NSSSA Minutes from:
Provincial Cabinet Meeting
Location: Acadia University
Time of Commencement: 2:17
Time of Adjournment: 5:32
Duration: 3hr 15min
Attendance and Regrets:
Present voting members: Aidan MacFarlane, Amy Oickle, Brooke Kattenbusch, Camryn Smith, Chloe Dean-Moore, Christina Nickerson, Eliza Nobes, Emma Hogenbom, Gabrielle Torrealba, Kassandra Kelbratowski, Katelyn Libbus, Liam Haliburton, Mitchell Archibald, Molly Anderson, Molly Somers, Patrick Wallace, Selena Landry, Zac Foran
Present non-voting members: John Robertson, Lorne Abramson, Maggie MacNeil
Regrets: Beth O’Connell, Connor Poirier, Dereck Thibault, Gordon Burns, Haeley Langlois, Kayla Jenkin, Meagan Kettley, Micci Davy, Tatum Arcon
President: In the past month Molly has been working with external organizations in order to find new opportunities for the NSSSA. These include Unity, Rotary, CAST, and the Department of Education. She has also been communicating with Ian Kent of the Alumni Association in regards to goals for the coming year, where the NSSSA’s alumni fees are going, and assessing the number of alumni the NSSSA has, against the number that are active within the Alumni Association. Molly was informed that the money being received is not being actively used, but the organization will send financial statements outlining this that will be reviewed by Provincial Cabinet at a later date. There is debate surrounding whether the Alumni Association received the cheques sent to them from last year as they have not yet been cashed.
Mount St. Vincent University has been contacted to inform them of the status on the former MOU held with them, and it is determined that the contract is no longer valid.
Molly has been helping Co-Premiers and Inclusion Co-Chairs with issues surrounding forms and participated in some of the check-ins held by Katelyn as well as the Head School Rep Coordinator to begin establishing a formal job description for this potential position.
VP External: Liam has been working with Dereck to create a social media plan to be implemented within this year. The purpose of this is to create order and consistency within the NSSSA’s social media presence. The 2016-2017 Social Media plan is discussed in greater detail later in the minutes.
VP Internal: Katelyn has been holding check-ins with Co-Premiers on a more regular schedule. She has helped in the editing of conference forms for CBV, Chignecto, Metro, and Sou’West as well as attended Strait’s Grade 9 event. She has also organized the collection of updates from all positions for this Provincial Cabinet meeting.
Provincial Advisor: Chignecto and CBV Co-Premiers have contacted Abe asking for a certificate of liability for their conference venues. This is often overlooked by regions unless their venue specifically asks for them, but it could be beneficial for each region to have their liability certificates on hand. These would include the date and hours of the event, the approximate number of students and advisors/chaps/alumni in attendance, name, address, and phone number, as well as the email address of the contact of the venue. Co-Premiers should inform Abe if they are interested in receiving a certificate.
Treasurers: In the past month, Chloe and Eliza have updated the signing rights, began reviewing Regional Cabinet budgets, and have paid for the August Cabinet and Committee retreat. The invoice from St. FX was approximately $3,700 which is below the determined budget for the event.
On Thursday the treasurers met with Chris to start working on the quarter’s HST filing.
With conference season approaching, Chloe and Eliza will begin to hold check-ins with Co-Premiers to discuss their budgets and help with any questions. All regions must remember to send in their budgets frequently, regardless if there is missing information, as there is no way for Chloe and Eliza to help Co-Premiers stay on budget if they cannot see their planning.
Secretary: In the past month, Molly has been exchanging many emails with Steve from First Choice Sportswear to sort out Spirit Wear for Provincial Cabinet. She met with him in person to view a sample of the jackets, and has been gathering sizes and payments from cabinet members throughout the month. An order will be placed shortly after the meeting.
CC Co-Chairs: Since the last meeting, CC set up a Basecamp for the use of the committee, having all positions create a timeline a ‘to-do’ list as well as specific tasks. Spirit wear style and colour was selected and desired sizes have been collected. Payment will be due at the next meeting so the order can be sent to First Choice Sportswear. Conference Committee has discussed the
option of holding a small concert or performance as part of Provincial Conference, and will be discussed further when there is a more detailed budget and itinerary.
Kassandra and Aidan will be holding a meeting at St. FX with the previous year’s Conference Committee to debrief and discuss any changes that could be implemented for the coming year, such as the topic of How-Tos and free time during conference.
Aidan discussed a photography opportunity for both Regional and Provincial conferences after speaking with a drone photographer, who would be willing to take aerial shots of events for a quote of $200.
IC Co-Chairs: IC has confirmed the name for conference to be R.O.O.T.S (Realistically Overcoming Obstacles To Succeed), as well as contacted Auburn Drive High School regarding using the school as the conference venue. The Committee is currently waiting for a statement in return.
Committee spirit wear has been determined as antique cherry red crewnecks. The committee is debating, however whether they should hold back on ordering these until finding a Head First Aid.
A new Delegate Assistant form has been created for use in all conferences outside of IC. Metro is the only cabinet to take this opportunity yet, and while It is not mandatory it would be incredibly helpful for regions to incorporate this form into their conferences. The purpose is to allow students with special needs the option to request for a delegate assistant at regional conferences. In many cases a member of IC would be more than happy to act as this Delegate Assistant.
It is suggested that IC looks into finding outside First Aid for conference. It would be far more beneficial to have professionals rather than people with basic first aid training in the case of anything going wrong. James Grant is a local paramedic who would have good contact information for this.
Gala Co-Chairs: Gordon and Meagan have met with representatives of Dalhousie to discuss the option of hosting Gala in Sheriff Hall. This meeting went well and the Co-Chairs later received an email with details regarding the event and costs. Dalhousie is offering to reduce the price by having the NSSSA pay only for food and not the venue. However, the only date they offered was the weekend prior to Provincial Conference, which isn’t ideal. Gordon and Meagan plan on contacting the university again to inquire about any available dates in June.
Chignecto Co-Premiers: Chignecto has been focusing greatly on their upcoming Junior Conference. Forms have been approved and are awaiting publishing on the website before the cabinet begins promotion and mailing. The Regional Cabinet has decided that in place of a keynote speaker, the Junior Conference will feature a hypnotist, who has offered a discounted price. A contract will be signed with him in the coming weeks.
Chignecto Regional Cabinet has been officially completed with the addition of a Regional Advisor, Beth Smith.
CBV Co-Premiers: With five weeks before conference, CBV has signed a venue contract with Cape Breton University as well as discussed a grant, released all conference forms, arranged a deal with Subway for meals, contacted organizations regarding their career fair, and negotiated prices with a keynote speaker. CBV has also arranged for presentations within most secondary school in the area and recorded a radio interview with a local station. A meeting will take place with a supplier for RC sweaters in the coming weeks.
Metro Co-Premiers: Brooke and Gabrielle have held a meeting with Mount St. Vincent University to confirm locations for conference and its events, as well as began to draft an itinerary and budget. They have contacted Bell to discuss headsets and walkie-talkies for logistics, chaps, and cabinet members, spoken with various potential speakers, and briefly emailed with a member of the Department of Education, which will be discussed later in the minutes.
Sou’West Co-Premiers: The Junior Conference date and Skillbuilding Retreat dates are confirmed as November 12th (1pm-7pm) and October 30th (1pm-4pm). Forms were approved and released to the website. The forms for Skillbuilding are now closed and the selection process has begun.
RC has ordered their spirit wear and began discussing with First Choice Sportswear regarding t-shirts for the conference, receiving a quote of $10 per shirt with their finished 5 colour logo.
Meals have been confirmed for conference, EPIC has been planned, and itinerary has been completed.
Sou’West has been in contact with Jacob Lingley of Brilliant Labs regarding speaking at conference, who is unable to attend Regional Conference, but is interested in appearing at Provincial Conference. John will also send contact information for Sarah Ryan, the Brilliant Labs Nova Scotia representative.
Also, a new Head Chap has been selected after the previous resigned.
Strait Co-Premiers: Strait has held multiple Regional Cabinet meetings since the previous PC meeting, as well as held a successful Grade 9 event with an approximate 60% profit. Everything has been payed for excluding janitorial fees. Two students arrived at the event who were not registered in the database and without an advisor from their school. In future instances anyone under this situation would need to be declined access to the event. Without proper recognition of an advisor from the school’s principal, NSSSA rules are being ignored.
Strait Co-Premiers have held a meeting with St. FX to discuss printing of promotional items for conference, which the university will be covering the cost of. They will also be meeting with their regional conference’s keynote speaker. Forms have been released for regional conference, L.I.F.T. U.P. 2016, and the region is currently working on forming a sponsorship for the event. Current donation total for the region is approximately $1425.
Valley Co-Premiers: Emma and Kayla have been contacting venues and have confirmed their Junior Conference venue as Central Kings Rural High School. They will be meeting with administration in the coming week in order to sign on a contract. Forms will be released promptly for the junior conference and the skill building manuel has been completed. First draft of budget is nearly complete and a new advisor is being contacted.
Media Relations: Selena has been working closely with Dereck to organize the NSSSA newsletter, which is now operational, but has lost all previous subscribers from previous years. She has also begun contacting local businesses regarding media releases. There has so far been an interview in Strait with 101.5 The Hawk, and a session will be arranged with stfx.ca as well as the Casket Newspaper. These will be sorted by Strait Region Public Relations. As well, an interview will be held in Metro with 101.3 Virgin Radio to promote their upcoming regional conference. No other regions have contacted Selena with other information on media opportunities.
Head School Rep Coordinator: Mitchell has been spending the past month working with Head School Reps to assist in contacting some of the more difficult to reach schools in their regions. He will soon begin to help as well with promotion of any upcoming regional conferences, and will be providing them with a set presentation for staff of schools. This comes after their current discussion of presentation goals and ideas.
Mitchell has also been in contact with the president to discuss logistics of keeping this position as a permanent addition to Provincial Cabinet as well as been in contact with the Youth Project on the topic of gender neutral sleeping, which will be elaborated upon later in the minutes.
Past President: Since training retreat, Maggie has been a liaison between St. FX and the Finance team. She has been receiving receipts and invoices from the university for the costs of retreat, and has been sending them to Chloe and Eliza. She has also held a meeting with Molly to answer any questions she may have as well as discussed ideas on proper documentation and monitoring of the HSRC position. She plans on talking with Mitchell about this position much more in the coming weeks. Maggie stresses that anyone on PC with any questions should feel free to come to her for any advice she can offer.
Changing Venues – The option of looking into alternate venues from what have been used in previous years could act as a large cost reduction for the NSSSA. Many universities would be eager to hold an NSSSA conference as it acts as a strong promotional tool for themselves. This could convince them to give lower rates to the organization. If the NSSSA were able to pay less for a venue, it would result in a lower application fee, and ultimately a higher attendance at conferences. While the NSSSA as an organization maintains a good relationship with St. FX, this year is the last of the contracted three with the university. It is suggested that some relationships like this be maintained, but the organization should not be opposed to reviewing offers from other potential venues. It is under the control of Provincial Cabinet to determine whether it would be most beneficial to switch main venues and, if any, possible additions to what is asked for or requested of these venues. This year, it would be beneficial to review the current proposal from St. FX and discuss possible cost reductions as well as the databases including past venues, their costs, and the number of students in attendance for some comparisons to the last couple of years.
Rotary Club – Rotary is the oldest acting service organization in the world, and works heavily on international and local projects that focus on youth and leadership development. This could be an incredibly beneficial pairing with the NSSSA. The main factor of Rotary that could be interconnected with the NSSSA would be the Interact Club. This is a constituted rotary club within high schools, including one at Citadel which could be interesting to bring into Metro regionals to speak with students about how they can get involved. Rotary fundraises hundreds to thousands of dollars and gives it back to community organizations. Being affiliated with them could easily bring us donations which would be of incredible assistance to the organization. There are rotary clubs all over the province, so all of the regions should look into their local branches. John and Molly will discuss this opportunity further.
Budgeting – Everyone should keep in mind that their first budget will have empty spaces. It is better to send in a bad budget for review than no budget at all. All invoices and deposit slips (carbon copy) must be sent to Chloe and Eliza for review in order to insure the banking of all regions is accurate and stable. The budgets can all prove to be helpful to incoming co-premiers next year, regardless of how messy they appear currently.
If there is a case of someone not attending conference, but it is past the refund date, do not take their payment out of the budget as they still count towards the conference’s revenue.
Co-Premiers should try to gather information on the logistics of how the venue is charging for food (if they are providing). The venue could be charging via a head count in meal hall, or just by the number of people registered for conference. This is important to know for the region’s budget. A final budget should be sent to Chloe and Eliza as soon as possible after an event (within a month).
If a region receives a NSF cheque (the cheque bounces), a notice will go to Abe. Co-premiers are responsible for contacting the writer of the cheque to inform them by phone immediately, and then they will be required to send a replacement cheque with an additional fee of $10. The organization is also charged a $7 fee.
Financial Statement – The financial statement from last fiscal year needs to be approved by the Provincial Cabinet before it can be sent to the NRA. It is necessary to send this to receive money withheld from the organization by the CRA. The statement outlines all monetary activity done by the NSSSA, including costs, revenues, etc. The NSSSA currently holds $118 000 in the bank, which is in comparison to the $113 000 of two years ago. All costs decreased apart from the money spent on food, which doubled from previous years.
There was an overall profit of $11 000, which is a good sign of proper registration fees and budgeting. Any profit between $10 000 and $15 000 is a good range.
Chloe motions for the approval of the 2015-2016 Financial Statement.
Zac Seconds this motion.
18 in favour, unanimous, motion is passed.
Social Media Plan – The suggested social media plan outlines the uses of different accounts belonging to the NSSSA. It determines that there will be;
- One Instagram account to be used by all regions.
- One main NSSSA Facebook page along with separate pages for each region, IC, and CC. Any events must be created within these pages.
- Individual Twitter accounts for each region, IC, and CC.
- One official NSSSA Snapchat account to be used only at Provincial Conference due to lack of content at regional conferences.
Liam motions to pass the official Social Media Plan of the NSSSA for 2016-2017.
It is suggested that there is actually enough content at regional events to warrant individual Snapchat accounts. The problem could actually be too much content. This argument comes from the issue of conferences overlapping, and not being able to be distinguished from one another. This can be remedied by using hashtags, geofilters, or captions to determine which conference is which. It is thought to be interesting to see what is occurring in different regions.
Snapchat is not used to interact back and forth with the public. It is very one-sided. Anyone who is following NSSSA on Snapchat is already committed to the organization so it doesn’t act as a great promotional tool. This being said, it may not attract interest, but it holds the interest of anyone connected. Seeing frequent stories of NSSSA events keeps people excited and reminds them of any upcoming conferences that they may want to attend.
On instagram, the account should continue to follow students and businesses only, as it attracts students to follow the account and learn more about conference.
Potential new ways to promote the NSSSA would be to have a budget solely for promotion. This money would go towards paying for ads to be put up on Facebook, physical merchandise (such as pens, pencils, buttons, bracelets), etc.
Amendments: There will be one Snapchat account to be used at Provincial Conference, Inclusion Conference, and all Regional High School Conferences.
Liam motions to implement the amended version of the official Social Media Plan of the NSSSA for 2016-2017.
Chloe seconds this motion.
18 in favour. Unanimous. Amended motion passed.
Gender Neutral Sleeping Arrangements – After extensive research, there is nothing to be found on the internet pertaining to gendered sleeping arrangements within the school board. Mitchell contacted the Youth Project to discuss this issue. Their main suggestion was to not include a gender on registration forms at all, so that there either no, or random selection for rooming. There would be a very large room with one wall for only males, one for only females, and the middle would be a congregation of whoever wants to be there. This would allow for people to have their own choice if they are uncomfortable sleeping co-ed. This could prove an issue in venues where there is not enough space, as well as if there are individuals who do not feel comfortable sleeping in a room at all with another gender.
The second option would be to have three rooms, with the same layout as the previous option. This could also prove difficult for smaller venues.
It is impossible to find a perfect solution to this discussion as there will always be conflict between who is uncomfortable. It depends highly on where you are from and how open minded parents, community, and delegates are when it comes to this issue.
The Provincial Cabinet believes it best to keep the ‘male’ and ‘female’ rooms, but to make it clear to all parties that it is perfectly acceptable to choose to sleep wherever they feel most comfortable. It should be made clear to Chaps that the choice of delegates should not be questioned and should be taken seriously. Chaps may require slightly different training than in the past in order for this to work, and while it may not be the perfect solution, it is definitely a step in the right direction.
CAST – Molly has been contacted by CAST (Communities Addressing Suicide Together) to discuss the opportunity of giving a presentation at conference in the form of How-Tos. This would be a good option for Public Relations of each region to discuss and possibly reach out to. Molly will send an email pertaining to this to each region.
Department of Education – A representative of the Department of Education has contacted each region, looking to be involved in conferences by asking students six predetermined questions surrounding their education. This could be an incredibly beneficial link between the NSSSA and Nova Scotia schools. Each region should discuss within themselves how to incorporate her into their conference, but she should be invited to as many events as possible.
Some ideas on how to work her into conference could be to have the Department of Education as a How-To session, an optional conference event (similar to the AGM), or to have a voluntary focus group during lunch. Regions should send Molly their discussions for further input.
Motion to adjourn: Molly motions to adjourn the meeting. Zac seconds.
Date for Next Meeting: November 5th, St. FX University