Neighbours: Policies and Programs: June 10-12, 2013

Submitted by Paul Born on March 25, 2013 - 9:40am
Seeking Community's First Face to Face Gathering

As a member of Tamarack’s learning community, I want to invite you to join me June 10-12 in Kitchener, Ontario. We will celebrate the life of John McKnight as we gather to explore how programs and policies can make neighbors effective agents of change in their communities. Together, we want to deeply understand how to advance the importance of neighborhoods, explore what programs have advanced neighborliness, and discuss what policies cause communities to take the role of neighbors seriously. How might we work collaboratively between citizens, government and community groups? How might collective community innovation unfold?

 Learn more at

 Joining John McKnight is Jim Diers and Al Etmanski– two of the most important thinkers and advocates for neighbors and belonging in North America. Jim and Al are also both faculty of John’s ABCD. This unprecedented national gathering is exploring programs that advance neighbourhood resilience and capacity. This event will also discuss (and possibly co-create) cutting edge policy ideas within cities that promote belonging and neighbourliness. Most importantly it will celebrate the work of John McNight as he receives an honorary doctorate from the University of Waterloo that week.

 If you have ever been inspired by John and are interested in neighborhoods, you cannot miss this event. City staff, policy makers at all levels of government, neighborhood association staff and board members, and community development leaders are all invited to gather with us June 10-12, 2013.

 Register today at

 A few quick details:

 Strengthen your resolve: The gathering will take place in one of the most beautiful neighborhoods and green spaces in the Kitchener area, Victoria Park. Join us as we explore with thought leaders, enjoy local food, tour different neighbourhoods through interactive walks, and delight in dynamic nightly entertainment. We promise you not only cutting edge thinking, but also creativity and inspiration sure to rejuvenate.

Our Learning Community: Neighbours: Policies and Programs promises to be a rich learning opportunity. Thought leaders and exemplars will inspire us with the latest insights and practical examples. Most importantly, though, they will join us within the context of a structured learning community with time for deep discussion. Speakers already confirmed:

·         John McKnight, Co-director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University and author of Building Communities from the Inside Out and The Carless Society – no one knows more about neighbours.

·         Jim Diers, Faculty of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD) and author of Neighbor Power: Building Community the Seattle Way. World renowned!

·         Al Etmanksi, Director at Social Innovation Generation, founder of Plan and the RDSP, author of A Good Life and our Guru on the issue of belonging.

·         Lynn Randall, Director of Social Planning of the Region of Waterloo

·         Paul Born, President of the Tamarack Institute and author of the bestselling book Community Conversations and founder of Seeking Community – a campaign to reignite our passion for community.

·         Paul Johnson, Director of Neighbourhood Development Strategies for the City of Hamilton

·         Milton Friesen, A member of Cardus and is one of Canada’s leading thinkers in the area of social capital and its impact on neighborhood development

How do I get there? This gathering is being held from June 10-12th, 2013 in Kitchener, Ontario. Take the train or access daily flights directly to Kitchener from Calgary, Ottawa and Chicago. We are only 55 minutes from the Pearson Airport with regular shuttle services to Kitchener. Hotels, bed and breakfast venues are plentiful; many are within 5 minutes’ walk of the venue.

 John McKnight: A very special lunch will be hosted for John McKnight during the event.

 Join together with community builders, civic leaders, academics, neighbourhood residents, politicians, and other passionate learners to explore ideas that will accelerate the neighbourhood agenda. Topics we will explore:

•           Why are neighbourhoods back on the agenda?

•           Why is asset-based thinking so critical?

•           How do we decentralize city services?

•           Can neighbourhoods be the centre of community life?

•           Can neighbourhoods be places of belonging?

•           Can neighbourhoods be places of caring?

•           Can we “formalize” the role of neighbourhoods and deliver social services there?

•           What is the role of social capital and how to build it?

•           Local and state policies that advance the neighbourhood agenda.


To register for this amazing event, click here! 

 Cost: Tamarack is hosting this gathering at cost and with exceptional rates for groups of three or more from the same community who register together. For those who are volunteers (coming with a team from your community) and cost is an issue we have very special rates available.

 All of us at Tamarack are looking forward to seeing you at this once in a lifetime event. Please feel free to forward this invite to your colleagues and community partners.  Special reduced rates are available for two or more participants who agree to attend together. Click here for a detailed outline of this event and to register.

 If you have any other questions contact Rachel Brnjas: She is happy to answer any questions you might have.

 Hoping you will join us as we learn and celebrate neighbours!

Much joy,

Paul Born

Tamarack, President



Hamilton's seekers

Glad to hear that Hamilton will be represented and so sorry that I am unable to join you. However, I look forward to hearing more from our Jamesville and South Sherman representatives when they head back. Grateful for their leadership. It is about developing and nurturing relationships to grow but not own the seekers.

So exciting!

This event is going to be amazing!

We would love to see you there as we learn about the power of neighbours together with some of the greatest thinkers in the world on this topic :)

Learn more

We will love to have you at this great event. Please ask us any questions.

Much joy

Building volunteerism

Paul, volunteerism needs more recognition, as we build volunteer capacity to help our neighbour through the use of the wraparound process. Encouraging neighbours to understand and take under their wing, the lonely, those we don't "like" and others. It is important to develop relationships and give people their voice, helping them in ways they want to be helped, instead of imposing our values.  Assistance to achieve our individuals goals through honouring each others hopes and dreams, will take us far into the future.

Meeting in her livingroom recently, with her Wraparound process, she shared that she was fearful as her physical health was deteriorating, resulting in more falls. She didn't wish to go into long term care and was concerned her family might attempt to take some of the control for her needs- that her voice wouldn't be heard. As her WrapAround team, she felt our physical touch on her shoulder and saw our faces and voices,  as we said that we "had her back" and we would ensure that her voice would continue to be heard. I would love to see us building capacity within our neighbourhoods to ensure that everyone's voice is heard. For those overwhelmed by life's challenges the WrapAround process is evidenced to be an effective method by building on individual strengths and developing an achievable plan. Let's bring everyone to the neighbourhood. We all deserve our dreams!

See more about us at and through Wrap Canada.