Article originally published on South Shore NOW, Everything you need to know about Nova Scotia's South Shore ...
MAHONE BAY - Leaders from across Lunenburg County gathered at the Mahone Bay Centre last week to learn more about initiatives happening in the area.
The event, hosted by Now Lunenburg County, highlighted 16 projects based on topics ranging from entrepreneurship, to education, youth engagement, politics and more.
"This is a new way of approaching project work and bringing about change," said Elspeth McLean-Wile, one of Now Lunenburg County's founding members.
Last week's event was a follow up to Now Lunenburg County's launch event in May, where community members from across sectors were invited to a public forum to discuss the challenges facing the area and take action.
The Now Lunenburg County initiative was inspired by the Ivany Report, which encouraged Nova Scotians to take the lead on change they want to see happen. A variety of initiatives were brought forward during the May event. Some were already in the works, and others were being presented for the first time.
Some of those included municipal government re-imagined, university and Lunenburg County partnerships, the Ross Farm Museum Heritage Learning Centre, and a community investment fund.
"In the room were a lot of people that saw a positive future, believed that we could change and that we as individuals could lead action here," said Ms McLean-Wile.
Now Lunenburg County held events throughout the summer to keep project leaders and the broader community updated on the development of some initiatives.
To date, the funding for Now Lunenburg County has been provided by private sources such as members of group's core team and their businesses. These include Wile's Lake Farm Market & Bakery, Belliveau Veinotte Inc., Lighthouse Media Group, Tim Merry and the Lunenburg County Community Fund.
The group doesn't provide funding for the individual projects; however, it's offering a different approach to getting things done. Every month, project leaders meet to connect, problem-solve and engage others with their work. The idea is to connect them with like-minded people who will help them reach their goals.
Last week, project leaders presented what they've developed since May and got feedback from the community on where to go to next.
"This is about the community deciding what should happen," said Ms McLean-Wile.
She adds that anyone with an idea is welcome to come forward and participate with Now Lunenburg County.
About 130 people from across the county attended the October 15 event, which Ms McLean-Wile said was very encouraging.
"I like how everyone really got to give their input and how there was such a range of different ages here," said Skylar Barkhouse, a junior high student at Bayview Community School.
The age of participants ranged from about 13 to 80 years old.
"It's just bringing the whole county together," she said.
Riley Whynot, another Bayview student who took part in the event, was happy to give feedback on the projects.
"I thought it was good to [give] our input into it, so that people know what the youth think," she said.
During the event, visitors had the opportunity to connect with projects in small groups and share their thoughts.
Dan O'Rourke was one of the project leaders presenting on behalf of a provincewide organization called Engage Nova Scotia. Part of his role at the event was to figure out how to connect the work happening in Lunenburg County with the rest of the province.
Mr. O'Rourke, who also worked on the Ivany Report, told Now Lunenburg County participants that they were "the vanguard of awesome." He added that the group's work was attracting attention from other people in the province.
Now Lunenburg County's next major event is scheduled for April 14. For more information visit http://www.nowlunenburgcounty.com.
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