Community Group Conference - RECONNECT 2023

Welcome to the official information page for the County of Grande Prairie's RECONNECT 2023 Conference!

The County of Grande Prairie is partnering with Alberta Arts, Culture, and Status of Women and the Grande Prairie Regional Association of Volunteer Organizations to provide a one-day, face-to-face conference experience for volunteers, community groups and non-profit organizations serving our rural communities. 

Conference-goers can:

  • RECONNECT with service providers, funders, supporters, and community colleagues to renew, relationships;
  • RETOOL using new, easy-to-use organizational tools customized for their needs; and
  • RE-ENERGIZE with active learning and impactful conversations to reimagine volunteer work in the County.

Sessions have a strong focus on providing practical and adaptable resources for organizations serving rural populations, those that rely on volunteers for service delivery, and people who are new to the volunteer experience.  New volunteers and people thinking about volunteering are encouraged to attend to meet established groups and more experienced volunteers, and to explore areas where their skills and enthusiasm are appreciated and sought after.

DAY:  October 14, 2023
TIME:  9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
PLACE:  TARA Centre at Evergreen Park
COST:  Includes refreshments and lunch - $25 per person
REGISTRATION:  Register here.

Early registration is encouraged to ensure your session preferences are available.  Spaces are limited and substitutions may be made.  Since some sessions overlap, you are encouraged to bring more than one member from your organization to benefit from all the sessions.

  • We would be pleased if you could share this information with friends, colleagues, and others who you think would benefit from this learning experience.
  • Please note that per legislation and regulations, we will be complying with all Medical Orders of Health and municipal bylaws.  We ask that participants please refrain from attending if they are showing signs of illness of feeling unwell.  Participants may send a substitute in their place.

Participant Agenda
Please register for the RECONNECT 2023 CONFERENCE here.
Debbie Hagman Community Development Officer,
Alberta Ministry of Arts, Culture, and the Status of Women

Debbie is a Community Development Officer with 20 years of experience. She loves working with volunteers in the non-profit sector who make a difference in their communities.  Debbie has worked across the province on various initiatives and projects related to community and economic development, voluntary sector training and facilitation, and career counselling.  She has initiated rural community conferences to support volunteers in the rural sector, and has skills in facilitation, strategic planning, volunteer engagement, board development, fundraising and fund development, crowdfunding, event planning, and grant writing.

Debbie has put these skills to use serving on many non-profit boards, including the Aspen Regional Health Authority, the Tamarack Health Advisory Council, and the Mayerthorpe Royal Canadian Legion #126. She began a community foundation and organized a successful golf tournament fundraiser for 18 years.

Debbie land her husband of 47 years farm in the Mayerthorpe / Whitecourt area, and visit family in Grande Prairie.  She has three children and four grandchildren and enjoys gardening, dancing, swimming, reading, and travelling.

Heather Nickel, Community Development Officer,
Alberta Ministry of Arts, Culture, and the Status of Women

Heather is a Community Development Officer with Alberta Arts, Culture and Status of Women, a provincial ministry that promotes community initiatives and improving the quality of life throughout the province through the support of the voluntary sector, arts, culture, and women’s issues. She has been working in this role since 2003, providing facilitation, consultation, community engagement and capacity-building services to social-profit groups and government entities. She helps these organizations to enhance their performance and achieve their goals.

Heather has a degree from the University of Alberta, and has studied recreation and leisure services. She has a strong leadership background and is passionate about communities, people and the voluntary sector. She believes that communities are the places where people live, work, play, and learn together, and that they have the potential to create positive change in society. She also believes that people are the most valuable asset of any organization, and that they deserve respect, recognition, and support for their contributions. She has volunteered with local organizations that have involved her children, and continues to lead a Girl Guide troop in her home town of St. Paul, a town in northeastern Alberta that is known for its diverse cultural heritage and its UFO landing pad.  Heather is no stranger to the County, returning often to visit family who live here.  During the summer months, she can be found camping and paddle-boarding.

Justin Brown, CRM, Risk Management & Insurance Advisor,
County of Grande Prairie - Business Advisory Services

Justin is a Risk Management Officer at the County of Grande Prairie, overseeing insurance and emergency preparedness. Justin is a Certified Risk Manager (CRM) with Business Continuity Expert (BCE) 200, Incident Command System (ICS) 400, and other emergency management certifications.  He is a member of the National Risk Management & Insurance Forum and the Rural Municipalities of Alberta Insurance Advisory Committee, and has shared his expertise at various events, including the RIMS Canada Conference (Ottawa).

Justin worked as a radio host and a movie producer after graduating high school, then started his career as a broker partner at JB Insurance, a family-owned business that operated for 12 years.

Justin enjoys active living, backpacking solo across Europe for three months this year.  Sports interests include curling, golfing, and football, where Justin volunteered as board president and coach for the Sexsmith Shamrocks minor team for 7 years, taking the team to 5 local championships.  Residents can still hear him announcing at high school games, enjoying a role as DJ, and hosting a Saturday night 80's show with a friend that reaches St. Johns, Moncton, and Boston.

