The Kaslo Institute came into being a scant two-and-a-half months ago — on October 12, to be precise. The Institute was created specifically to help contribute to the ongoing challenge of ensuring our village and surrounding region remains a wonderful place to live and visit. It’s New Year’s Eve — a perfect time to take a moment and look back on what we’ve accomplished in our first couple of months of existence.
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE INSTITUTE
Before we officially came into existence, a public information session on the Institute, its goals and objectives, was held at the Langham Theatre. A terrific opportunity to both share our vision, and receive some great suggestions and encouraging feedback (especially from younger attendees determined to carve out a future here) from friends & neighbours in the crowd.
STATE OF THE BASIN CONFERENCE
In mid-October, Columbia Basin Trust hosted Seeds for Success, a three-day conference held in Creston focused on the future of our region. Obviously a lot of people who might be concerned about matters ranging from the status of the Columbia River Treaty to the state of our region’s economy were unable to travel to Creston to attend this conference. So, the Kaslo Institute approached the Village of Kaslo, and suggested we set up an Internet link to the Creston conference, making it possible for interested locals to participate without having to physically be in Creston over the event’s three days.
We got the go-ahead, and were able to provide comprehensive access to the conference from Council Chambers in the Kemball Centre. Kaslo was the only municipality in the Basin to have such a link to the conference. “Virtual attendees” at this end were able to pose questions to presenters as well as watch and listen to the proceedings in Creston. All in all, an excellent introduction to the potential benefits of Internet connectivity (the more bandwidth, the better!) for remote communities like ours. The Institute was proud to provide this service, less than a week after our founding.
IHA BRASS COME TO KASLO
On November 12, two senior representatives of IHA came to Kaslo, to make a presentation to Village Council. Citizens rightly concerned about the current state — and future — of health care in our town turned out in droves on what proved to be an unusually cold and blustery November evening.
While the meeting was open to the public, it was clear beforehand that far more people wanted to attend than could be accommodated in Council chambers. So the Kaslo Institute arranged to place microphones in the room, open up additional space adjacent to chambers with a speaker, and place speakers outside the Kemball Centre, so the large crowd gathered there could hear, live, what was being said. If you weren’t there and would like to know precisely what was said, the Institute also recorded the session — we posted it the next day on the Kaslo Community Web Facebook page — here it is: https://kasloinstitute.com/2013/11/13/iha-brass-meet-with-kaslo-council/.
THE SOUNDS OF WINTER
As the days grew shorter — and the nights colder — the Institute took the initiative to brighten things up with a little music. Well, actually, a LOT of music! The first annual Sounds of Winter festival, slated for the first week of December (leading to Light Up and the start of the holiday season) was launched. The general idea is to celebrate the tremendous impact music has on our lives, while at the same time embracing a time of year, with its snow and slush, wet firewood and slippery roads, that many of us dread.
Things got rolling with a couple of concerts featuring local bands that performed on Front Street during the week…
…followed by the arrival of one of the world’s great classical musicians, British cellist Michael Kevin Jones, and Juno Award-winning singer/songwriter, Cara Luft.
Michael and Cara held a spellbound group of students raptly attentive as they visited Kaslo’s JV Humphries School, talking about their respective careers and performing some lovely music. They also performed at an intimate gathering of local music lovers, then, joined by Karen Behn and the Kuimba Choir, wowed an appreciative crowd at St. Andrews United Church…
December also saw the Institute begin to assemble what we hope will become an annual publication — Local Heroes, a guide to our area’s many non-profit and informal organizations. Packed with useful information, the 2014 edition of Local Heroes will be published early in the new year, accompanied by a Local Heroes website, that will allow us to reflect changes and events that take place during the course of the year — a great way to celebrate the extraordinary contribution volunteers make to our quality of life here in Kaslo and Area D!
THE NEW YEAR…
So what’s in store for 2014 at the Institute?
We want to continue to explore ways our existing cultural organizations and area businesses can be strengthened, providing both enhanced experiences and expanded economic opportunities for locals and visitors alike. We intend to explore ways new & emerging technologies (like greatly expanded available bandwidth) can be leveraged to enhance our quality of life, while improving access to excellent health care & education, and supporting social, cultural, and entrepreneurial initiatives.
We hope to create a new media platform that will greatly expand the ability of Kaslo and Area D residents to share information with one another and the rest of the world (think web streaming radio and TV stations, for example). We think there’s a tremendous opportunity to establish Kaslo as a world-leading centre focused on exploring ways small, remote communities can thrive in a rapidly changing century. And by sharing our experiences — and expertise — with other communities, we can both contribute to making our planet more livable, and create intriguing, well-paid jobs for our young people at the same time.
We’re determined to work closely and collaboratively with other area non-profits and businesses, local, regional, national, and international educational institutions, foundations, and governments, and our creative neighbours over the coming year to help make Kaslo and Area D a wonderful place to live and work.
In the meantime, we’d like to extend our sincerest wishes to you for a healthy and prosperous 2014!
Rhonda Ruston, Blair Enns, Michael Kevin Jones, Cara Luft, Karen Behn, Jill Holland, Keith Liggett, Jeremy Behn, Janet Mayfield, Charles Cuell, Kamen Todorov, Laurie Moss, Barbara Gonzalez, John Anderson, Yolanda Ramos, Ted Fitzgerald, Randy Morse