Recent History – 2004-2006
By Brad Lyon, March 2005
The Nawican Friendship Centre has a number of plans to develop and expand its base of operations among Dawson Creek social service organizations. Members heard about some of the proposed plans on Friday night, at a community meeting. According to Lisa Gagnon, Program Review Committee co-ordinator for the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, the goal of the provincial body is to help Nawican become more responsive to the needs of its members. At the same time, there is a desire to have the organization play more of a role in meeting the social service needs of the larger Dawson Creek community.
“We’re hearing it all the time, from Elders and staff, youth are a big issue here,” said Gagnon. “There’s a lot of work to be done…. We want to make sure there are more programs at the Friendship Centre.”
Gagnon said that expanding youth programs is a definite goal of the Elders. She said the centre already has two applications for funding for programs. Gagnon also outlined plans to spruce up the building, including repairing the sidewalk, replacing doors and windows, and changing or repainting the awning. Also on the agenda is a community garden, and a balcony with gazebo and lighting to attract youth to the centre during the evening.
“There’s a lot of things that can be done here. What’s your niche?” Gagnon asked.
As well, a survey was available at the meeting for members to make suggestions. A process for recruiting volunteers and recognizing their efforts is also being established. And the Elders will be incorporated into staff evaluations as well as having a representative on the board of directors.
The Victoria-based Gagnon was in town last week reviewing the operations at Nawican, and making some contacts with government-based bodies. The provincial organization took over governance of Nawican recently, after the centre’s previous executive director was dismissed.
While Gagnon outlined the areas where she is looking at improvements, many members wanted assurances that the hiring process for a new executive director would have local input and follow established procedures.
“This is one centre where there has been a lot of challenges around the executive director. We are taking a break from the executive director position, until we can set the groundwork,” Gagnon said.
Gagnon said that she is looking at creating a hiring board that would include as many as three local people. She also thanked the members for sharing their concerns, and for suggestions on how to improve the hiring process.