As noted at a previous post, on Oct. 22, 2016 I’ll be presenting a workshop at the CSA 25 Anniversary Conference. The workshop is entitled “Canadian Stuttering Association – Then & Now: How the CSA Responds to Changing Needs.”
A blurb for my Oct 22, 2016 workshop reads:
“The emergence of national associations for people who stutter can be described as a form of community self-organizing. Jaan will describe the needs that led to the forming of the CSA and participants can explore how community organizations grow and change in response to changing needs.”
The concept of community self-organizing has been a central focus in my volunteer work in recent years. It entails people coming together to represent their own interests.
What needs led to the forming of the CSA? I would say the key need was for people who stutter to represent their own interests, instead of remaining silent and depending on others to speak on their behalf.
How do community organizations grow and change in response to changing needs?
A key part of the approach to governance, that many of us working together in the early years developed, is based upon four principles, which have become part of the built-in culture of the Canadian Stuttering Association. The following lost is not in order of importance. All four principles are equally important, and are part of the culture of the organization.
Leadership succession is a key principle.
We have fixed terms of office for the national coordinator. In that way, the leadership of the organization is constantly renewed.
A second key principle is the concept of continuous improvement. We seek to work with all of our members, on a regular basis, to update our strategic plan and to follow through with the streps required to achieve each of our limited, finite number of strategic goals.
A third key principle is the concept of ownership. The organization belongs to all of its members. Input from every source is welcomed, and is sought. The members have a sense of ownership of the decision-making process. Anybody can step forward and begin to find a place in the decision-making structure.
Impartial forum for sharing of information
The fourth principle is that we provide an impartial forum for the sharing of information. We do not, as an organization, tell any person who stutters how they should go about dealing with the fact they stutter. We are here to share information. We are not here to promote a particular way of thinking, or strategy, with regard to how to address stuttering.
Speaking notes – August 2001 Calgary keynote presentation
In the event you would like to read such a document, the speaking notes for a keynote presentation by Jaan Pill at a CSA conference in Calgary can be accessed here:
Presentations along similar themes were delivered at two international events in those years. One keynote was at a world congress, which took place in Ghent, Belgium in the 1990s, of the International Stuttering Association. Another keynote was a world congress of the International Fluency Association, in Montreal in the early 2000s.
In the early years I was also responsible for media relations on behalf of CSA. We had many national and international media interviews, on TV, radio, and in newspapers. Much of what I know about media work I learned in those years.