By Aaron McRann
Based on the experience of others, we expected going in to this process that we would have the opportunity to highlight key areas of need in the community. We expected that we would offer a document that could provide an unbiased assessment of the health of our community. We expected that the document would be used by many different groups to inform their plans for the future.
And just months after the launch of our first Vital Signs report, we’re happy to have experienced all three of these wonderful benefits.
However, the side benefits that we have enjoyed by engaging in this process are also worth noting. By engaging an effective Community Leadership Team, made up of prominent leaders from every sector of our community, we have been able to forge much stronger alliances that will remain important for years to come.
The process of working together to craft this first Vital Signs report required commitment, ingenuity, compromise, and imagination from each of our Leadership Team members. This level of engagement not only sold them on Vital Signs as a key tool for driving change, but on the Community Foundation as a leader in steering and coordinating that change for the future.
Another very gratifying “surprise” was the level of community interest in the process. In all, the local newspapers provided eleven articles about Vital Signs including discussions of its roots, its development process, and its outcomes. More than 660 citizens completed our community survey, fully three times our expectations.
The end result is a valuable, unbiased report that truly is the voice of our citizens … awesome!
Aaron McRann is Executive Director of the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan