Step up to Leadership

A group of volunteers working outside in a garden

Parks and Recreation’s Neighbourhood & Volunteer Services team offers a free, eight-session Step up to Leadership course. The course was developed by volunteers, for volunteers. It covers a wide range of topics to help you develop leadership skills and build strong communities.

Spring 2024 Sessions

The spring 2024 Step Up to Leadership registration is now closed. Thanks to everyone for your interest!

Dartmouth Location

Cost: Free!
When: Wednesday, March 27 to May 22, 2024 (no class on April 17)
Time: 6:30 - 8:30  p.m.
Where: North Preston Community Centre, 44 Simmonds Road, North Preston
Ages: 18+

Halifax Location

Cost: Free!
When: Tuesday, April 16 to June 4, 2024
Time: 6:30 - 8:30  p.m.
Where: Halifax Commons Aquatic Centre, 1999 Bell Road, Halifax
Ages: 18+

The course has a full, well-rounded agenda to provide the necessary tools and techniques to create effective leadership and community involvement. Some of the topics we cover include:

  • personality types
  • planning for your passion
  • team work & group dynamics
  • diversity
  • communication & conflict resolution
  • creating a non-profit organization
  • the legalities and practicalities of being a board member for a non-profit organization
  • effective meetings
  • public speaking

If you have questions, please contact Jasmine Du, Community Developer at

Step up to Leadership session descriptions

Session 1: Come as You Are

The opening session of Step Up to Leadership covers program orientation and the value of grassroots participation.  You are encouraged to voice your expectations and what you hope to learn. This first session will enhance your self-awareness, develop your sensitivity to others, and highlight your leadership qualities. Participants will create the ground rules to make the Step Up to Leadership classroom a safe, supportive, and comfortable environment.

Session 2: Leadership, Collaboration & Teamwork

The purpose of this session is to model a new type of leadership – collaborative leadership. You will gain a better understanding about working as a team and how to collaborate. You will learn to recognize phases of group dynamics typically experienced when people work together.

Session 3: Diversity & Inclusion

This session will create a deeper understanding of what is meant by diversity. In this way, we become more aware of how people are affected by prejudice in the attitudes and actions of others. Participants learn ways to combat prejudice and institutionalized injustice and learn to demonstrate ways to share life experiences with those different from us, and to build the relationships necessary for creating an inclusive community. Embracing Diversity, therefore, requires participants to focus on connecting with people one on one. Regardless of belonging to the same social group or not, each one of us is unique.

Session 4: Planning for Change

The purpose of Planning for Change is to provide an opportunity to identify what you are passionate about doing in your community. You will become familiar with planning as a process to help clarify your groups goals and direct your choices. You will see the importance of having a vision, explore the values that motivate, learn how to set goals, and create an inventory of your communities’ strengths.

Session 5: Communication & Conflict

Effective leaders must be able to work through conflicts without losing sight of their goals. Messages we hear growing up  “If he hits you, hit him back,” “Don’t rock the boat,” “Tit for tat,” and “Leave well enough alone.” Today’s complex world demands a wider range of responses and greater skill at resolving conflict. This session provides information and strategies that will help participants turn conflict into opportunity.

Session 6: Board Legalities

This session provides an understanding of how nonprofit organizations work and the legal standards boards must follow. Participants will also learn about the importance of managing risk and how boards can improve on this.

Session 7: Board Practicalities & Effective Meetings

This session covers the basics about boards; becoming familiar with subgroup structures, governing bodies; roles and responsibilities of members; officer duties; and board tips. This session also provides information on how to plan and conduct meetings. Participants will learn the basics of parliamentary procedure, although not every meeting needs to be conducted under the formal rules of parliamentary procedure. You will also learn how to prepare for and conduct informal planning meetings, as well as things that can go wrong in meetings and tools for handling them.

Session 8: Funding the Way & Stepping Up

This session provides tips on how to speak effectively and persuasively. These tips apply whether you hesitate to speak at all or say so much that people stop listening. Participants will find lessons in Speak Up, Speak Out particularly useful as they prepare a presentation about their passion for the final session, Stepping Out and the graduation ceremony.