Welcome from the CEO, Connie MacDonald

Welcome to the first edition of The Bridge – our on-line newsletter designed to keep members and friends up to date on key activities, issues and opportunities at YWCA Banff. Our plan is to send a short correspondence approximately once per month. We hope you enjoy reading this and welcome your feedback.

After one full year at the YWCA, I am looking forward to a busy season of programming, on-going service delivery and a major construction project.

School programs, with an emphasis on healthy relationships, will be held in Banff, Canmore and Exshaw throughout the fall. We also have a number of upcoming awareness events listed in the Upcoming Events section including Week Without Violence and Power of Being a Girl in October and the Rose Campaign to End Violence Against Women luncheon in December.

The renovation of the American Family Gingerbread House is scheduled for October and November. We’ve also completed the renovation of our main reception area and in partnership with Telus have a new cell antenna on our roof to help boost cellular coverage throughout the valley.

In June our Board and senior team completed a strategic planning session and we are finalizing a 3-year strategic plan. We will continue with our focus on the prevention of domestic violence programming and services and will grow in the areas of sexual violence prevention and healthy relationships. Other key strategic priorities include expanding housing options for women and families; increased support for immigrants and foreign workers; and leadership development.

Many of our members have asked for more information about gender equality and issues pertaining to the rights of women and girls. In this issue we have shared an article responding to the recent negative social media campaign called Women Against Feminism. I strongly encourage readers to go to our Facebook page (YWCA Banff Programs and Services) where we regularly post articles from YWCA Canada, Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters and various other print and on-line publications.

On behalf of the YWCA team, I would like to thank everyone in the community who has participated in an event, made a donation or cheered us on over the past year. The support has been immense. For those who are interested, our 2013/14 Annual Report provides more detail about our programs, services, residence, social enterprise, finances and operations. I hope you will take some time to review it.

On a personal note, it has been a pleasure to join the YWCA. The energy, efforts and integrity of our team both at the local and national level has been inspiring. 2014/2015 continues to build on last year and we are starting to achieve the stability that will help us to reach our goals for the future and to empower women and our community.