Victoria County CAP Site Association (VCCAPS)
The Victoria County CAP Sites Association is a community partnership among CAP Sites in the Baddeck Library, Bay St. Lawrence Community Centre, Boularderie School, North Highlands Community Museum, Ingonish Library, Iona &, Middle River Schools, North Shore Fire Hall, St. Ann’s CEEC Twinning Centre and the Employment Resource Centres in Baddeck and Ingonish.
The mandate of VCCAPS is to co-ordinate and develop the use of information technology services within the communities of Victoria County.
VCCAPS is a non-profit organization, incorporated in April 1999. VCCAPS is a regional networking group, one of twelve in the province of Nova Scotia. This organization supports a network of 9 Community Access Centres (CAP sites) in Victoria County. Access Centres provide connectivity, technical equipment, and training and computer courses to the visiting public, residents and businesses in Victoria County. In 2005 VCCAPS employed 26 full time staff at peak.
The Victoria County CAP Sites Association is a leader in many innovative community development projects and is well respected throughout Nova Scotia. This is a brief summary of our most recent project successes implemented with the co-operation of our partners, staff and volunteers.
Nova Scotia CAP Strategic Planning Session– In May of 2003, Victoria County CAP Sites Association assisted the Provincial CAP Committee to conduct a 1.5 planning session in Ingonish, Nova Scotia. Forty CAP chairs and coordinators from across the province met to discuss the future of CAP sites in Nova Scotia.
CAP Youth Initiative (YI)– An Industry Canada initiative that provides youth in Victoria County with an opportunity to receive meaningful work experience and to assist them in gaining further IT skills. VCCAPS provided administration and training workshops for the participants.
Municipality Broadband Business Plan– Victoria County CAP Assn. cosponsored the application to the BRAND program. Victoria County was chosen as one of the 33 communities to participate.
CAP Enhancement 2002/2005: A project developed by VCCAPS which provided a team of 8 IT Assistants positioned in CAP sites throughout Victoria County. This program provided support to residents by improving IT access and assistance with training in IT skills. Participants are funded under a JCP (Job Creation Partnership).
Researching & Preserving Community Heritage–Development of projects centering on the genealogical sketches of pioneer families in and around St.Anns. Assisted in the editing and publishing of the text ‘The Road to Tarbot’ which chronicles the history of this area on the Cabot Trail. Additional texts to follow. Sponsored by VCCAPS and funded by the HRSDC(Service Canada) Broadband Awareness CD– Production of a Broadband Awareness CD through funding from Industry Canada. This CD will be used as a training tool to teach the public the applications available and benefits of Broadband.
Researching & Preserving Community Heritage 2004/2005– Sponsored by VCCAPS and funded through the HRDSC. This project examines the history of St.Ann’s, Cape Breton.MARCH 1998 to MARCH 2005 UPDATED TO OCTOBER 2005
Evolving CAP Communities 2005/2006 – Development-Four positions including Administration & Strategic Planning, Program Development, Assistive Technology and Marketing & Public Relations created under the Job Creation Program will promote skills development and assist VCCAPS with it’s continued growth and demand for skills and IT services.
Technology-Three technical positions will give technical support to VCCAPS and create a Help Desk/Support Service. The technical project is partnered with Victoria Counties Broadband Initiative.
Victoria County Business Directory – Development of an extensive directory of services, businesses and contacts in Victoria County, partnered with Victoria County Economic Development.
Broadband Conference Participation-Involvement in the organization and hosting of three Fall Broadband Conferences in Baddeck, NS.
THE CAP PROGRAM DEVELOPS IN VICTORIA COUNTY
……by October 2005 a total of $1,898,500….
In June 1998, six CAP Sites had been set up in Victoria County (map)
– in Iona, Ingonish (known as ‘North of Smokey’), Baddeck, Boularderie, North Shore and St. Ann’s – by volunteer Boards in those communities who believed that local access to the Internet for all residents and visitors was a valuable asset to economic community development. They used Industry Canada start up grants to put computers in schools, libraries and a stand alone site all of which served 3000 people in that summer of 1998 with the help of eight students hired in partnership with the Nova Scotia Government PEP program and Industry Canada/CAP Program, Halifax.
By 2002, 9 CAP Sites had been set up with the addition of Bay St. Lawrence, Middle River and North Highlands Community Museum, as well as Employment Resource Centres in Baddeck and Ingonish, totaling 9 CAP Sites and 2 partner Employment Resource Boards all working together year round to continue the mandate to provide rural communities with the increasing need to support access to IT services and training for all, as computers became part of the economic culture.
