Nova Scotia Training, Fall 2019

In the Fall of 2019, National Program Coordinator, Michelle Kehoe, along with the Research Coordinator, Nicole D’souza, and Research Assistant, Tristan Supino, were lucky enough to visit Nova Scotia to conduct an intense week of training. The three met with the Eskasoni Mental Health Services (EMHS) team at their local Access Centre, and with the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq Nova Scotia (CMMNS) team.

The first training was a 45-minute drive from the LTOA team’s lodging; however, Michelle, Nicole and Tristan didn’t mind the commute, as they got to drive through beautiful landscapes. One morning they even left a little earlier than necessary to stop and snap some photos of the scenery. Upon their arrival in Eskasoni, the team was greeted by a familiar face, Mary, who had come to Montreal this past summer for LTOA’s annual TESE meeting. Michelle recognized more familiar faces from her last travels to Eskasoni in the spring with B.C. Regional Coordinator Erin, while Nicole and Tristan had a chance to meet the rest of the EMHS Team. The training of the 14 family program sessions meant an intense and jam-packed two days. The EMHS team was already familiar with certain aspects of the LTOA program, as they had implemented the smaller School Program in the spring, which helped the training move along smoothly. All the hard work paid off, and everyone involved has a small Tree of Life drawing to show for it.

On Wednesday the team traveled from Sydney to Millbrook. Normally, this drive is a doable 4 hours, but it ended up taking the team 7. Michelle, seeking fun opportunities and having a good sense of adventure, found amazing spots to stop along the way: skipping rocks on the water, scouting out some tiny jellyfish, and embracing freezing and blustering winds for a chance to walk along a rocky beach.

The second training took place in Millbrook. As with the first training, the round with CMMNS would also be a busy two days. The Mental Wellness Manager, Katie, welcomed the LTOA team members and introduced them to her larger team. This would be the third time meeting with Katie, as she was personally introduced to the LTOA program members at a meeting held in Winnipeg, February 2019, and attended the annual TESE meeting in Montreal at the end of August, 2019. Throughout the training the CMMNS team asked many good questions, proposed different suggestions, and were eager for their first implementation of the LTOA program. Despite not having previous experience with LTOA, their engagement made it clear that they had a deep grasp of the contents.

To cap off the intense week, Michelle, Nicole, and Tristan drove visited a nearby Farmer’s Market, following a recommendation offered by a CMMNS team member. Michelle and Nicole bought locally made lip-balm, while Tristan found room for a second serving of tacos from the food truck outside. The day closed with another long drive to Rushtons Beach Provincial Park, where they watched the sunset while fighting off mosquitos.


This trip was a great opportunity for the members of the LTOA team to connect and build stronger ties with community partners. The LTOA team looks forward to hearing about the implementation process and the creative elements each team brings to the program.

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