The Long Range Planning Advisory Group (formerly Long Range Planning Committee) reports to the Vice-President. The group met twice during the 2009/10 Academy year: on October 21st 2009 and on March 9th 2010. The name change more accurately reflects the fact that this is not a standing committee or a voting committee.

The members for this time period were: Sandra Walsh Vice-President, Chair, Tony Keith, Karen Melville, Grace Scheel and Peter Steiner. Ralph Garber, President and Sheilagh Hickie, Past-President attended the two meetings.

At the meeting of October 21st Margaret Robertson attended to demonstrate the Academy database which allows the Membership Committee and the Volunteer Coordinator to efficiently search for volunteers willing to sit on committees. This details their past experience and relevant interests.

Ethnic Diversity:

Laura Baldwin spoke to the group about the work of the Maytree Foundation and how she consulted with them about ways the Academy could attract new members from a variety of ethnic groups in Toronto.

Sandra Walsh provided a list of ethnic associations in Toronto with a view to contacting them. A discussion ensued about the time this would take and whether it would produce results. At that time there wasn’t a consensus on this. There was, however, agreement that the Academy needs a more formalized marketing strategy and that this should be brought to the attention of the Communications Committee. At the meeting on March 9th Sandra distributed an expanded list of ethnic associations which also includes other groups of retired people in Toronto which might result in more new members in 2010/11. Sandra has prepared letters to all of these groups which will be sent out with the Academy mailing on May 10th. Following the meeting Karen Melville designed a flyer which will also be included in this mailing and used by the Communications Committee. Grace Scheel provided a list of television, radio stations and community newspapers which could be approached to publicize the Academy.

Task Force on Technology:

There was a discussion of the need for an Ad Hoc Task Force on Technology to look at the overall needs of the Academy and its various committees, in particular the Communications Committee concerning software to produce the Newsletter and the calendar and the Membership Committee for registration purposes. Ralph Garber set up this group with David Kister as Chair, Sharon Harris, Harvey Coleman and Eugene Vayda were on the committee. The members of the group met with each of the committees to determine their needs. In their Report of Ad Hoc Committee on IT Requirement issued on November 24th 2009 they reported that the software being used was appropriate but they identified significant weakness in IT planning, skills development and support resources. As a result committees are making sure that there are several members who develop expertise using the appropriate software. A survey was done to see if committees could benefit from the use of a paid administrative assistant from outside the Academy to perform tasks such as data entry. However, a need was not identified.

20th Anniversary of the Academy in 2010/11:

It was agreed that this will be an important event and that a committee should be set up to plan for this. Jim Pike and Karen Melville agreed to co-chair the committee. There will also be members from both the Special Events and Communications Committees. Joan McCordic and Brian O’Leary have offered to compile the history of the second decade which will be available on the website. There will be an assigned budget to cover costs, The celebration will probably consist of several smaller events and one larger event to be held in a locale such the Ceramics Museum, the ROM or the Art Gallery. Karen Melville suggested a logo which would appear on all Academy publications during the year and has since designed one. Margaret Robertson will design a similar one for the website. The first meeting of the committee occurred on March 24th.

Third Age Network:

Sheilagh Hickie was responsible for initiating the contacts that resulted in the formation of the Third Age Network, which is currently comprised of eleven seniors’ learning groups in Toronto (including the Academy) and some outside the city. Sheilagh and Sandra Walsh have attended meetings, (including one meeting with the Ontario Seniors Secretariat) where the group has discussed ways of sharing information and reaching other seniors’ learning groups in Ontario. Sheilagh composed a Background and History of the group. Margaret Robertson has included the list of participants on our website. A rough estimate of combined members of the group is 4,500. It is possible that a conference will be organized in the future. In 2010/11 Jim Pike as Vice-President and Margaret Robertson will be the Academy contacts and Sheilagh will continue with her involvement.

Accommodation at Knox College:

Sandra reported that she and Ralph attended a meeting on February 10th at Knox with the Finance and Facilities managers to discuss the Academy’s accommodation in 2010/11. We can definitely remain at Knox for one year and probably longer, but Knox only renews the contract one year at a time. If their student enrollment increased to 200, we would need to look for other accommodation. There will be an increase of 5% in our fees which will bring the total to $20,000. It is difficult to find space at the university for senior learners. The only group that has shown interest is the School of Continuing Studies with whom we are currently affiliated. It is possible that they themselves will have to move to a new location at some point since they have already outgrown the renovation to their building a few years ago. If they were able to find another location that was large enough they would keep us in mind and provide space if at all possible.

Respectively submitted,

Sandra Walsh