By 2009, Employment Resource Centres in Baddeck and Ingonish no longer were considered CAP Sites. The Employment Resource Centres are community based projects funded by the province of Nova Scotia through the Department of Labour and Workforce Development.
While all CAP Sites see the largest volume of activity from May to October each year when visitors happily use their email services, CAP use throughout the rest of the year has increased greatly. (See the usage report on page 2.) Residents now use them year round for information, and varied training in the gamut of computer skills, as well as many publishing services. EI claims applications and income tax filing are the latest popular services. CAP Sites are now considered an important resource in all our County communities. All this is tribute to the vision and work of the volunteer Boards joined in the VCCAPS Association.
PARTNERSHIPS THE KEY TO DEVELOPING AND EVOLVING
When Industry Canada mandated in 1999 that an umbrella organization be set up to manage sustainability funds for CAP Sites in Victoria County (map), VCCAPS was formed. It was understood by the Board that the key to sustainability and effective use of CAP Sites would have to include more than one funding partnership. So the Board became “project driven”, setting up in 1999/2000 a Project that involved four partners for four months, employing fifteen people County-wide to produce the first County portal in Cape Breton.
With this success, NS CAP in partnership with (HRDC) Service Canada funded a Project Coordinator to act as VCCAPS Regional Coordinator and to write projects that would involve Service Canada as a partner as well as the Municipality of Victoria County and the local branches of Community Services as well as OED, to use the CAP Site network as places for workers to develop, maintain and enhance computer skills, and provide informational conferences and workshops to promote e-commerce activity as well as develop community portals to showcase communities locally and worldwide. The original vision of the start up Volunteer Boards had come to pass!
By March 2005, a total of 7 summer intern projects, 2 six month projects and 9 twelve month projects have been held by this tri - level government funding partnership, employing 207 people and making available to the County economy, $1,225,000 to date as well as $475,000 in EI Top Up wages. By October 31, 2005, the total numbers read 8 summer intern projects, 12 twelve month projects, employing 227 people and making available within the economy $1,323,500 as well as $575,000 in EI Top Up wages – a grand total of $1,898, 500 to date!
Although measured in dollars, which are significant, the figures must also be seen as a sign of valuable contribution to the lives of the 227 people employed, who have been given stepping stones to a better future.
Our Partners are now asking us to seek more Community partnerships to support useful projects to continue to fulfill IT economic development goals. VCCAPS looks forward to the challenge of raising its level of sustainability and community activity!
Summer Youth Interns 2005…Making History!
Seated: L to R: Donna MacDonald, Regional Coordinator, VCCAPS, Sara Seward, IT Intern, Boularderie CAP, Standing: L to R: James Myers, IT Intern, Middle River CAP, James Nicholson, Baddeck CAP, Cailin MacLennan Iona CAP, Kyle Steele, St. Ann’s CAP, (Absent: Martin Capstick, Bay St. Lawrence CAP).
Summer Youth Assist ant s CAP Sites
For the eighth summer CAP Sites in Victoria County have been able to acquire funding for the Youth Intern Program providing six youth with summer work and six CAP Sites with welcome help and skills during the busiest time of the year. The partners in the funding include Nova Scotia CAP, Nova Scotia SEP and HRSDC. These students are doing post secondary studies. Sara is in her third year as a French Major with biology minor at St. Francis Xavier, James Myers is entering Marconi for an IT Networking specialist’s diploma, James Nicholson will be in the Tourism and Hospitality program at Mount Saint Vincent U in Halifax, Cailin will be entering an MBA program at Dalhousie and Kyle is doing a French major with math minor at Acadia. Martin, who is absent from the picture will be doing a masters in philosophy at Memorial in Newfoundland. At their workshop hosted by Donna MacDonald, Regional Coordinator for VCCAPS, a special community heritage project for each of them was introduced, called “Making History – The Summer of 2005”. A CD will be composed to showcase and preserve the present life and times of their host community using photographs and text to capture what is history in the making. It will be an enjoyable and worthwhile use of the technology available to them combined with their creative skills. As well it will serve as a lasting legacy in the local archives for those looking back years from now. The volunteer members that make up the VCCAPS Board and the CAP Sites Boards express their thanks to these Interns for their summer assistance.
Notes from the Past…….
2005/2006 Middle River CAP Site Volunteer board members:
Middle River Business & Community Development Centre (CAP Site) was started in 2000 by a group of community volunteers who became the Middle River board members.