Frequently Asked Questions

General

Who administers the program?
Which universities are partnering in this program and who are the primary contacts?
How many fellowships will be granted this year?
Is this an internship?

Eligibility

Who is eligible to apply?
I'm currently studying part- time. Am I eligible to apply?
I intend to submit my thesis for a deadline prior to the start of the fellowship, but notification of graduation by my university could take some months after that. Am I still eligible?
How do you define "Full- Time"?
I am not able to speak the language of the community with which I have a connection. Am I eligible to apply?
I am currently doing graduate studies and I would like this fellowship to contribute towards my thesis. Can I do this?
Define "community"?
Can the community with which I have a connection be in Canada, or does it have to be internationally?
I have heard of a project overseas being organized by a faculty and/or professor and would like to get involved. How do I know if this project qualifies for the fellowship?
I would like to apply with a friend. Is this possible?
Define "idea" or "concept" and are there any restrictions?
I have an idea of what I would like to do, but I don't know how to develop a complete project proposal with details of budget, evaluation, resources, etc. What should I do?
Do I need a local partner?

Application & Selection

How can I apply and when is the deadline?
How do I prove that I am in good academic standing?
Can one candidate submit more than one application?
Is there an application fee?
I have difficulty with English. Can I still apply?
What if I have a disability?
There is nowhere in the application where I can specify budget details. Will budget allocation be determined during the interview process, or are these estimated from details I provide in my application?
What are the questions asked of references?
What factors are considered in the evaluation of my application?
When will I know if my application is successful?
What will Selection Day consist of?
Who sits on the Selection Committee?

Program- specific

What is the value of the fellowship, what costs will be covered and how will I receive the funds?
What are the tax implications of the fellowship?
What are on- campus accommodations like?
Does Coady have computers available for fellows? Is WiFi available?
What is the food like on campus?
Can I cook my own meals whilst on campus?
Can I work on the fellowship part- time? Can I hold another job during the fellowship?
What do you mean by "sustainable"?
What support will I receive from Coady?
What is the "Coady approach" to development?
To what extent does Coady Institute "shape" fellows' initiative plans, and what role does Coady play in fellows' communities?
What does the personal coaching entail?
What happens if I realize I need to alter my budget or activities or goals when I am in the field?
Will my fellowship be evaluated and continue to be monitored after I leave?
How long is the fellowship?
Can I take a vacation during my fellowship?
If the community ends up with profits and assets, or if materials are purchased with the fellowship funds, what do we do with these when I leave? 
While in the field, do fellows have any other responsibilities?
What are fellows expected to do following the completion of the fellowship?
Who do I contact if I have questions or want some advice?
 

Questions Collated Q&A from Facebook Page

General


Who administers the program?

The Coady International Institute administers all aspects of the program. Coady will facilitate all education, training and support throughout the program and, along with the contact person at your university (see below), will be the point of contact for questions and guidance during the application stage. Please address all questions to either the Coady Youth Leadership Programs Manager (coadyyouth@stfx.ca) or to your university's contact.

Which universities are partnering in this program and who are the primary contacts?

There are currently four participating partner universities:

McGill University (Internship Offices Network (ION))

Anne Turner, Faculty of Arts Internship Manager
Phone: 514- 398- 2916
Email: anne.turner@mcgill.ca

Laura Di Maio, Internship Coordinator, ION
Phone: 514- 398- 4400 etx. 089688
Email: ion@mcgill.ca

Queen's University (Queen's University International Centre (QUIC))

Cathy Lemmon, International Programs Advisor, (QUIC)
87 Union Street - John Deutsch University Centre
Phone: 613- 533- 6000 ext. 74650
Email: cathy.lemmon@queensu.ca

University of Ottawa (Michaelle Jean Centre for Global and Community Engagement)

Stéphane Sophie Cardinal, Director, CGCE
Phone: 613- 562- 5800 ext. 1699
Email: scardina@uottawa.ca

St. Francis Xavier University (Service Learning Program)

Megan Turner, Program Manager    
Phone: 902- 867- 2563
Email: mpturner@stfx.ca

How many fellowships will be granted this year?

