Our Courses


Feb 28 - June 23, 2023

Building Strong and Resilient Communities

The ACTivate (Activating Community Tourism) program is an exciting collaboration between GMIST and The Coady Institute at St. Francis Xavier University that will support community change leaders who wish to learn how to apply a citizen-led approach to community development.   This program is aimed at proactive learners who wish to explore the strengths in their communities as opposed to focusing on the deficiencies.  And, most importantly, the program will introduce ways to activate those strengths to create strong and resilient communities.

Working with their fellow change agents, participants in this program will begin to discover their core story and apply learned principles, practices and tools that support citizen led initiatives.   We will challenge the “conventional approach” to community development. As a community change agent, you will rethink how you engage your fellow citizens in community-based initiatives.

The program is designed into two levels with each level leading to a St. Francis Xavier University Certificate in Asset Based Community Development Level I and Level II.

The Learning Process

This is very much an action-oriented hands-on learning program, so we have developed it to support a variety of learning approaches.  We will be using a blended learning environment that will entail both online and face to face learning opportunities spread out over a number of months.   Through an engaging Adult Education approach we will draw on the strengths of everyone within the learning environment.  Using case studies, living labs, readings, group and individual work you will be exposed to many concepts and practices while being given the opportunity to put those into action and also reflect on and evaluate them.

ACTivate Level I

The first level of the program is focused on working with a core group of change leaders and support agents from across Atlantic Canada.   We will be exploring the core principles and practices of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) through a variety of immersive experiences and learning sessions.   You will then be tasked with going back to your community to create an action plan that is citizen led.  Level I will run from late February to late June of 2023.

ACTivate Level II

Those wishing to apply the ABCD practice deeper in their communities will have the opportunity to apply for the second level of the program.  We will select a limited number of communities and support agents/enablers from among the participants in Level I.  These will become key learning sites around Atlantic Canada.  The ACTivate team from St. FX Coady And GMIST will work with the chosen communities as they put their learning into action and work towards identifying and implementing a citizen led initiative of their choosing.  This phase of the program will be delivered with a combination of in-community, online and group face to face learning and development opportunities.   Level II will run from September of 2023 to October of 2024.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Understand their community’s core story
  • Understand the difference between needs based and asset based (ABCD) approaches to development
  • Learn how to map community assets – truly understand the gifts that exist in their communities
  • Practice different approaches to community development
  • Learn how to use a strength based approach with associations and external agencies
  • Apply a citizen led approach to a community initiative

Ideal Participants

This program is for community minded change agents from NGOs, government and community associations who see a need to apply a different approach to development.  ACTivate participants value the opportunity of a citizen led process and believe at their very core that the answers to issues and challenges don’t reside within an outside entity but within the gifts and talents of their neighbours.   This program is about activating your community/organization strengths, so we are seeking people who are collaborators and doers!


For level I you will be expected to attend a number of online group sessions, a 4 day in-community training session held in Gros Morne, Newfoundland and Labrador and lead an in-community initiative.

For level II you will be expected to attend a combination of online, in-community and group sessions over an approximate 12-month time frame.


All accepted participants into this Certificate program will be provided a full scholarship to offset the costs of the program.

GMIST will cover the costs of all onsite accommodations for participants from community organizaitons and meals for group meetings.  *Exceptions Apply

In addition, GMIST will reimburse up to $1000 travel expenses for participants from community organizations, from home airport to Gros Morne, NL for the in-person sessions for Level I.  *Exceptions Apply

To Learn More

To learn more about the program you can download further information – EOI Community Leaders or EOI Government.


Applications for this program have now closed.  Official start date for the program is Feb 28th!


 For more information, please email info@gmist.ca


Supported by: Government of Canada