• Excitement is building as we prepare to introduce the University of Toronto study “Water, Rocks, Trees … Building Upon our Rich Amenities: The Creative Economy in Muskoka” on Tuesday May 10th at 1:30 p.m. at the Rotary Centre for Youth, 131 Wellington Street, Bracebridge. This is the first study of its kind for Muskoka and we are anxious to bring the community together to discuss the implications of the researchers’ findings and recommendations. All are welcome so please spread the word! This project was made possible through the financial support of Muskoka Futures and the District of Muskoka.
RSVP: info@creativemuskoka.ca

• Refining our website images. We are in the process of enhancing the images on the Creative Muskoka website to ensure they reflect the work of our supporters. You are invited to forward pictures that represent your organization and we will do our best to incorporate them into the website. Let’s keep our website dynamic! Many thanks to Shannan Boothby, Ripples Web Design for helping us with updates.

• Members of the Creative Muskoka executive had the opportunity to meet with Mayor Alice Murphy, Township of Muskoka Lakes to discuss Creative Muskoka priorities and activities. Mayor Murphy expressed strong support for our work. We continue our efforts to build networks with our Municipal partners from across Muskoka. Recent meetings have also been held with Mayor Smith, Bracebridge and District Chair John Klinck who also expressed commitment to the creative economy. We will continue to meet with municipal officials and encourage their participation in the May 10th community event introducing the University of Toronto Creative Economy Study.

• Good news on the leadership front …. The Arts Council of Muskoka has announced the launch of the Steps to Leadership Program in partnership with the Rural Ontario Institute. This three phased program will provide exceptional learning opportunities for youth in our community as well as organizational and other community leaders. Leadership is key as we work to bring transformational change to Muskoka. Interested in participating or sponsoring? Contact Becky at becky@creativepathsmuskoka.org

• You won’t want to miss the official launch of Chautauqua Muskoka as a member of the International Chautauqua Trail. A Chautauqua Round Table – A Culture & Tourism Conversation on Creating Cultures of Place will be held in association with the launch along with a whole weekend of exceptional literary speakers and events. A program of the Muskoka Lakes Music Festival http://www.muskokachautauqua.ca/events.html

• Muskoka Watershed Council continues to offer highest quality learning opportunities related to environmental research and practice – and all events held right here in our midst. 
Muskoka Stewardship Conference, April 30th at Nipissing University – Muskoka Campus http://www.muskokaheritage.org/watershed/MSC.asp AND … Environmental Lecture Series with experts from MNR, Dorset Research Centre, Environment Canada http://www.muskokaheritage.org/watershed/PDFs/Newsletters/March2011_e-Bulletin.pdf

• The Canadian Urban Institute is pleased to announce that work is now underway to develop a set of indicators and performance measures that can be used by Ontario municipalities to measure and evaluate the outcomes of Municipal Cultural Planning (MCP) in their communities. While the Cultural Indicators Project is urban based, it promises to be of interest and relevant to smaller communities as well.

• The Monieson Centre, Queen’s University continues to take the lead in building networks and dialogue related to the creative rural economy. Plan to attend the upcoming conference, The Creative Rural Community: From Theory to Practice. And yes, Muskoka is on the agenda for our work with the University of Toronto on Muskoka’s creative economy.

• The University of Waterloo has announced that Robin Brushey (former General Manager of the Downtown Huntsville Business Improvement Area) will become the Events Manager for the Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment. Robin takes up the position on April 26, 2011. Great to have a local contact for this great new facility!

• Be sure to follow us on twitter …twitter.com/CreativeMuskoka

• If you have information or notices that you would like included in our next Update … please forward information to info@creativemuskoka.ca
What is the Steps to Leadership Program?
Steps to Leadership is a three-stage package of leadership development programming that offers communities and organizations the opportunity to develop a new generation of leaders. The package has been developed by a provincial collaborative including the Rural Ontario Institute, 4H Ontario and the Foundation for Rural Living, and funding through the federal government.

What are the benefits to Muskoka?
Steps to Leadership provides the tools, knowledge and networks to build strong individual leaders ... who in turn build strong organizations, strong local economies and communities. Local, affordable and quality leadership training opportunities will enable leaders and emerging leaders in Muskoka to develop their potential and become instrumental in bringing positive, innovative change to our community.

How is the Program organized?
The Package includes three distinct programs:
• The Step Up to Leadership Workshop will inspire next generation leaders between the ages of 16 and 25 years to get involved in Muskoka. (Up to 25 participants)
• Leading Edge: First Steps is a skills-based training program that focuses on personal leadership development and organizational development. This program is for those already involved in the community as well as those who need to build confidence to get involved. 
(Up to 25 participants)
• Leading Edge: Next Steps has a community development focus and targets current leaders. Participants will enhance their ability to assess opportunities, and to better plan and develop a more economically sustainable community. (Up to 25 participants)

How can we bring this opportunity to Muskoka?
The Arts Council of Muskoka is prepared to act as lead partner organization and administrator for the Steps to Leadership Program. While the Rural Ontario Institute is subsidizing the program to ensure the opportunity reaches all of those communities interested in fostering local leadership, a community investment is required.
Total Program Cost $40,450
Community Investment $10,000
We are seeking assistance from community organizations, groups, businesses and individuals to help us bring this program to Muskoka through Program sponsorship.

Request for Sponsorship
The entire program package, including the three program components, project co-ordination & administration, marketing and outreach, is valued at over $40,450:
Cost Breakdown:
$23,450 (57.5%) from Steps to Leadership Program
$7,000 (17.5%) from participant registration fees*
$10,000 (25%) from the community investment
*There is an opportunity to receive a further program subsidy of up to 50% of registration fees

We are seeking assistance from community organizations, groups, businesses and individuals to help us bring this program to Muskoka. We strongly urge you to invest in the leaders of tomorrow through program sponsorship.

A Benefit of Sponsorship 
All sponsors will be invited to nominate a representative to sit on a Local Steering Committee. Through involvement on this Committee you will have the opportunity to shape the program and tailor it to the Muskoka situation. Committee members will play a role in:
- identifying potential program participants
- suggesting presenters to deliver the content of the programs
- marketing the programs to their networks and organizations contacts
- championing the programs
- recommending potential program venues

You will be joined on the Committee by key sector leaders representing the economic/business, agricultural, educational, tourism, environmental, political or youth sectors. 

For further information on Steps to Leadership Sponsorship contact:
Arts Council of Muskoka
Phone: 705-644-0531