When it comes to developing a strong community, programming is a major component and when it comes to programming, the sky is the limit.
There are, however, some guidelines to follow; the most important being the contractual TRIPARTITE AGREEMENT with the City of Edmonton and the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL). Part of the agreement states that leagues may not enter into long-term rental agreements with any company or organization that is not incorporated as a not-for-profit. That is not to say leagues are not allowed to rent out their space to any for-profit individuals, companys or organizations for social events, whether single or annual - they just can not be for-profit events or activities.
Oliver Community League Minor Hockey Team circa 1960s
Since the very early days of community leagues, leagues have always provided programming for their communities, whether it was sports-related, cultural/social or educational - programming and activities were and remains to this day, an integral way of improving the life of the community and bringing neighbours together.
While yesteryear's programming would have included a wide variety of clubs - hockey, baseball, boxing, skating, sewing, singing, theatre, music, even dancing clubs to name a few, today's leagues, along with various club programming, provide community residents with the opportunity for drop-in sessions. These drop-in programs cover the gamut from zumba to moms & tots, monthly cooking classes and board game nights.
One thing that hasn't changed is the founding community league mandate of being all-inclusive, regardless of class or ethnicity and to have no affiliation with any religion or political group. It is as relevant today as it was in 1917, if not more so.
What Community Program Development offers community leagues
Whether it's an ongoing program, club development or a social event, the EFCL recognizes that creating solid programming for communities can be daunting, especially finding volunteers to help with these programs. While we cannot provide volunteers, we can offer guidance, tips from other leagues, contact information with outside stakeholders who are interested in bringing their opportunities to leagues, and source groups and/or organizations that require volunteer hours from prospective employees or students.
Whether it's an outside organization or a community resident, as one league president said recently, "It's all about listening to those who bring ideas to your board and then figuring out how best to support them."