This weekend I am off to Washington for a meeting of over 300 delegates from all across the Public Radio system in the US.
Our intention - to find agreement on how we will go into the future together.
This meeting is the culmination of a voyage that has taken 9 months (a certain symbolism there!) We will have had 6 meetings for stations across the US that have included over 300 leaders in the system, many internal meetings at NPR with over 200 staff, all the executives and the board.
The great choice before the group is can they commit to working together as a system. I am confident that they can.
The stakes are high. For many who will attend, the issue is much more than the survival and health of public radio but the survival of the last large media space in America that can be trusted. Some see the stakes as higher yet. They see the opportunity that public radio can expand its role from trusted news source to a space where the citizens of the nation can come together safely and solve the pressing problems that confront their communities.
So in Boston WGBH is asking why are our kids doing so badly in school. In Cleveland - how can we the citizens renew our broken community, in upstate New York NCPR is asking the summer visitors and the locals to come together and heal the wounds that their separation cause to the community.
These are all issues where vested interest and the existing institutions prevent dialog. Public radio can be the new "Agora" where the citizen can speak out and influence what happens.
Chester Gillan, PEI's Minister for Health and Social Services announced yesterday that the Province will sign a long term contract with Best Start for 1 million a year - in effect restoring funding back to a level where Best Start can contemplate restoring coverage for 3 years.
I would like to thank the Minister and all those who have worked so hard to make this happen. In particular, I would like to thank the Premier who, throughout all the provinces budgetary challenges, has done his best to keep the faith.
PEI is the site now of a revolution that I think will unfold in education and health. For the last 100 years, the key assumption was that education was an external process applied by schools to children from the age of 6 and above. For as long, health care was assumed to be an external process applied by doctors to people.
Now on PEI we are establishing a new set of assumptions. That the experience that a child has inside the family is a very important determinant of their ability to learn and be healthy. That learning and health trajectories are set by an internal process influenced by what happens as a consequence of the experince a child has in interacting with their parents.
This then starts to shift the investment away from remediation to prevention and to opportunity. That the best time to invest in the future of our children is from conception to 6. There is hope that on PEI we will now be able to design and implement a support system that will start with conception and parenting and go the whole way via daycare, kindergarten, school and college and university.
This is the best news that I have had since the birth of my own children
This is an exciting time. PEI's response to a bad grade on our educational outcomes a few years back has been an authentic response and a willingness to do more than apply band aids
It's happening! The Commons Meme is spreading. Harold announces the establishment of the Tantramar Commons in Sackville NB.
"After two years of discussion and observation we now have an opportunity to fund the creation of a Commons. We know that any initiative of this sort must be financially sustainable but we also know that our community and world must be environmentally sustainable and that a dynamic culture is essential for growth as a community. Therefore, our Commons, a cooperative endeavour, will be founded on three interdependent pillars: an environmental commons, a cultural commons and a work commons.
The core of the environmental commons will be based on the Atlantic Wildlife Institute. AWI promotes learning and awareness about the direct links between environmental health and human wellness through its work in wildlife rescue, rehabilitation, and research. Having recently completed a learning centre in nearby Cookville, at AWI’s 120 acre facility, we are now looking at constructing a new facility in Sackville for our research and networking initiatives. Other environmental organisations have already expressed an interest in joining or participating."
How about your community - tell us more about your plans.
Well, here I am at the end of my bi-weekly spinning class. Spinning is really working for me - great and encouraging co spinners and an interesting and strenuous workout where there is immediate pay off in feeling myself get stronger. Also, I have lost 10 pounds in 3 weeks. I have taken most carbs out of my diet as well. Now if I could only stop drinking!
As well as having a great bike whop where you can rent a bike if you visit PEI, the MacQueeen family have developed deep links to Cuba and offer a unique vista into Cuban life outside the bubble with bike tours in Cuba.
My goal is to lose 30 pounds, bike for 379 km in May and help the Townships project in South Africa that extends microcredit to communities of women. The background is here.
Many thanks to all of you who have been so generous so far. I have to raise at least $400. If you can help me with this goal, please go here and you will be directed to a Pay Pal form where it is easy to make a donation directly to the project.
I will keep you all posted with my progress and will blog the Tip to Tip marathon in May
Last month I had an important anniversary. I outlived my father who died aged 55 from Sleep Apnea. The problem is that I too have inherited his tendency to Sleep Apnea. I wake up in the night, having stopped breathing, gasping for my next breath. Being over weight and drinking are key determinants for the condition and are the controllable aspects of the condition. Living to an old age will therefore require me to change the habits of a lifetime.
What to do? I have to lose about 30 pounds and keep this weight off. How to do this? Changing the eating and exercise habits of a lifetime is not easy - even if death is a consequence.
I need to have a goal that will alter my habits of sloth and indulgence. I need to find a way to wake up my body and to find new habits that I can sustain.
I had a clue last year when I started to bicycle as a new hobby. I know I enjoy it and, here on PEI, biking is well supported by a wonderful infrastructure and by a warm and accepting community. To this end, I have decided to enter the Tip to Tip bike Marathon in late May. This involves riding for 4 days across PEI from Tip to Tip (about 379k) The marathon is a fund raiser for a group that are running a Micro Credit operation in South Africa. Micro Credit has been found to be one of the best development tools that we know of. In essence it empowers women in their communities to start small businesses.
Here is where I need your support. This is a fundraiser. I have to deliver $400 to the organizers to support the Townships Project. I have committed $200 of my own money. Will you help by pledging some of yours?
My blog can be so serious sometime - so here is a fun way to be serious
My sister called me breathlessly today to tell me about the item that she bid on and won at a fund raiser yesterday in Toronto for a shelter for single mums. The event raised $50,000 in 3 hours.
My whole view of fund raising has shifted as a result. Here is the process.
First - restrict the event to women only
Second - Charge $60 to get in but give them each two drinks for the $60 to get them warmed up
Third - Have the kind of items that the modern woman really wants but is too embarrassed to get in public. My sister fought a titanic battle to win the most popular item - a 6 week course in Pole dancing. Her daughter won the bid on a course in Tantric sex. Their friend won the "Bose Equivalent" of Dildoes - the ones that can do everything. She, a top investment dealer, took hers out later to a business dinner with its box clearly visible peaking out of the top of her handbag. By the way - Wal*Mart sell a whole line of kit for self exploration
Sounds a lot more fun than your typical event and for a good cause too.
By the way - I hear that Pole Dancing is not only great exercise but brings a lot of good things back to relationships.