Up to twelve fellowships will be awarded. However, fellowships will be awarded only if applications meet eligibility criteria and are sufficiently strong.

Is this an internship?

The program is not an internship, nor may a candidate apply for the program with a specific internship position in mind. Rather, the program aims to empower fellows to develop their own ideas or to provide a new and innovative element to an existing initiative or organization.

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Eligibility


Who is eligible to apply?

Fellowships are awarded to Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents who are graduating full- time students under 30 years of age, from one of the partner universities - McGill, uOttawa, Queen's or StFX. For the upcoming cohort, you must be a full- time undergraduate (Bachelor or Diploma) or Masters final year student who will graduate in the Fall, Winter or Spring/Summer BEFORE the fellowship begins. If you have already finished your studies (before Fall of the current year) you are not eligible to apply, nor are you eligible if your studies are not complete by the start date of the fellowship.


I'm currently studying part- time. Am I eligible to apply?

For the current cohort, only full- time students are eligible to apply to the OceanPath fellowship. This criterion will be reviewed between each cohort, so if you are not graduating this year check back here to see if this criterion will apply when you graduate.


I intend to submit my thesis for a deadline prior to the start of the fellowship, but notification of graduation by my university could take some months after that. Am I still eligible?

You may still be eligible, depending on your individual circumstances. We recommend emailing your university contact, and also suggest that the person you select to be your academic reference should be able to speak to the likelihood that you'll successfully graduate as expected.


How do you define "Full- Time"?

We would consider you eligible as a full- time student if over the course of your studies you have been primarily engaged with your studies (eg. if you have been a full- time student but are currently only taking three or four courses to complete your degree you would be eligible).

I am not able to speak the language of the community with which I have a connection. Am I eligible to apply?

It is not mandatory to speak the language to apply. However, applicants who do speak or display a strong willingness and plan to learn the language spoken in the community will have an advantage. You must definitely be able to demonstrate strong communication skills in order to effectively connect with community members and/or local partners. You will be required to integrate into the community and therefore must indicate that you will not be disadvantaged by the language barrier. Translators/interpreters can also be used if necessary, the costs of which would come out of your funding.

I am currently doing graduate studies and I would like this fellowship to contribute towards my thesis. Can I do this?

The fellowship is not intended to be used as research funding for students, and is not open to PhD students, nor to current students at any level. The experience of the program can relate to a fellow's research topic and can certainly contribute to subsequent further studies following the fellowship. However, the intention of the fellowship is to focus on catalyzing action- based social change in a community and not on academic research.

Define "community"?

A community can be a geographic community (whether in your home town or elsewhere in Canada, or anywhere in the world) or it can be a group of people sharing a particular common characteristic or interest (eg. Deaf community). The connection can be with an individual, a group of individuals or with an organization in the community.

Can the community with which I have a connection be in Canada, or does it have to be internationally?

Anywhere in the world! In Canada or overseas, except areas for which Global Affairs Canada has issued an 'Avoid non- essential travel' advisory. If you're unsure about the status of the country where your community is situated, please consult https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories.

I have heard of an initiative overseas being organized by a faculty member at my university and I would like to get involved. How do I know if this initiative qualifies for the fellowship?

This initiative may qualify only if you are the one proposing and guiding your idea or if the initiative is being developed by individuals or organizations within the community and for which you have an innovative idea that will contribute to it; it cannot be an internship position proposed by the faculty, professor and/or community partner. The first step is to define the objective of your involvement and the desire for it from the community partner. We encourage you to discuss your ideas with the faculty/staff involved and to consult with the local partner(s) to ensure your idea would be sustainable and beneficial to everyone involved.

I would like to apply with a friend. Is this possible?

Yes - joint applications from a maximum of two people are able to be considered, as long as both candidates are graduating students from one of the partner universities and meet all other eligibility criteria. However, it will be considered a joint idea and you would only receive one fellowship award. When you are considering applying with a friend, it is recommended that you take into consideration (and write into your application) what would happen should one of the two applicants pull out during application stage or at any point during the fellowship.

