SALAS hosted the Fourth Annual Regional Networking Meeting September 5, 2011 at Paradise Canyon Golf Resort in Lethbridge.  As usual, participants were varied with some representing the federal government, the Alberta government, other assessment centres, language service providers, immigration lawyers, and settlement services as well as private businesses.  We also had representation from Calgary and Brooks and Claresholm, Fort Macleod, Coaldale, Taber, ????.   We were very pleased at the attendance and the quality of the presentations.  It was a pleasure for all SALAS staff to see all of the various participants and to hear of their activities within their communities related to language development.

Contact information for each of the three presenters is as follows:

Bozana Slujka Settlement Services Practioner Lethbridge Famiy Services Immigrant Services – e-mail:

Rod Lelande-mail:

Dr. Judith Kulig, Faculty of Nursing, University of Lethbridge – email:

Note: Each of the three presenters used a Power Point presentation.  Slides from this presentation can be obtained by contacting the presenter.


Evaluative comments from the Network Meeting are copied below and planning has begun for our next year’s meeting.



1.     On a scale of 1-5 (5 being most valuable), please rate the network session for you.

1        2      3      4      5

No rating             3

1 and 2                0

3                           3

3 – 4                     1

4                        12

4-5                       2

5                           9

2.     What did I like about this network session? (most valuable)

·         Great opportunity for networking; excellent presentations

·         I found it interesting to learn so much about the backgrounds of clients I’m serving!  Absolutely fascinating!

·         All very good.  Good variety.

·         Rod Leland was an inspiration.  The world of on-line networking and social media is eye-opening and very promising.  Bozana’s presentation was good as well.  It was nice to see the “other” side of immigration.  Judith’s presentation was very relevant to our geographical location and its issues.

·         Dr. Judith Kulig – relative to me – Bozana’s talk.

·         Rod – what great insite (sic) into social networking.  You really put a positive spin on it.

·         Meeting new people!  Valuable learning about the resettlement process.  I work with LGM learners so cultural info was great.

·         Presentations with Q/A opportunities were most valuable.

·         Bozana – excellent, informative, gave another dimension to my interactions with refugees.  Social network – interesting.  Dr. Kulig – provided fascinating background on low-German speaking Mennonites.

·         The three diverse range of presentations.  Raising new awareness of specific populations is inherent with understanding.

·         “a tie” – Bozana and Judith!  Extremely interesting and informative but Rod was excellent, also – enthusiastic and a clear speaker

·         Bozana’s presentation (she is a former ESL studend I worked with her first year in Canada) and Dr. Kulig – we have a growing Mexican Mennonite population in our area.  I have a much better understanding.

·         Presentation 1 – learning about process for refugees – coming to understand what they must go through.

·         All speakers very interesting.  Rod was great.  Networking with others important.

·         Relevant information; social media – well delivered.  LGSM – great information – new perspectives; OIM/COA – very interesting

·         Bozana’s excellent presentationa!  Thank you.  Judith Kulig – fascinating presentation.

·         Great presentations.

·         Networking opportunities, presentation (?):  OM/COA all valuable and relevant to the audience

·         Each session was valuable and well done.  The diversity of presentations was appreciated.

·         Rod Leland’s presentation – excellent information.

·         1.  What orientation and orientation methods are used for Bhutanese/IOM preparation sessions for refugees in camps.  2.  Low German Speakers – determination to have ‘German’ as education right.  Kanadaiers – attitude/cause of drunkeness, unhappiness, spiritual L-X Satan.  3 – Social media session made me think about the assessment process – has traditional writing skills assessed that social media/twitter does not employ – many ? Canadians would assess a low levels on that writing and conversation skills!

·         While interesting the sessions were not applicable to our work.

·         The presentation on Social Media was interesting.

·         Judith Kulig

·         Very good information for all speakers.  Great information regarding low German Menonites (sic).  Very relevant.  Also very relevant and timely info about Social Media.

·         Judith – excellent!  Bring her again – 5.  Others – 3

·         I really enjoyed Rod’s presentation on social media, as well as Bozana’s insight to the Bhutanese population.

·         Very much interested in Bozana’s presentation, very well done and related to mu job.  I also very much enjoyed the presentation by Judith.

