This is a short list of some of the initiatives and projects we did in the last 90 days of operations to support the community during the COVID outbreak.

Multiply this level of effort by 4 for a calendar year, then by 19 for each year OI was in operation! And this is just the little staff team of about 4 FTE. Now factor in the hundreds of volunteers giving up thousands of hours of their LIVES for that length of time… wow.

I hope that I can get a full list of ALL that OI has contributed to this community, before we are denied access to our files. I’d be happy to share that with you in my own blog if I can’t do it here.

  1. We hosted Zoom Café calls to discuss resources and strategies for small businesses affected by this lockdown. A total of 11 gatherings took place online since April.
  2. We shared information from the province to the community – at first coming in like a firehose! – both on this site with regard to tourism and on OldsInstitute.com for government program updates for small business, health and social supports.
  3. We submitted what work was being done locally to Destination Development Association as they provided updates and suggestions through their webinar series – and we were recognized on an international stage for our efforts.
  4. We shared links and information to on-going tourism and business webinars from outside sources like Travel Alberta webinars series.
  5. We scoured social media and physically hit the streets to see who was open during the pandemic and who had adjusted their hours and services – then we manually posted every bit of information we could find on our website – a one-click listing to see who was #OpenInOlds.
  6. We created “Love Our Local”, a social media campaign to encourage shopping at local business, and planned to make it a regular feature through the summer to highlight as many businesses as we could!
  7. “Open, With Care” was another social & print-on-demand campaign to assure people that it was safe to be visiting our local businesses as they made adjustments to provide service in this new paradigm.
  8. We celebrated our Women of Excellence nominees on social media with shout-outs and profiles.
  9. We congratulated the efforts of Westview Co-op for showcasing the Grad Class of 2020 – that post was viewed over 7,000 times. Best wishes grads!
  10. We supported Uptowne Olds as we created a 10-day Summer Oldstice plan together so there was something happening in lieu of the annual one-day market that we could celebrate as a community.
  11. Once we were able to do so, we carefully opened our offices to allow the Olds & District Hospice Society and other non-profits to have a safe space to meet.
  12. We leveraged the Travel Alberta “Worth The Wait” campaign to encourage visitors to come appreciate safe experiences now or plan to enjoy them next year. Again, another campaign cut short.
  13. Local businesses were also supported and promoted through our “Top 10 Attractions in Uptowne” leading into Summer Oldstice starting this week.
  14. One that didn’t happen but we were prepared to do:
    At the onset of the crisis, we were 24 hours away from launching “COVID-19 Match”, a simple website where people needing assistance could find volunteers who also registered on the page to help. We were putting on the finishing touches when we were told by the Town to end it – because their Emergency Operations Centre would coordinate volunteers. So we did.
    OH!! And our partners at O-NET provided a Business Support Line that would direct small businesses to community EDO’s to answer questions about government assistance and guide them as to best suited their needs. Mountain View County, Clearwater County, Sundre, Didsbury, Carstairs and Cremona all participated in this initiative.
  15. Finally, I wrote 90 days of positive messaging to help get you – and myself – through it all. Basically, I wrote a book. Or at least a solid outline for one.

There was much more we did, but it’s obvious who can stretch a dollar farther than you might imagine when it comes to supporting community, small business and tourism initiatives even through the thick of a pandemic.

We wish you all the best in your growing olds town.

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COVID-19: Businesses, please submit your services and hour update changes through our online form >. 
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