Those submitting joint applications should complete two separate applications, one for each applicant, as the majority of the application will be different for each applicant. But both applicants should specify that it is a joint application, providing details of each other. Also in each application provide details of your response if one of you is accepted for a fellowship and the other is not.

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Define "idea" or "concept" and are there any restrictions?

The idea should be focused and can either be an original concept or build upon an existing initiative or organization, as long as it offers a novel idea with tangible positive results feasibly achievable within the available time and budget.

Ideas can be based in any discipline or area of interest. We encourage you to be creative and innovative with your concept, as long as it is feasible and sustainable and comes about as a result of a meaningful connection with the community.

A fellowship is neither a research fellowship nor a research grant. However, fellows may conduct research that would contribute to the success of their action- based ideas. If a fellow plans to conduct research which involves human subjects, and with the intention to publish or present findings, they will require Research Ethics Board (REB) approval from StFX university. This will be covered during the initial on- campus learning component of the fellowship. As REB approval may not be forthcoming, the application must not rely on this aspect.

I have an idea of what I would like to do, but I don't know how to develop a complete initiative proposal with details of budget, evaluation, resources, etc. What should I do?

That's fine. Candidates do not need to develop a complete initiative plan at application stage. During the initial on- campus "Foundations for Community Change" component of the program, and subsequently through distance learning, we will introduce you to participatory project planning and management and will work with you to develop your idea into a full initiative. This approach is preferable to trying to take a fully- developed initiative and changing it to suit the new teachings you will receive at Coady.

Do I need a local partner?

In the application form you will need to provide reference details for someone from a local organization, group, business or individual within the community with which you polan to work who endorses your idea and who can speak to your connection with that community.

Application & Selection


How can I apply and when is the deadline?

Applications open on this webpage , around the beginning of the school year. All relevant dates can be found here. Applications will only be considered if submitted before the deadline. The link to the application form will be removed at 3pm AST on the deadline date. Review of applications will start the following morning.

How do I prove that I am in good academic standing?

In the application form you are required to provide contact details for an appropriate faculty or staff member at your university who is able to confirm good academic standing and status of studies. Academic standing is only one of many indicators, primarily used to confirm that candidates are on track to graduate when expected, in time for program commencement. As long as you are performing satisfactorily and are expected to graduate on time, the selection committee will be satisfied.

Can one candidate submit more than one application?

No. Only one application can be submitted per candidate. If a candidate submits more than one application, the last application received will be the one considered.

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Is there an application fee?

There is no fee for applying.

I have difficulty with English. Can I still apply?

You need to indicate your competency in English on the application form. The language you speak in the community may be different (eg: French), but all on- campus components are delivered in English and you must be able to communicate and submit any assignments and reporting requirements in English.

What if I have a disability?

We encourage applications from people with disabilities and we make every effort to assist with any special needs you may have whilst on campus. For more information about support on campus at St.FX, visit http://sites.stfx.ca/accessible_learning/.

There is nowhere in the application where I can specify budget details. Will budget allocation be determined during the interview process, or are these estimated from details I provide in my application?

We will do some extensive work on budgeting during pre- community on- campus components. We don't need any budget elements at application stage. You will simply need to do some math for yourself to ensure that the $25,000 will cover all foreseeable expenses. Depending on what you include in your application, if shortlisted you may be asked some questions related to finances at Selection Day. So while we don't expect great detail, we do expect that you'll have considered this aspect.

What are the questions asked of references?

The deadline for references is one week after the deadline for applicants. When you submit your application, your references will receive a link to a questionnaire for them to complete. The questions that all refs will be asked are:

  • In what context and for how long have you known the applicant?
  • Based on your knowledge of the applicant and your understanding of the OceanPath Fellowship, please rate their suitability for the fellowship on a scale from 1 to 10
  • Please provide any explanatory comments about your rating above

Additionally, each reference will be asked specific questions as follows:

  • Professional - In your experience, how does the candidate respond to challenging situations, what is their approach to learning and doing, and what have you learned about the candidate over the years that you wished you knew when you first met them?
  • Academic - Based on your acquaintance, what is your assessment of their academic motivations? Do you see any potential barriers to their graduating at the expected time (if they haven't already graduated)?

