The 3rd Annual Gathering of Alberta Co-operatives was held in Red Deer Alberta on November 14 and 15.  Despite the frigid weather, it was an opportunity for Albertan co-operators to share best practices and enjoy themselves!

The Gathering kicked off with some shared personal experiences on the ACCA 2014 UK Study Tour.

Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada Executive Director, Denyse Guy, made a presentation about how inter-co-operation is central to an active co-operative movement by highlighting more than a dozen examples of how co-ops are working together in Canada.  Local examples of how co-operatives are exercising the 6th principle, co-operation among co-ops, were then explored by a panel discussion.

The focus of the afternoon session was to discuss the importance of developing a brand that builds co-op identity.  Examples from Federated Co-operatives Ltd., MEC, UFA and Connect First Credit Union were presented.  The first day of the Gathering closed with a look at ACCA’s Co-operative Youth Leadership Program.

In the evening, at the Co-operative Leadership Awards Gala, Bill Dobson, a former CMC Vice-president and Dan Ohler both received Co-operative Visionary Leadership Awards. Bill Lee and Dave Felstad were honored with Co-operative Merit Awards. The Inspiring Young Co-operators Award was presented Shell Employees’ Credit Union.

My Dog Sam, fronted by the Executive Director of ACCA, Michele Aasgard, provided the rocking entertainment that evening.

Day 2 opened with a diverse panel on youth in the co-op movement at home and abroad followed by presentations from emerging leaders.  A rapid fire series of PECHA KUCHA (Japanese chit-chats) followed and ranged in topics from CSR to co-op education to “co-op” being a four letter word.

Ken Eshpeter of Battle River Railway closed the gathering with some great story telling and singing.

Sadly, the following week Glenn Nicol, who attended and presented at the Gathering, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.  Glenn had a long history in the wireless communication and energy industry and will be missed by the co-operative community in Alberta for his vision, passion and energy.