Aboriginal Leadership Development Program (ALDP)
The Aboriginal Leadership Development Program is an exciting national, four year training and development program aimed at developing a cadre of Aboriginal leaders within Parks Canada - a knowledgeable, skilled network of individuals in a variety of functions and levels in the organization. The program’s fundamental goal is full-time, long-term retention of Aboriginal leaders in the Agency through skills development and personal learning plans.
Aboriginal Leadership Development Program participants © Parks Canada
The ALDP has been delivered in the Yukon Field Unit since 2000. Each year 12 new participants from across the country are accepted into the program. These individuals will serve as role models, enhancing and enriching Parks Canada by integrating Aboriginal culture within all facets of our organization.
The program provides a holistic approach to training and development, respecting and incorporating Aboriginal culture. Two elders are on site to provide knowledge, support and guidance. Participants are challenged mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. The ALDP enables participants to develop their leadership potential and assist them in exploring career opportunities within the Parks Canada Agency.
Journey to Leadership - Reflections of the Participant Experience 2008
Penny McIsaac and Program Director Nicola Pritchett © Parks Canada
It is an honour to have been asked to share my experiences of a program that has had such a profound impact on my life. When you live something so strong, it is hard to describe it in words, and I hope my words can do justice to my experiences. The Aboriginal Leadership Development Program (ALDP) has allowed me to embark on a journey that has opened my eyes to the world around me, to the person within me and to the endless possibilities that lay ahead.
The opportunity to spend three weeks with an extraordinary group of people from across Canada, sharing a common vision and respect for nature and for the Parks Canada Agency, has been one of the most empowering experiences of my professional career. Each participant in the program contributed by bringing perspectives and experiences from different backgrounds that guided us along our ALDP journey. We each came to the program on a personal journey; whether that be a journey to discover our spirituality, our past, our ancestors, a journey to strengthen our faith, a journey to understand ourselves, a journey to challenge ourselves or a journey to become leaders within our organization, we all began that journey together. It is through teamwork, personal defeats and dedication that we have bonded and formed a group that provides support, comfort, acceptance and a family for each other.
This program has impacted my life in various ways, both personally and professionally. As an aboriginal person who grew up in a non-traditional setting, participating in the ALDP was an intimidating and frightening opportunity. I had no previous knowledge or experience with the traditions or culture of my Mi'kmaq ancestry. This program was at times frightening, mentally and physically tiring and extremely challenging, yet despite all of the struggles, or maybe because of them, this program has been most of all rewarding. The ALDP has given me the tools to be a successful and effective leader, the desire to become a bridge between aboriginal communities and the Parks Canada Agency, the support to not fear failure, the motivation to strive for excellence, and the confidence and pride to say that I am a Mi'kmaq woman.
Since returning home, I have begun my own personal journey to become a more valuable member of the Agency and a more involved member of my aboriginal community. The ALDP has helped me to identify my strengths and weaknesses, opening my eyes to opportunities within the organization where I can become an effective leader. In my community, I have initiated the development of an Aboriginal Heritage Group so that I may continue to learn and practice the traditions of my people and so that I may share the knowledge, skills and passion that I received from my experiences in the Yukon. The ALDP has given me a strong foundation onto which I am beginning to build a new and important chapter of my life.
None of these experiences would have been possible if it were not for the hard work and dedication of the coordinators, the elders, and the many presenters who offered their time, knowledge and expertise. Very importantly, none of the wonderful experiences shared between participants across Canada would have been possible without the support of each participant's managers, field units and from the Parks Canada Agency as a whole. Thank you for seeing the value in the ALDP and for recognizing the positive impact it has on Parks Canada employees and the organization.
Thank you, Welalin,
2008 Year 1 ALDP participant
Gros Morne National Park of Canada