Community:

  • What is your role within your community?
  • What is the candidate's connection to your community and how respected do you think s/he is within the community?
  • Are you comfortable for the candidate to spend nine months in your community (Sep - May) to implement (a possibly modified version of) their proposed initiative?

What factors are considered in the evaluation of my application?

The Selection Committee will consider the following components in determining the success of your application: the strength of your community connection; the quality of your idea or concept (feasible, reasoned and sustainable); and your demonstrated and potential capacity (experience, skills, knowledge and attitude) to successfully turn your idea into an initiative and work with your chosen community.

When will I know if my application is successful?

The selection process has two stages. In the first stage, applicants will be shortlisted based on their applications. Shortlisting should be complete approximately four weeks after the references' deadline (which is a week after the application deadline). In the second stage, all shortlisted candidates will be invited and funded to attend a Selection Day of participatory and interactive activities, conducted in Montreal. Fellows will be announced the following week. All shortlisted candidates MUST make themselves available to attend Selection Day, and potentially travel days either side.

What will Selection Day consist of?

Shortlisted candidates will be provided with details of how to prepare for Selection Day. It will consist of a variety of participatory and interactive activities with the other candidates, along with an individual interview with a member of the Selection Committee. All shortlisted candidates MUST make themselves available to attend Selection Day, and travel will be arranged to arrive on the evening prior and depart on the morning following the day.

Who sits on the Selection Committee?

The makeup of the Selection Committee is determined anew each year, but will comprise PFF board member(s), PFF staff member(s), Coady facilitator(s), and the fellowship's life coach.

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Program- Specific


What is the value of the fellowship, what costs will be covered and how will I receive the funds?

Your initiative is a full- time commitment and the fellowship covers all costs directly related to it, up to an amount of $25,000. fellowship funding may be used for:


The program will pay for the following (which will NOT come out of fellowship funding):


At the beginning of FCC, fellows will receive an initial advance payment of $10,000 to ensure that they are not out- of- pocket at any stage. This amount should be sufficient to cover all expenses incurred by fellows prior to the next, individualised, disbursement during FPW.
During FCC, fellows will be introduced to personal and initiative budgeting and will be required to develop their own budgets including all three elements above (living allowance, travel expenses and initiative funding). Budgets will then be reviewed and approved prior to release of further funding.

Coady will then disburse an appropriate agreed- upon portion of the amount proposed in fellow's budget during FPW, with the remainder to be disbursed subsequently during the fellowship. Fellows will be requested to provide details of expenditure and a cash- flow projection for subsequent installments of funding. This will all be explained during FCC.

Given the significant cost of living differences across Canada and between countries around the world, potential applicants are strongly encouraged to conduct an initial broad estimate (though not a detailed budget, as this will be developed during FCC) of what their living and initiative expenses may be to determine whether or not it would be financially viable to apply to the program.

What are the tax implications of the fellowship?

The following details are summaries of advice provided by a third party advisor in their review of the fellowship, conducted in October 2014. The information that follows is designed purely to provide general details about the situation as it was known at the time of the review. There can be no assurance that these details will not change and/or that relevant authorities will not disagree with or challenge the views set forth by the third party advisor and summarised here. No responsibility is assumed by the Coady Institute or by the third party advisor for tax consequences or any other consequences to any other parties. Other parties should consult and rely upon the advice of their own counsel, accountant, tax advisor or other advisor.

  1. The amounts and benefits provided under the fellowship should not be taxed as employment income or business income to the fellows on the basis that they do not represent consideration to the fellows for services provided to Coady; and, the amounts are not payments in respect to commercial activities undertaken by the fellows or other organizations. This is regardless of whether fellows conduct the fellowship in their home communities, elsewhere in Canada or anywhere in the world.

  2. Benefits and other amounts received by fellows as part of or in connection with the learning component of the fellowship to be held at the Coady Institute should be taxable to the fellows under paragraph 56(1)(n) of the Income Tax Act (ITA), based on the value of these benefits and other amounts received by fellows, net of a $500 exemption.

      Notes regarding point 2:
    • The total value of all on- campus learning components, inclusive of meals, accommodation and tuition, is estimated to be $3,200 per person.
    • However, the value of all benefits received by fellows could also include, for example, a portion related to cover transportation costs to the on- campus components which could arguably be considered part of the learning component and therefore taxable. Similarly, any other amounts related to the learning components would be taxable.
    • CRA may disagree with the value assigned to each benefit received under the learning components.
    • CRA may argue that the value of the learning components may be higher in respect to the value of the overall fellowship and funding.


  3. Payments received by all fellows directly related to expenditures incurred for the development and implementation of the initiatives should be viewed as a separate component of the fellowship. These payments should not be taxable in Canada.

  4. Each issuer of any amount or other benefit as part of or in connection with the learning component of the fellowship (see point 2 above) to a fellow is required to issue a T4A Statement of Pension, Retirement, Annuity, and Other Income ("T4A") regardless of whether the fellow will be taxed on the amount or benefit received.

  5. Foreign tax obligations of the fellows will vary depending on each country. It is advisable that the fellows seek additional guidance regarding any non- Canadian tax implications of the fellowship.

What are on- campus accommodations like?

Accommodations are provided in standard student residences on the beautiful St. Francis Xavier University campus. Accommodations consist of a room with a single bed, desk, chair and closet space. Linens are provided and cleaned on a weekly basis. Rooms are centrally heated for the colder months, but are not air conditioned. Washroom and shower facilities are shared with other fellows of the same sex. There are laundry facilities in the building, as well as a lounge with TV and games room. Residences are a 5 to 10 minute walk from the dining hall and Coady Institute. All fellows will stay in residence during on- campus components to help to build a community of learning with their cohort.

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Does Coady have computers available for fellows? Is WiFi available?

Coady provides WiFi in both the residences and the classrooms. fellows are strongly encouraged to bring their own computer to on- campus components, as Coady does not have spare computers available for fellows. However there are many computer labs on the StFX campus that all Coady students can access. Most labs are open until 11pm each night. We have 10 computers available in the Marie Michael Library at Coady. All computer labs have printers for your use.

What is the food like on campus?

Meals are provided for all participants in Morrison Hall, the central dining hall for all StFX university students. A meal plan of 19 meals a week (breakfasts, lunches and dinners) is included during on- campus components.

Morrison Hall serves primarily standard Canadian fare. Efforts are made to accommodate the tastes and needs of foreign students and those with special needs. The cafeteria houses different stations each serving different meals (for instance the salad bar, pizza station, soup station and international station). The international station has white rice available for all meals. If you have special needs regarding meals remember to indicate them on the Special Needs form you will receive with your acceptance package.

Can I cook my own meals whilst on campus?

No. Whilst there are limited cooking facilities available in the residences, all meals are to be eaten at Morrison Hall. Those fellows with special dietary requirements who may be concerned about accommodation of their particular circumstances (eg. Muslim fellows observing Ramadan) are requested to make these concerns known to the Coady Youth Programs Manager upon selection as a fellow.

Can I work on the fellowship part- time? Can I hold another job during the fellowship?

fellows are not to have paid employment while attending on- campus components (FCC, FPW and D&E). Classes are held from 8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday. In addition, you are expected to read and work on assignments during some of your own time in the evenings and on weekends.

During Pre- Community Planning you will be required to devote a significant amount of time (approximately 0.5 equivalent) to the fellowship, but if you feel it is necessary you may also have another job during this time.

During the community phase you are expected to work full time on your initiative. The fellowship is designed to cover all living expenses so you should not be out- of- pocket as a result of your participation.

What do you mean by "sustainable"?

Sustainability means that the idea that has been developed will have the potential to continue after the fellow has left the community, without the need for or expectation of further support or funding from the fellow or Coady Institute. Working in collaboration with a local organization or local partner is an essential component to ensure this.

