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Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words

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by Jock Mackenzie

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words. It’s number 26 on an Internet list of the world’s greatest fears. At Number 13 is Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking. The top five on this particular list are fear of: spiders, snakes, heights, open and/or crowded spaces and, a surprise to this canine fan, dogs.

Most of us can avoid the worst fears, but it’s almost impossible to avoid communicating with others. One answer: Toastmasters International

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Toastmasters, a non-profit educational organization, has been in the communication business since 1924. Red Deer’s Sunrise Toastmasters (Tuesday mornings at 7:00 a.m.) was founded in 1986. Kitowin Toastmasters (1st and 3rd Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. and a dinner meeting on the fourth Thursday) began even earlier – 1974. The need for communication and leadership has seen more Central Alberta clubs form; there are clubs in Innisfail, Sylvan Lake and Stettler

Who attends? Adults over eighteen. Most Toastmasters are trying to improve their ability to speak, to get their ideas out in a logical, understandable fashion. Some first come because they have an upcoming event where a speech is required:  business presentation, class, wedding, or funeral. Others attend because they know that speaking is not their strong point and have decided to do something about it. 

How long do they stay? It’s an interesting mix. Some men and women stay only as long as it takes them to improve to the point where they feel more comfortable with their communication skills. Others stay a medium term; some are “lifers.” Once in a Toastmaster club, it’s soon evident that the mutual fear of public speaking creates a bond. Toastmasters are amazingly supportive of fellow members – and a strong relationship is created. Personal experience has shown there is no better place to find encouragement, empathy and assistance. 

What happens at a meeting? Everybody has a chance to speak! An overview of a typical meeting includes two speeches from a manual of 10 general topics (an Icebreaker about yourself, getting to the point, vocal variety, research, etc.), evaluations of the speeches, a toast, a joke, table topics (members are given a topic – no time to prepare – and a two-minute time to speak), reports from the meeting’s grammarian (who notes ums, ahs and grammatical errors), the timer (who uses a green, amber and red light to keep speakers on time) and the general evaluator (who gives an overall assessment the meeting). There’s even a short coffee and treat break.  

Is Toastmasters for you? It is for over 350,000 people in 141 countries around the world. Is a degree of structure important? Two manuals, Competent Communicator and Competent Leader, provide a path through a carefully time-tested series of speeches and leadership opportunities. The basic structure is provided but there’s ample room for making all of the interactions specific and personal. Gradually being unveiled across the Toastmasters world is a new program called Pathways that promises an even more member-centred approach. 

Guests are always welcome.  Click on the individual links to get more information.

Kitowan Toastmaster, Sunrise Rotary ClubInnisfail, Sylvan Lake and Stettler.

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Alberta

Alberta paving the way for newcomers to get to work

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From the Government of Alberta: Ensuring fairness for newcomers

Bill 11, the Fair Registration Practices Act, will help newcomers get their credentials recognized, so they can quickly get to work in their fields to help grow the economy and create jobs.

The act is a key part of the government’s Fairness for Newcomers Action Plan.

Highly trained immigrant professionals can sometimes spend years jumping through regulatory hoops while their skills atrophy.

This can result in a significant loss of economic productivity for the Alberta economy. If passed, the Fair Registration Practices Act would cut red tape, remove barriers, speed up the process where possible, hold professional bodies accountable, and increase fairness and transparency.

Our goal is to get all Albertans back to work. Too often, we hear stories of ‘doctors driving cabs’ syndrome – and we are taking action to make sure newcomers’ credentials are evaluated and assessed objectively and in a timely manner.” Jason Kenney, Premier

“It’s important for Alberta’s professional bodies to maintain high professional standards while allowing qualified newcomers to fully contribute to our economy. And not only that, giving newcomers the chance to pursue the careers they’ve trained for is, simply put, the right thing to do.” Jason Copping, Minister of Labour and Immigration

“The settlement sector in Alberta has been advocating for fair recognition of newcomer qualifications for decades. The proven detrimental impact of underemployment of newcomer professionals is felt not only within their own families, but throughout society as well. We are certain that fair recognition of credentials will improve the quality of life of all Albertans, and are grateful this legislation is being introduced so quickly by the new government.” Anila Lee Yuen, president & CEO, Centre for Newcomers

The proposed bill would:

  • Provide the authority to create a Fair Registration Practices Office.
  • Reduce the red tape associated with the assessment of foreign credentials.
  • Work with regulators to ensure registration practices are transparent, objective, impartial and fair.
  • Maintain Alberta’s high professional standards.

Bill 11 would require regulatory bodies to:

  • Assess applications and communicate assessment decisions within specific time frames for interim registration decisions and within reasonable time frames for final registration decisions.
  • Submit reports regarding fair registration practices to the minister responsible for the act.

“ASET is the regulator of engineering and geoscience technology practice in Alberta, and is committed to fully objective criteria for certification, and a level playing field for all applicants. Having long since adopted high standards of fairness in our admissions practices, ASET applauds the initiative for fair assessment of all applicants.” Barry Cavanaugh, CEO, Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta

If passed, the legislation would come into force on proclamation.

Quick facts

  • According to the Conference Board of Canada, Canadians would earn up to $17 billion more annually if their learning credentials were fully recognized.
    • Immigrants are the largest group, with an estimated 524,000 international credential holders affected by a lack of learning recognition.
  • Provinces such as Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia already have fairness legislation to ensure that professional regulatory organizations have fair registration practices.
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City of Red Deer

City wants your thoughts on homelessness

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From City of Red Deer Communications

Help shape Red Deer’s housing and homelessness plan

As part of the Community Housing & Homelessness Integrated Plan, residents are invited to complete a survey to provide their feedback about housing and homelessness in Red Deer.

Driven by a Council Ad Hoc Committee, the overall goal of the Community Housing & Homelessness Integrated Plan (CHHIP) is to develop a strategic and innovative housing plan that will help achieve the community’s housing goals.

“Everyone needs a place to live, and the work we’re doing today with the CHHIP will guide housing andhomelessness planning now and in the future,” said Tricia Hercina, Manager of Social Planning with the City of Red Deer. “This is a community plan, and will focus on the full non-market housing spectrum.”

To ensure the plan is reflective of community needs, all citizens are invited to provide their feedback. A survey is currently available at reddeer.ca/surveys. The survey will be open to the public until July 5, 2019, and should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. In addition to the survey, a series of community conversations will occur. These opportunities will be advertised as they become available.

“We are asking for the community’s help with identifying current housing and homelessness needs within Red Deer, and ideas to address those needs in our communities by completing our survey,” saidHercina. “This valuable input will help us ensure this community plan is truly reflective of the community’s needs.”

Click here to go to the survey!

For more information about the CHHIP, please visit: http://www.reddeer.ca/city-government/mayor-and- city-councillors/council-committees/our-committees/community-housing–homelessness-integrated- plan/

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june, 2019

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