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Local Partnerships Making Stronger Communities

April, 2011

Baddeck Employment & Resource Centre representative, Melanie Garland, recently accepted the prize of a High Definition Web Camera from VCCAPS’ Community Communication Project. The Project entered all the names of individuals who took part in their Online Meeting Information Sessions from Sept 13th – Feb. 25th into a draw for the HD Web Camera. Melanie was very pleased with the win and expects to be offering the use of the Web Camera to local individuals & visitors who may like to try it out with such programs as Skype or Online Meeting Software. The Centre will be available to host information sessions on using Online Meeting Software for your organization or group. The Centre is sponsored by the The Northside Entrepreneurial and Resource Centre (NEDAC) and provides many employment related services and resources to residents of Victoria County.



Melanie Garland
(RT) Baddeck Employment Resource Centre, Donna MacDonald, VCCAPS (LF)


 

Our Ingonish Community Portal

April, 2011

Another community partnership, created by local volunteers and the Victoria County CAP Sites Association’s Winter Youth Initiative Funding (part of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy) is the new Our Ingonish Community Portal.

Visit www.ouringonish.ca to see where local residents and visitors come to view current events, news & announcements; use a local directory to find accommodations and businesses in the area; learn a little about the local history; or use as a portal to access local and regional web links. There are magnificent pictures to view and a community calendar for the latest event listings in our community. The creation of this community portal was helped by local volunteer Rosemary LaRusic and VCCAPS Winter Youth Interns (2010-2011) from Ingonish, Julia Donovan & Christina Powers.

Standing LF, Rosemary LaRusic Community Volunteer, Julia Donovan, VCCAPS Winter Youth Sitting LF, Christina Powers, VCCAPS Winter Youth, Leona Stockley, Librarian, Ingonish


C@P Cuts Travel and Meeting Costs for Community Groups

The Victoria Standard
December 27, 2010.

Victoria County is virtually 99% connected with high-speed, making us the most connected rural county in Canada. The Victoria County CAP Sites Association (VCCAPS) is taking advantage of this connectivity by introducing its newest project, Online Meetings. Since our blue flyer, Using the Internet to Communicate was mailed out to residents in November, this project is generating lots of interest from community groups across the County.

With project funding support from our partners, Nova Scotia Economic and Rural Development, and the Victoria County Recreation & Tourism Department, VCCAPS is offering free training in the use of our online meeting software to enthusiastic community group members in Victoria County. VCCAPS Board member, Pauline Fournier states that, “This project arose from a need identified during a ‘Planning for High Speed Future Workshop’ for Victoria County held in May, 2009, as part of the Broadband for Rural Nova Scotia initiative. It’s proving to be an excellent tool for connecting communities.”

Veronika Brzeski, Project Manager for the Lobster Fishery Advisory Board (LFA 27) in Victoria County, is using the software and tells us, “This programme is very user friendly. The advantage of WEBex is that you can start with simple meetings with presentations and discussions and, as you learn more, can progress to a more refined use of the technology. In fact, it was very well received by a group of computer-shy users.”

Online conferencing involving up to 25 people connects rural communities to each other. Another use is Webinars, which are online seminars delivered to many more participants, and which help overcome the rural urban divide.

Using online meeting software is a cost-effective, efficient and productive way to keep members of community groups connected to each other, especially with the challenges Mother Nature presents us with over the winter months. Immediate benefits to using this software are increased meeting attendance, decreased travel costs and more effective use of time. It is easy sharing documents, Power Point presentations, pictures and video files.

To participate in an online meeting you need a computer, high-speed Internet connection, speakers and microphone or a set of earphones with microphone attached. The project offers free training and user support to help your community group get set up to use the online meeting software until February 25, 2011, which marks the end of funding for this project. Free use of the software itself continues for a full year from now, until December 2011.

To help groups get started right away, VCCAPS is offering free headsets with microphones for those who need them so groups can take advantage of an online meeting experience quickly. Our deadline for setting up new users - February 25th, 2011 - is fast approaching, so take this opportunity, now, to join in an online meeting. As an added feature your name will be entered in a draw for a High Definition Web Camera.

Please contact us to get your community group involved with online meetings by Phone: 902-295-1347 (messages will be returned each day) or Email: office@vccaps.com. For more information on the project visit our blog http://vccaps123.wordpress.com or website www.vccaps.com

VCCAPS is a member of the Nova Scotia C@P Program and helps manage projects and support funds available to the C@P sites through an Industry Canada initiative. C@P sites throughout the county assist communities and visitors with Internet access, as well as access to information and IT training needs.

Picture:
(From left to right) Municipal Partner Representative; Tom Wilson, Director of Recreation & Tourism, Municipality of Victoria County & Project Co-ordinator, "Broadband Solutions for Rural Development"; Provincial Partner Representative; Nancy Flam, Broadband for Rural Nova Scotia Project Director; Annette MacKenzie, Researcher/Trainer, VCCAPS Community Communication Project, Donna MacDonald, Project Coordinator, VCCAPS Community Communication Project; and Corrina Peterson, VCCAPS Regional Working Group Coordinator.