Justin is part of a farming family that homesteaded in the County since 1926.  His greatest achievement is raising four children as a part-time single parent for over 14 years with his former partner. He believes in setting a positive example for young people.


Miriam Mahnic, Community Group Support Coordinator,
County of Grande Prairie - Parks and Recreation Department

Miriam Mahnic has been a member of the County of Grande Prairie’s Parks & Recreation Team for just over a year. She is enthusiastic, creative, and experienced in supporting community initiatives that enhance the voluntary sector and parks, recreation, and culture.

Miriam believes that people are the heart of communities and that their passion and dedication as volunteers draws others in. She looks for common-sense ways to help organizations grow and achieve their goals, and has developed ways to build capacity for many municipalities, provincial departments, and social-profit organizations.  Miriam draws on her background as a small business owner, a non-profit employee, a volunteer and board member, and as a funder, and has used this experience to lead strategic planning, policy development, community engagement, and initiatives throughout Alberta.

Miriam's love of learning began in college, where she was awarded the Louise McKinney Scholarship and the Governor General's Collegiate Bronze Medal.  She is a life-long-learner who had achieved designation as a Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF) with the International Association of Facilitators, and most recently, as a Change Management Practitioner (CMP).

CONFERENCE MATERIALS (Posted after October 14, 2023)

We regularly collect photos, videos, audio recordings, interviews, presentations, or performances at public events to build our collection of local media for use in promotions and communications. 

These may be used for print and digital media displays, advertisements, electronic or direct mail communications, postings, promotions, publicity, or information-sharing initiatives consistent with the work of the municipality in general, and with departments delivering programs and services.

The County of Grande Prairie retains final editorial, artistic and technical control of all content, without limitation. No compensation or royalties will be paid to the subjects of the materials collected at public events, or to their representatives.  

If you wish to opt out and you are at an event, please connect with one of the photographers, recorders, or event organizers to let them know you do not wish to have your image and / or an audio recording taken.  They will provide you with means to identify yourself as someone who wishes to opt out.  You may also, at the time that your image or recording is being taken, let the recorder know that you do not wish to have it taken.  We will also look at footage after the event to ensure that you are cropped or blurred if your image was inadvertently included.  If, after an event, you or your children appear in one of our public event photos and you would prefer that we do not use it in the future, please contact the FOIP Coordinator at or call 780-532-9722. Please include a description and location of the media in question, as well as your contact information. This will be investigated, and you will be contacted to discuss the removal.  

This information is being collected in accordance with Section 33(c) of the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the FOIP Act) and will be protected under Part 2 of that Act. It will be collected, used, and disclosed as required for the operation of County of Grande Prairie Community Services Department programs, services, and activities.  This may include maintaining records, sharing information of potential interest to you, informing the public about your organization for networking purposes or to connect them with your services, for publicity purposes, or for other purposes consistent with the reasons why the information is collected. Should you require further information about collection, use and disclosure of personal information, please contact the FOIP Coordinator at or call 780-532-9722.


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Community Groups Newsletter - Funding Issue 

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Community Group Resources

Volunteer Groups in the County need your skills!

Are you good at searching for and tracking funding opportunities, and writing business cases?  Would you like to try?  Training and mentorship can be provided.  We still have a number of our organizations that are looking for help in this area.  If you can donate a gift of time, please send us an email and put Volunteer Grants in the subject line.  This could be on regular, casual, online or on a one-off basis. 
Students:  Put your skills to work in supporting our local community groups - and add this to your resumes!

Compliance and other Regulatory Links for Community Groups and Non-Profit Organizations

County of Grande Prairie Funding Programs


  • The County of Grande Prairie invests millions of dollars each year to support projects, programs, and organizations that are enhancing our communities and benefiting residents. For the latest updates, visit our Grants and Scholarships page. 
  • There are a number of quality resources to assist you with your search for funds and to help build your fundraising skills.  You'll find many of them downloadable Funding Guide, and we've posted some of them below to support you in your search. 

Information, Training and Assistance:  Non-Profit Fund Generation





  ♥  County of Grande Prairie Funding Guide



Information, Training and Assistance:  Governance

 Government of Alberta - Arts, Culture, and Status of Women:  Non-Profit Learning Centre

Managing and Maintaining Non-Profit and Community Facilities

 Requests For Council

Community Groups can also make Requests for the Reeve and Council to present to council, invite council to attend events or request a letter of support for their grant application, project or initiative.

 Communities in Bloom

People Plants and Pride – Growing Together

CIB is a Canadian non-profit organization committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community participation and the challenge of a national program.

Participating communities are judged under categories that promote attractive and functional outdoor landscaped spaces. See past winners and view detailed information about the program.

If you are interested in spearheading a landscaping project to beautify your community, but do not want to be a part of a large program like Communities in Bloom, we want to support your initiative!

We offer a Community Beautification Grant for local projects to enhance civic pride through beautification.