·         Learned about refugees’ experiences in camps; learned and got nudged towards using more Social Media; learned about changing lifestyles/attitudes of LGM people

·         Opportunity to network

·         Dr. Judith Kulig’s presentation was very interesting!  I enjoyed the other presentations as well.

3.     What could have been improved? (least valuable)

·         Hard to see the screen.  Was also hoping for a multicultural meal, though the lunch was very well done.

·         The location was a bit open for speaking and at times it was hard to hear.

·         Bozana’s voice very quiet – a little long in delivery.

·         It is beautiful place maybe just different room – since there are a lots of noise coming from close by bar, kitchen (sic)

·         I’m still not sure how useful social media will be for many of my learners.

·         There were some noise distractions.

·         Keep presentations 30-35 min then allow discussing Q & A.  Really reinforces concepts and enhances further clarification.

·         Better sound – perhaps speakers should be shown how to properly use a microphone.  Suggest only two presenters in future, which could create a more relaxed/less rushed feeling.

·         Good information from Rod Leland – however our students are not priviledged (sic) enough to have computers, cell phones, etc.

·         Perplexed by social media presentation at this event.

·         Location beautiful but not presenter friendly.

·         Room arrangement – difficult to see screen from back of room.  More networking time.

·         Social networking – Rod did a great job, however, would rather have attended a more relevant session.

·         Great location – but not for presentations because of acoustics.

·         Different location/venue; consider holding event as a “breakfast” meeting.

·         Nothing.  The hospitality was tremendous and the facility beautiful.

·         I really liked the format of last’s year (sic) event where we could choose which presenter.

·         1st was too long information session, which break for movement – questions, etc.  Lot of side noise distracting – from the location facility – hard to see photographs on screen.

·         The venue was beautiful but not really conducive to this type of presentation – sound was difficult.

·         Presentations should have more relavant (sic) to the participants in the room.

·         The first speaker could have used a mike – I couldn’t hear all of her presentation.

·         First speaker failed to project.  Should use the mike.  Speaking time too long.

·         Location – too noisy and distractions.

·         Cannot think of anything.  Well done.

·         Speakers not always able to be heard.  Having 3 PP presentations is not a great mix of styles.

·         Possibly a structured more networking activity would be valuable (e.g., group discussion/activity).  Rod Leland’s presentation was very interesting but may have been more valuable if he had a better background understanding of the group.


4.     I would like to know more about:

·         Anything + everything!  This was a fantastic session.

·         I learnt alot (sic) about Hutterite culture this summer from a friend who is a TA on a colony.  This may be of interest to others.

·         How to connect with the immigrant community.

·         Background of more immigrants – their journey to Canada – how they fit in.

·         N/A

·         Recent workshops that people have attended that are relevant to this group (re:  information sharing) – more information re upcoming events.

·         It would be interesting to hear how the medical profession is coping with the challenges of ESL residents.

·         Kids in School System – illiteracy and discuss those 11-15 year olds.  Immigration lawyer – changes TFW status.

·         The process of “choosing” refugees to come to Canada.

·         Dr. Judith Kulig’s work.

·         Using sign language for assessment/communication evaluation.

·         I think two sessions would have been enough – plus perhaps a specific networking activity. 

·         Copies of the presentations to be distributed to participants.

·         Thank you!

·         How orientation sessions for refugees work here for new refugees (in Lethbridge) – How much is role playing used to help in orientations of new Canadians – either abroad or after they arrive; e.g., simulated kitchen/shopping interaction/playground use.

·         Partnerships, programming, rural need, wish lists, priorities, etc.

·         The Low German Speaking Mennonite Religion Immigration regulations concerning the Low German Speaking Mennonites.

·         New approaches to ESL.

·         Invite Judith again.

·         It would be good to have a presentation focussed on the different services that are offered throughout Southern AB by the attendees.

·         Possibly more about services provided by organization in & around Lethbridge.  Ie. Taber, Bow Island, other small communities.

·         How to teach adults @ a literacy level.

·         The language programming offered in small communities in Southern Alberta.  (eg. Bow Island, Taber, Foremost)

Unsolicited comments:

·         Thank you!

·         Thanks, it was a great afternoon!

·         Thank you so much!  I found this session very great.

·         Thank you.

·         Invite Sue Oguchi (two)

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