The Web Info Project

The Victoria Standard
January 25, 2010. Original Article

This winter, in C@P Sites across the County, a non-profit organization is hoping to increase the technological skill levels of all members of our community. The Victoria County CAP Sites Association (VCCAPS), run by a board of volunteers, is in the middle of its Fall/Winter project, and is employing two area youth, Mike Riegner and Leah Noble, to teach classes.

The project is managed by VCCAPS Regional Coordinator Corrina Petersen, who says, “CAP’s mandate is to bring people and technology together.” CAP stands for Community Access Program, an initiative of the federal government’s Industry Canada, which is distributed provincially through the Nova Scotia Department of Economic and Rural Development. Our county’s Regional Working Group, VCCAPS, then receives project funding on a year-to-year basis. CAP’s goal is to provide people with public access to the Internet and to whatever skills they might need to keep up in today’s increasingly wired world.

This winter’s project, titled the “Web Info Project,” fits with this goal by teaching skills ranging from the basics of computer use to how to optimize your business’s website. Mike Riegner, of Middle River, who teaches the classes on Web Optimization, says, "Basically, 'web optimization' means improving your website so that search engines such as Google will send more traffic to your site. As well, it means designing a good-looking site that people will like and recommend to others. On optimized websites, it is also easy for people to buy from you online. This is what I teach in our workshops."

VCCAPS also designed a website called www.WebOpt.info. It contains much of the information they are using in this year’s courses,. The site’s purpose is to consolidate the confusing abundance of resources for people who are new to this information. Now that it’s built, Petersen and her colleagues are trying to get the word out. “We have this great resource for people to use, accessible not just in our county but anywhere you can get online,” says Ms. Petersen.

The Web Optimization classes, like the website, include sections on web design, search engine optimization or “SEO”, and E-commerce. Athol Grant of Rare Earth Ventures took a class and says, “The course was great for small business owners, and it’s local. You don’t have to go too far.” Nahman Korem of Crown Jewel Resort Ranch agrees. “I was more than impressed by the level of knowledge of the instructor. This was incredibly helpful. I went home and started using the information, right away.”

The Seniors’ Computer Training, held at the Baddeck Library, is in demand. “I get calls about the training nearly every day,” says Leah Noble, one of the teachers. “People take the classes and then talk to their friends about it, and the word spreads. And we’re seeing that seniors have many uses for the technology, like booking tickets online, reading the news, or sending pictures using email, but that they’re just not as comfortable with it as they’d like to be. There is a definite need for this training.”

Any member of the public who is interested in attending a class or setting up training for themselves or for a community group, can call VCCAPS at their St Ann’s office, 295-1347. They can also reach Mike Riegner at mike@vccaps.com, or Leah Noble at the Baddeck Library, 295-2055, or check out the new website, www.webopt.info .
 

Community Access Program (CAP) in Your Community

  

One of the goals of the CAP initiative is to enhance the range of technical services and information available to the residents of Victoria County.  We invite you to use our new Tech Help feature where you can access information in various document forms about how to use various techniques and programs like Adaware Spyware, Windows Updates and Installing Wireless Routers in your home if and when you have a high speed connection.

Assistance is at your fingertips by going to www.vccaps.com and clicking on the Tech Help button on the left hand side of the home page.  

Baddeck Library C@P Site

     Local CAP Sites will offer technical workshops to groups and individuals with the assistance of people we call upon as technical advisers.  Workshops in basic computer maintenance, online security as well as basic and advanced hardware and software applications will be made available. Contact your local CAP Site for more information and to set up an appointment.   

Assistive Technology uses various programs and devices to help individuals overcome challenges they may experience while using a computer or the Internet.  We have assistive technology software that can assist those who face a challenge while using a computer or the Internet.  This software can read your mail, read web pages, or allow you to listen to a book rather than reading it.  We also have speech recognition software that you can use to dictate to your computer and your words will be written or control your computer by voice commands. Contact your local CAP Site for more information and to set up an appointment    

In partnership with the Cape Breton Seniors Learning Network many of our sites are able to offer Seniors’ Workshops to people 50 and over. We’ll ease you into the world of computers in a fun, relaxing atmosphere where you can learn while you socialize and share ideas.  Check out the CBSLN website at http://www.capebretonseniors.ns.ca/ and contact your community CAP site for more information and to set up an appointment. 
 
        Iona CAP Site and St. Ann’s CAP Site offer a service that will transfer your video tapes to DVD format.  This would be a great gift for those who are holding on to old VHS tapes of family events and memories.  
 
   Keep in mind, VCCAPS is not just about access.  We offer printing and desktop publishing services and assistance with all your IT needs.  If your community group is hosting an event let us assist you in creating or printing flyers or promotional items.  Contact us to see what we have to offer. We’re sure you’ll be impressed.

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Michael Riegner,
Jan 29, 2010, 8:02 AM