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What support will I receive from Coady?

Coady will provide all necessary support that fellows may require from the start of the application process (in conjunction with university partners) through to the end of D&E, including responding to queries during the application, supporting fellows' learning through on- campus and distance components throughout the fellowship, and maintaining contact with fellows in the field to monitor progress and to offer guidance and support in the event of personal or professional challenges. University contacts are also available for support during the application process, and should be the primary points of contact until after the Selection Day.

What is the "Coady approach" to development?

The Coady Institute embodies a citizen- led, community- driven, asset- based approach to development. This approach is consistent through all Coady programming. fellows will learn more about this during FCC but if you would like to learn more about an asset- based approach to community development click here.

To what extent does Coady Institute "shape" fellows' initiative plans, and what role does Coady play in fellows' communities?

Coady does not prescribe any changes to fellows' initiative plans - within the bounds of the contract signed upon acceptance, fellows are autonomous decision- makers for the duration of their fellowship. Having said this, our experience has been that fellows' initiatives always change in some way - sometimes significantly - between application and entering community. As stated above, at Coady we take a community- driven, asset- based, participatory approach to community development, and we introduce fellows to this approach and to many of the tools, techniques and principles that we espouse. This often causes changes in fellows' thinking which, combined with the work we do to help fellows think through and create a concrete initiative plan, tends to be reflected in changes to how they decide to implement their plan in community.

Coady doesn't have any direct involvement in any of the communities in which fellows work. Our role is to support fellows to enable them to enter and live in communities appropriately and implement their initiatives effectively, as well as supporting fellows' personal learning and growth and offering logistical support and other guidance. So from the community's perspective it is only the fellow that they deal with. The two exceptions to this are:

  1. Upon acceptance as a fellow, an email is sent to the fellow's community reference to request confirmation that they continue to be the appropriate point of contact in the community and of their continued endorsement of the fellow and their initiative plan, and to provide them with a contact at Coady to whom they can reach out if need be.
  2. Several months after the end of the fellowship, Coady will reach out to the community point of contact to request that they complete a brief questionnaire to ascertain what impact the fellow and their initiative might have had.

What does the personal coaching entail?

During the initial on- campus learning components, each fellow will have the opportunity to explore their individual leadership style and set intentions for areas in which they would like to learn and grow personally. Throughout the fellowship, fellows will have periodic one- on- one virtual sessions with a coach to support them as they move toward their personal growth intentions. The coaching offers supportive and non- prescriptive guidance to allow the fellow to process their personal learning at their own pace, contemporaneous with their experiences in community.

What happens if I realize I need to alter my budget, activities or goals when I am in the field?

It is expected and in fact encouraged that changes will need to be made once in the field. fellows need to keep Coady informed of developments and discuss any proposed changes with Coady PRIOR TO expenditure of funds or making commitments or guarantees.

Will my fellowship be evaluated and continue to be monitored after I leave?

Coady encourages all fellows to create long- lasting connections with the communities with which they work. As part of their planning, fellows are taught how to produce, and are guided in the development of, a comprehensive monitoring, evaluation and learning plan, which is expected to continue to the end of the fellowship and beyond if possible.

How long is the fellowship?

The fellowship is approximately 12 months long, from the first day of the Foundations for Community Change to the last day of Debriefing & Evaluation.

Can I take a vacation during my fellowship?

Fellows will be introduced to and guided in the development of a work plan for their fellowship, which will include details such as vacation. This will be discussed and determined together during on- campus components p rior to the Community Phase. In the event of requiring time away due to something unexpected during the fellowship, this can be discussed as it happens with the Coady Youth Leadership Programs Manager.

If the community ends up with profits and assets, or if materials are purchased with the fellowship funds, what do we do with these when I leave?

This question will be incorporated into the project planning and management training as part of the Foundations for Community Change experiential learning component prior to the community phase. fellows will need to elaborate on what will happen after the end of the program, in order to ensure sustainability for the community and/or the community partner.

While in the field, do fellows have any other responsibilities?

