Rachel and Jos Update: Hello Strategic Planning, Welcome Luna

PPO has journeyed through a tremendous amount of change in the past 3 years.   The team (staff and volunteers) has been resilient and flexible. This together with a huge amount of hard work has ensured that our community continues to have access to the unbiased, accurate, prochoice, and non-judgmental services PPO offers.  Thanks to everyone for their part in that.  We are indeed wrapping up a 3 year cycle, and have undertaken a new 3 year planning process that will guide us in PPO’s new funding context as we seek to improve the sexual and reproductive health of our community.

The first step in the planning process is reflection.  It was a beautiful day to spend time outside at Christie Lake Camp.  Located outside of Perth, the camp provides year round weekend and summer camps to children and youth living in poverty in Ottawa.  We were provided with the use of the camp and facilitated by the Camp Director in the morning at no cost.  Darcy Delaney, a very experienced outdoor educator, took the team through a series of challenges.  The first was a group juggling exercise which challenged the group to communicate, adapt and coordinate actions using multiple communication skills and receptiveness in a “think quick” context.  The team excelled in this and was able to “juggle” 4 balls.  We were then put through all kinds of challenges from being blindfolded, speechless, and balancing on very narrow boards. The team seemed to enjoy the morning and it was a very relaxing and positive way to prepare for our reflective afternoon performing a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) assessment of our work.  

Like the staff, the Board also convened to prepare a SWOT from their perspective a few days later with strong agreements with the staff’s analysis.   These activities ensured that all of the folks who participated in the Strategic Planning Town hall on November 11th has well thought out background information to work with.   The day way hosted in the boardroom of the Canadian Cancer Society in Downtown Ottawa- the views were lovely!    Despite the rain and Remembrance Day Activities, a healthy group of volunteers, board and staff came together for a discussion of PPO priorities and high level strategic objectives.  It was excellent to hear from so many perspectives and this discussion prepared the Board well for the afternoon activity of beginning to refine the strategic objectives into a plan.  Volunteer Facilitator Derek McMaster worked with us all day to guide the conversation and help us keep it high level.  Thank you Derek! We are not yet ready to share anything, but it is exciting to conceive of the possibilities for PPO’s impact in our community!  When the plan is prepared, we will share it with you.  You are a big part of how anything can be achieved here!

In the spirit of new reflection, renewal and new beginnings, the staff retreat was also the day that we welcomed Luna Allison to the team as the new Insight Theatre Coordinator.  Yes, we are bidding a fond farewell to Nadine Thornhill, who has brought her creative capacity, sex-positivity and passion to the program for 3 years.  It is a bittersweet good bye because not only is Nadine pursuing graduate studies in Sexuality, but she promises to continue to volunteer with PPO in Community Education and SAP!  Sex positivity wouldn’t be quite the same without her!   We are all grateful to have had the delight of working with Nadine, she is already missed.

We are very lucky to have found Luna, she brings so much to the program we were not sure we could find in one person again!  Luna is an accomplished playwright and actress who has extensive experience in service and collaboration with youth, women and around topics of sexual health!   Luna brings such richness and grace with her, the troupe has immediately embraced her, like Nadine, and I knew they would.  So glad to have her with us and I know she is looking forward to meeting our community too!

Thanks and keep warm,
Rachel and Jos