Community Transformation Through Strategic Planning

By Kevin Okabe, Treasurer, National Association of Japanese Canadians

Twenty-six years have passed since the Redress Settlement and since that time we have seen a tremendous transformation with the Japanese communities across Canada. Cultural centre buildings have been created or expanded, programs have been created and implemented, and the community continues to evolve and change over time.

Despite all of this, many communities still face significant challenges to their existence. Some of these challenges include:

  • Declining membership;
  • Overworked and shrinking volunteer base;
  • Concerns about cash flow; and
  • Decreasing attendance at local events.

Community Transformation

Organizations facing these concerns should really take a close look at themselves, and ask some serious questions about their future existence. It is no longer sufficient for organizations to continue to do what they did last year, in the face of an evolving community and its ever changing needs.

Successful organizations tend to review the questions above on a regular basis. They also look at what other organizations are doing, either within their own community or within other communities across Canada. After all, there is no use reinventing the wheel! Organizations should be creative, and encourage board members to brainstorm new ideas and activities. As the recent JCYLC (Young Leaders’ Conference) has shown, the creativity of people can result in some amazing things!

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