Yes. As this is a learning program, there are several expectations of fellows whilst in the field. These include participation in regular check- ins with the Coady Youth Leadership Programs Manager and any resultant work from these, regular sessions with the fellows' personal coach, and completion of a fellowship Learning and Impact Portfolio that will document fellows' learning throughout the program. Specifics of these requirements will be provided during FCC.

What are fellows expected to do following the completion of the fellowship?

When you return, you will attend a one- week Debriefing and Evaluation with your cohort at the Coady Institute. There will be requirements of you at this time, including such things as a final report, a program evaluation and program promotional activities. In some instances we may subsequently request pairing with fellows in future cohorts for peer- to- peer support, if that is possible for alumni.

Who do I contact if I have questions or want some advice?

If you have questions or would like to learn more about the program, you can e- mail the Coady Youth Leadership Programs Manager at coadyyouth@stfx.ca or the contact person at your university (see above).

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Collated Q&A from Facebook Page

How developed should initiatives be at application stage and how do they change and grow through the fellowship?

Fellow 1 They will change a lot! Not only as you begin more communication with your community once you have been accepted and are a confirmed participant but the classroom sessions at Coady will teach you so much and let you bounce your ideas off other people and will absolutely change things for you. And that's part of the process! My original initiative idea is very very different from what I'm actually doing.

I think focus on your "why" as in why you want to do this work and let that guide you and your choices as opposed to focusing too much on the nitty gritty.

At the application stage my community's input had been more of a "sounds good let us know if you get it" kind of input. And my plan was very vague and more academic than practical actually. My plan was more "I want to look into this", rather than "I want to do these things".

Fellow 2 Speaking from my own experience, during the application stage my initiative proposal was not extremely rigid and detailed. I can't remember the exact wording I used, but I believe it was something along the lines of strengthening the local climate movement in Antigonish through strengthening the connections among groups and performing more outreach. I believe that I also listed a couple of POSSIBILITIES of how this could be achieved without directly committing to any of them.

I am definitely glad to have not made my proposal too detailed and rigid. The OceanPath Fellowship is just as much (if not more) of an educational program as it is a grant program. You will learn so much in the months leading up to your community phase that your initiative is almost guaranteed to change. Therefore I would definitely second the previous fellow's input on focusing on your 'why' and don't focus too much on the small stuff.

Fellow 3 My initiative was fairly well developed at the application stage, but it still changed during our three weeks at Coady Institute, largely in how I conceptualized different components of it in my own mind, and how I wanted to include participants (i.e. ensuring they were more autonomous actors who could shape the initiative too). Don't worry too much about presenting the most succinct and successful version of your initiative in your application - you'll get there through many months of thought, collaboration and feedback before and during your time in community. My advice would be to focus on the main idea you're interested in and passionate about, and be able to justify why it's important to you and the community you're working with. Emphasizing your relationship with the community and their interest in the initiative is important as well. Demonstrating that you're flexible and open to feedback is important here, because I think all of our initiatives changed at least somewhat from what we originally proposed, and that process was hugely valuable.

Fellow 4 Whenever I think back to my initial plan for my initiative I have a bit of a chuckle to myself. Not at all because the plan was silly, but because I realize how necessary the guidance we receive through Coady's training is in really developing a well thought out plan. My initiative was quite large in scope and the training we did really helped me narrow it in scope (so instead of developing my network in six cities, I started out with one). Even now my initiative continues to evolve as new concerns are raised in the community I was working with. But while the scope of my initiative evolved as I continued to work on it, the matters that were most important to me & at the core of my initiative stated the same throughout.

My question is about the community reference - the reference I have selected is someone who is very connected to my community and has done a lot of activist work in this area and knows me well, but she is not necessarily someone I would be partnering with directly during the fellowship, as I would be seeking to build more community partnerships outside of the clinic where I work. Is that okay?

That may be ok, depending on her ability to comment on your connection with the community. The intention of the community ref is that they confirm for us that applicants have a meaningful connection with the community, and that the community is prepared to work with them on the initiative for the duration of their fellowship. If your contact is able to do this, she should be ok.

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