Ice Breakers N’ Things – A Reflection on Action and the LYAC

A very interesting meeting at council this week – in fact, this was the first formal meeting for the newly elected councillors of the LYAC. Following the usual ice breaker activities, the week’s conversation facilitator asked Council to brainstorm ideas on topics they would like to address for the next few weeks. Things quickly got interesting. Councillor Grace Wu of Ward 6 asked, “How exactly will we become action-oriented?”

Pause. Rewind two years ago. The 2014/15 Council experienced a moment very similar to this. The only difference is the time it took to arrive at this moment. After many, many weeks into the Council’s term [former] Councillor Alkadhimi of Ward 9 asked a similar question. So, it’s abundantly clear that we’ve been here before and the Staff at the LYAC is well-equipped to respond to a difficult question such as the one posed by Councillor Wu. That this current Council has broached the topic of ‘doing’ in its very first meeting is both impressive and a sign that the current Council is ready to work.

Now, resume to present day. How exactly will we become action-oriented? Well, Council of 2016/17, this is up to each of you – and up to the rest of your fellow Councillors. What you do have is access to previous work done by Council, unlimited access to individuals (and groups) within municipal and provincial government and a research team within the LYAC that is ready and willing to acquire relevant information for you, the Council. Should you choose to set up a community event, adopt-a-park or embark on a totally original project, you have all the necessary support and resources available to you.

Lastly, the Councillors are challenged to think about the value of ‘understanding’. As they have all come in with the drive and ambition to bring change to their communities, we must first think critically and demonstrate a clear understanding of the issues(s) at hand. Let the idea of clear ‘understanding’ precede doing. More of this will become readily apparent as the year progresses, but I can assure you the first difficult exercise in Council is searching for your group’s identity – as this will set the tone for the remainder of your term in Council.