“It’s (Slave Lake Adult Education Committee) really evolved over the years,” says Tim Horsman. “There’s lots of different guidelines that need to be followed. It became much more strict as time went on.”
After 20 years on SLAE board, Horsman has stepped down for personal reasons. However, he hasn’t completely shut the door on returning in the future.
“It was a good program,” he says. “I enjoyed working with the rest of the board. It was good learning.” He also had good things to say about the various program coordinators he’s worked with over the years.
For a portion of the first 10 years, Horsman was the health liaison on the board, but has been strictly volunteer for the last 10. Over the years, he’s been involved in various programs and in connecting people in health services with education. One of these programs was putting together baby book bags with public health and the community reading program.
Since 1981, there has been some form of adult education in Slave Lake, says former program coordinator, Karen Plourde in a history of SLAE. In 1984, SLAE was formed, originally under a different name. Over the years, it has partnered with the High Prairie School Division, and Town of Slave Lake. It is currently partnered with Northern Lakes College.
Over the years, it has been involved in literacy and other training.
Along with adult education, SLAE is well known in the community for putting on the Christmas craft sale during Moonlight Madness, says Horsman. It raised funds for the food bank and Santas Anonymous.
This year, a different group organized the Christmas sale, says Donna Twin, Slave Lake Adult Education program coordinator.. “I don’t know what next year will look like.”
SLAE is busy teaching courses.
“When COVID happened we switched to online,” says Twin. There’s been quite a bit of interest in basic computers – Zoom, Word, Excel, etc.
In the slight lull in COVID cases during the fall, SLAE was able to offer some Firearm Safety courses, but hasn’t offered food safety since before March.
These safety courses work better in-person, says Twin.
SLAE literacy program ‘Read with Sight and Sound’ is online. In the new year, it hopes to add ‘Write Right’ and a learner’s permit course. Plourde is developing these courses.
‘Write Right’ is the basics of how to write grammatically correct, says Twin. All of the SLAE courses are very basic skills. People wanting to finish high school and do college upgrading can do that through Northern Lakes College.
At the moment, it provides courses within the following Alberta government guidelines: adult literacy, numeracy, English language learning, basic computer skills, foundational life skills, and family literacy.
SLAE is always looking for tutors and there is room for more board members, says Twin. Many of the tutors get paid and there is training to learn how to teach the various courses.