us to serve and work with more people in the past 18 months than ever before. To the core leadership team – no words can express my joy and gratitude to be working with you. We are building this movement together: Ottawa has a strong heartbeat. For that, and your commitment to an inclusive and energetic civic life, I thank you.
Co–Founder & Executive Director