“We can all do things that we didn’t think we could:”
The Kenaston SCC stepped out of their comfort zone and it paid off in a big way
On February 4, 2020, 450 people packed Kenaston Place in Kenaston for an educational and entertaining community evening with noted motivational speaker and author Dr. Jody Carrington. While about half the people came from the Kenaston community, the other half hailed from all over the province including Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert and other Sun West School Division communities such as Outlook, Kindersley, Kyle, Rosetown and Davidson. The event was organized by the Kenaston School Community Council (SCC) and demonstrates the important leadership role that SCCs play in schools and communities.
The idea to hold a community evening with Jody Carrington started with the Kenaston SCC carrying out a community needs assessment. The SCC felt that community engagement was an important area to work on in order to bridge gaps and re-foster relationships between school and community.
The SCC had heard about Jody Carrington who is a well-known speaker on topics related to community engagement and relationships and felt she would be a good fit for their community. Their hope was that they could bring Dr. Carrington to speak to their community at no cost to community members in order to open doors for as many people as possible. As one of the top speakers in her field, however, Dr. Carrington’s fee was quite intimidating.
Although concerned about the cost of the presentation, the SCC continued to discuss the event and decided to look at the idea differently. In April 2019, they applied for a grant through the Dakota Dunes Casino and although initially their application was not accepted; they remained undeterred and in September 2019, a second grant application to the casino was successful.
With the commitment for support from Dakota Dunes, the SCC was emboldened and contacted Dr. Carrington to book her. Darla Collins, the SCC Treasurer explained: “The grant took the edge off and made it feasible. Now we believed it could happen.”
Once a date was selected they were able to partner with Christ the Teacher School Division based in Yorkton to share some of the costs but even with that and the Dakota Dunes grant, they still had a lot of costs to cover. As a result, although there would be no cost for community members to attend, tickets would be sold to people outside the community in order to cover the remaining costs.
Using every means available to them including social media, posters and e-mail, the SCC let people know about their event. In the end, 220 tickets were sold outside of the community and the community evening actually turned a profit. It was an amazing accomplishment!
In addition to speaking to the Kenaston community and people from around the province, Dr. Carrington also gave a special presentation to the SCC and the teachers and staff from both Kenaston School and the Sun West Distance Learning Centre in Kenaston. “It was an opportunity to do something for our teachers,” explained Mrs. Collins, “and recognize the important role they play in the lives of our kids.”
The SCC learned many valuable lessons by taking a chance and staging the event. Mrs. Collins advised other SCCs: “Don’t turn down an idea before you see how you can think outside the box in order to make something happen. Think about it in a few different ways before you give up. We can all do things that we didn’t think we could.”
Mrs. Collins added: “Every project needs a champion but with an SCC there is a team to take care of all of the details. Even a large event like this one, when pieced out, isn’t too big a task to undertake.”
Picture above: Kenaston School Community Council with Jody Carrington after their highly successful community event on February 4. (Back: left to right) Tara Rink, Steve Thompson, Sandra Lutz, Nicole Francoeur, Cindy Menzies, Dr. Jody Carrington, Sandra Weisner, Deanna Modien (Front row: left to right) Carolyn Moser, Tanya Ringdal, Darla Collins, Crystal Zdunich