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East Coast Cool: CYCC Knowledge Mobilization Simulation DAY 1

March 10, 2013

Day 1

After getting up at 5 and a quick drive, bleary-eyed into the airport I went. My flight was delayed by 40 minutes because a connecting flight was late, and WestJet didn’t want to strand the 15 people who were expecting to carry on to Halifax, which was nice of them! I was just happy to be flying out! Well, and it’s really hard to be upset with Mama Smrke’s homemade granola packed in a lunchbag for your breakfast and Nana’s potica packed for snacks.

While I was waiting at the airport, I did a little more reading about what I’ll be getting into this weekend. I’m attending the first-ever Knowledge Mobilization Simulation (well, that we know of, anyways) hosted by the CYCC Network. CYCC stands for Canadian Youth in Challenging Contexts and it is a network of academic researchers (all over Canada and beyond) and community organizations anchored in the Dalhousie Resilience Research Centre. The CYCC aims to find the best practices globally for working with youth (with the goal of improving mental health of ‘vulnerable’ or ‘at-risk’ youth) and to share them in such a way that people will actually be able to use them. But how do you do this? How do you put knowledge into action? That’s what the Knowledge Mobilization Simulation is all about – developing best practices for sharing and using knowledge. Using simulations (acting out scenarios together – like a play that’s being written by the actors in real time) will be key to this – to creating a space where different people can try and fail without the associated risks of real life.

I was greeted at the airport by Amber, the CYCC administrator, and Jimmy, one of the other ‘youth’ participants. Amber bought me a tea (I rolled up the rim, but lost) and we all started talking. We also discovered that we have the same sense of humour. Amber also told me a little more about all the wonderful people who will be at the simulation. There should be around 65 people, 5 of which are ‘youth’ like me. Researchers are coming from Oxford and Brighton, community organizations from Portugal, Toronto and beyond. Government representatives from as far as Nunavut are coming too. Romeo Dallaire should be able to come for part of Monday.

After quick jaunt in Amber’s car (and some almost-running-out-of-gas anxiety – apparently it’s harder to find a diesel pump in Nova Scotia than one might think), we were at ‘The Chicken Burger’, an institution in Bedford, NS that’s been operating for 75 years. Obviously, I ordered a chicken burger (and got one – real pieces of chicken, on a soft bun with mayo & cranberry sauce. Even the fast food is charming here!).

Chicken Burger restaurant, image from East Coast Travels

We met up with Catherine, the assistant administrator (and a beacon of East Coast hospitality), Isabelle from WUSC and Yves, another of the youth participants. After a nice lunch, we headed to a Wal-mart because some really irresponsible person in our party (let’s say her name rhymes with Rhianna Turk) forgot her headphones. Along the way, Catherine (who grew up in the area; her uncle designed the high school) told us all about the town and the recent incursion of the big-box stores, which are great for some things and really damaging in other respects.

Then, we were off to The Altantica Oak Island Resort(yes! It’s that Oak Island! The Money Pit is here! I really want to go and see it if I have time! For those of you who aren’t aware, there is supposedly over two million pounds of gold buried in the Pit, but after 200 years of failed excavations, the Pit itself has a rich history!). We’re staying at the Altantica Resort on Oak Island.

I decided to go exploring to clear my head after all the travelling. I took my new camera with me! I walked along the main drag (or one of the main drags) of Chester and took in a bit of the town. I spent some time (and funds) in the local second-hand store, inquired about the quirky name of the local bulk food store Jenmilval’s (spoiler: it’s the name of the owner and her two daughters all squished together). I walked down to a pier as well with neon crates.

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Then I was back at the hotel. But not before running into a lovely British woman who was looking for a place to buy yogurt (imagine someone saying yogurt in a British accent). I couldn’t help her, but over our conversation we realized we were both here for the simulation. I was face to face with the ‘internationality’ of the conference.

I then finally got a chance to meet my roommate, Alicia (Ali-see-a), a real-life mental health superhero (here’s her TEDx talk). She’s wonderful and we had a lot to talk about.

At dinner I sat with Alison (the Network Manager of the CYCC), Yves and Sylvia, a researcher with SOS Children’s Villages who came all the way from Austria. She was commenting that the houses in Nova Scotia look like a child just kind of plopped them down. Where she’s from, houses are built from stone, built to last – “How do they survive in these houses?” she asked. It was pretty funny. We had a nice conversation. Alison’s from Pugwash, Nova Scotia, and was telling us about her experiences in this town of 120, being the daughter of the only doctor around.

After dinner, we had an orientation session for all the youth participants to get us up to speed on what the CYCC was all about (I talked about this in the beginning paragraphs to get you up to speed as soon as possible!) and how we were expected to contribute to the knowledge mobilization simulation. I met the remaining two youth participants – Angel, a 17-year-old from Windsor and Egan, a 15-year-old Nova Scotian who was born in Gambia. The group has a really good dynamic. We shifted between discussing what makes a positive learning experience and internet dance memes, knowledge mobilization and 7 am gym times (yours truly volunteered to meet Egan tomorrow morning in a moment of mental weakness).

So now, with that 7 am gym time in mind (and the springing forward business), I’ll sign off.

Till tomorrow!


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Christina permalink
    March 10, 2013 4:34 pm

    Ah, gotta love the East Coast! Hope you continue to have an amazing experience

  2. March 11, 2013 1:59 am

    You are awesome! 😀

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