New Years and Shifting Gears

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January, 2013

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New Years and Shifting Gears

Happy 2013! It is with warmth, excitement, and a dash of bitter-sweet that each of us at Otesha´s HeadQuarters confidently pedal into this new year, and extend to you - our extended Otesha family - the biggest and best wishes for a 2013 that is filled with discovery and adventure, fulfillment and purpose, and of course, peace and bike grease.

Now, we know we´ve got your curiosity peaked when we say a dash of bitter sweet, so allow us to fill you in on the welcomes and farewells happening at Otesha HQ. Hold onto your handlebars a second though - we´ve got one announcement first.

Get some bums on bicycles!Remember that thing about Bicycle Tours?

You´ve probably heard the rumour that The Otesha Project is big into bicycles. Maybe you´re one of our hundreds of exceptional Olumni that have participated in a tour in the past. Maybe you´re an aspiring tour member, or maybe you´re a supporter of the refreshing and creative brand of sustainability education that Otesha volunteers deliver around the country. Whoever you are, we´ve got a request for you:
Can you help Otesha get some bums on bicycle seats this touring season?

We want to fill our four 2013 Tours with wonderful people, and we need your help. These tours are invaluable - they reach hundreds of youth, students, teachers and community members and show them that there are real, impactful and joyful alternatives to apathy, injustice and unsustainability. They also have an immeasurable impact on the participants who ride on the tours, leaving their minds buzzing with new knowledge and skills, their spirits lifted with a renewed sense of wonder and inspiration, and their hearts happy with new friendships (and a great level of cardio conditioning!).

Some things are Better with a Buddy!We would love for you, your friends, your family, their friends, and their friends´ friends to join a tour. Hey, it´s a new year - why not be spontaneous and adventurous? In December, we launched the Better with a Buddy Campaign, encouraging folks to sign up for a tour with a special someone. We´re keen to get families, friends and partners on bikes together... so we´re throwing the January 1st deadline to the wind! Keep signing up with buddies and get special benefits! Any duos, trios, half-dozens of folks who sign up together can still get the Better with a Buddy Benefits until February 1st.

Now for the Bitter-Sweet...

A Farewell

Farewell Matt!In December, we said farewell to two Friendleagues (friends + colleagues) at Otesha HQ.

Matt Schaaf has spent the past two years bringing Otesha´s programs to a whole new level as the Programs Coordinator (have you seen the revamped Tours 101 or checked out the Nation to Nation Tour? Matt has been the driving force behind these any many exciting initiatives at The Otesha Project). For the next 4 months, he will be taking a much deserved sabbatical. Matt, his partner, and their two children will be reuniting with friends and family across Canada, and then heading to intern on a farm in France! Bon voyage!

The one and only Shirley Manh, Olumna of the Highlands and Islands 2010 Tour, served as Otesha´s charismatic Development
Director for the last 16 months. This Janaury, we wish her the best as she steps down from her post to pursue Farewell Shirley!new personal and professional endeavors (including starting Ottawa´s first Trade School Co-Op with a grant from Awesome Ottawa! Congrats!) We are grateful for her enthusiasm and talents (among them coordinating our most successful Organic Affair yet!). As part of her farewell, Shirley shares some parting words with the Otesha family (you!):

It is with excitement and sadness that I let you know that I will be leaving my post at The Otesha Project. I am proud of my involvement with the organization as both a program participant and then as a member of the staff team; the experiences I've shared with our community have been truly transformational. I remain a committed supporter of the work that Otesha does, and the integrity with which it is done, and I hope to contribute in other ways in the future.

Welcome AustinA Welcome

We are stoked and spoked to welcome Austin Lui as Otesha´s ChangeLink Program Coordinator. After completing a Masters in Music and Culture, Austin strapped a ukulele onto his bicycle as a volunteer tour member on the fall Phenomenal Food Tour 2012 in Ontario. We are lucky to have yet another committed, innovative and intelligent individual join our team. If you´re curious as to just how great he is - check out
this article about him!

Opportunity Knocks

The Otesha Project and
KAIROS Canada are seeking a competent and enthusiastic Community Coordinator for the Nation to Nation Tour to help create and strengthen relationships of solidarity both among the volunteer participants and between the participants and the host communities on the route. This position is specifically funded to support a young Indigenous person between the ages of 18-30ish with preference given to members of Indigenous communities in South Eastern Ontario. To see the full posting, click here.landfill harmonic

Daily Dose of Inspiration

One of our superstar volunteers, Ira, passed this along to us and we think you´ll love it too! Check out this short trailer for
Landfill Harmonic, a documentary about an orchestra " made from trash" in Paraguay.

Olumni Zone
News and opportunities for past participants of Otesha´s Cycling Tour Program and Triple-H Program

Jobs, Internships and Volunteer Opportunities Abound!

West Coast Tour Coordinator
We are on the lookout for a dedicated, organized, fun-loving Otesha Olumnus to coordinate Otesha’s 2013  West Coast Cycling and Performing Tour, and then hit the road with the team, serving as one of three tour liaisons.
Click here for the job posting.

Pedal to Plate Tour Coordinator
We are ALSO looking for another dedicated, organized, fun-loving Otesha Olumnus to coordinate the first Pedal to Plate Tour in Toronto (there have been two Pedal to Plate Tours in the Ottawa region)!
Click here for the job posting.

2013 Training Week Co-Facilitator (Internship)
Are you an Olumnus? Do you like Training Weeks? We are looking for a fun and skilled Olumnus to co-facilitate Otesha’s Changemaker Tour and West Coast Tour Training Weeks. This internship will provide the individual with professional development opportunities in facilitation, collective decision making, popular education techniques, and volunteer management. Click here for the internship posting.

Local Otesha Opportunities--changemakers and creative thinkers needed!

Hi, my name is Austin and I work for you! Oh yes, my job is to ensure that Otesha can support your future endeavors, promote how Otesha jams and connect you with other amazing Olumni in your city! Over the past 2 years, Otesha HQ has been connecting with Olumni across the country to find out how they want to stay involved in the organization to make it stronger.Whatever your post-Otesha life looks like, I am sure the Otesha blood is still in you.  And we’re glad it still is, because we are looking for people like you to be involved in our new Otesha hubs!

In 2012 we launched our ChangeLink program and now we are here to present you with our goal for 2013.  This year, The Otesha Project is trying to bring Otesha to your city! Who’s going to do that, you ask? WHY YOU ARE with the support of other Otesha Olumni in your community!  If you’re interested in:

* Building connections with other Olumni;
* Developing Otesha's local and national partnerships;
* Gaining new skills and developing old ones; or
* Spreading the Otesha jam in your community by performing plays, facilitating workshops and planning events...

ChangeLink...Then come talk to us and see how!  We will be hosting a conference call to establish how we can support you in bringing Otesha to your own backyard.  Just fill out this doodle poll with your availability and email and let's get these spokes turning!

If you are interested or have any questions, feel free to contact Or you can check out
this link for more information.

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New Years and Shifting Gears,
Austin, Kira and Elly | The Otesha Project | 153 Chapel Street | Ottawa | Ontario | K1N 1H5 | Canada