Together Shuswap 

A History of the Together Shuswap Regional Planning

In 2008, a group of the Executive Directors of several Shuswap agencies began talking about the lack of any regional lens to view the social service needs of the communities that most of them delivered services to. Dorothy Argent was engaged to meet with the group for discussions about the development of a regional social planning group based on Dorothy’s experience with the Salmon Arm Social Issues Committee. Around the same time, the group decided to pursue forming a coalition or collective, a body of some sort to formalize their commitment to partnership and engaged Clyde Tucker, former President of Okanagan College, founding member of Shuswap Community Foundation, and well known in social development fields around the country, to help them through the processes of looking at various kinds of collectives. After a year or so of looking at different types of bodies, the groups decided to form a co-op and Shuswap Community Resources Co-op was born. Founding members were Canadian Mental Health Association, Eagle Valley Community Support Society, SAFE Society, Shuswap Association for Community Living, Shuswap Children’s Association, Shuswap Family Resource and Referral Society and Salmon Arm Partners in Youth Development. From the beginning the members talked about how to bring organizations, governments and the aboriginal communities together to discuss social planning for the region. In 2010, SCRC Co-op member Janet McClean Senft heard about the Learning Initiatives for Rural and Northern Communities funding after attending a rural community development event. This funding is available to pay the fees for planning and facilitation, and the travelling expenses for facilitators from a broad variety of social and community development experts. The applicants must arrange and pay for space, food, advertising, registration processes and all other misc. workshop expenses. In June of that year, Janet applied on behalf of the Co-op members for the funding, which was granted in September. Throughout that fall, a committee made up of Janet, Clyde Tucker and Kim Sinclair, E.D. of the agency now called Aspiral, worked with Scott Graham and Katie McCallum of the Social Planning and Research Council of BC to create workshop content and facilitation designed to begin the process of bringing the regional interests in social development to the table.