Step Up To Leadership

A group of volunteers working outside in a garden

Parks and Recreation’s Neighbourhood & Volunteer Services team offers a free, nine-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 2022 sessions

Spring 2022 Step Up to Leadership sessions are now open for registration. Registration closes on March 18, 2022. 

Cost: Free!

When: Wednesdays, March 23 to May 18, 2022

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Where: Fairbanks Centre at 54 Locks Road, Shubie Park, Dartmouth

Course code: 00051338

Ages: 18+

Register at any municipal recreation centre or online at using the course code above. 

For more information, please contact Darren Hirtle, Community Developer at 902-225-5806 or

The program 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'll 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 Darren Hirtle, 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 grass¬roots 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: Planning for Your Passion
The purpose of Planning for Your Passion is to provide an opportunity to identify what you are passion¬ate about doing in your community. You will become familiar with planning as a process to help clarify your goals and direct your choices. You will see the importance of having a vision, explore the values that motivate you, learn how to set goals, and create inventories of your own personal strengths.

Session 3: Team Up
The purpose of Team Up 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 recog¬nize phases of group dynamics typically experienced when people work together.

Session 4: Understanding Diversity
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. Par-ticipants learn ways to combat prejudice and institutionalized injustice.

Session 5: Embracing Diversity & Conflict as Opportunity
In this session participants will 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. If we are to truly respect this uniqueness   to value diversity   effective communication is essential.

In addition, 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: All Aboard – The Legalities & Practicalities
This session provides an understanding of how nonprofit organizations work and the legal standards boards must follow. This session rein¬forces the principle that grassroots voices are needed on community boards and other community organizations by providing sufficient infor¬mation so newly elected members are confident in their role. Under¬standing the basics about boards; becoming familiar with subgroup structures, governing bodies; roles and responsibilities of members; officer duties; and board tips.

Session 7: Meeting Manners and Meeting Matters
This session provides information on how to plan and conduct meetings. Participants learn the basics of parliamentary procedure as explained in Robert’s Rules of Order. Not every meeting needs to be conducted under the formal rules of parliamentary procedure, however. 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: Speak Up, Speak Out
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 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, Step¬ping Out and the graduation ceremony.

Session 9: Stepping Out
Celebrate success; champion your passion; and identify how Step Up to Leadership worked for you. Participants can put their knowledge and skills to work by planning for their own closing celebration.