Meeting Canadian Colleagues: Memories of Wendy Keen

My most vivid recollections of my time as Nova Scotia’s CASW Director have to be the many meeting with social workers from across Canada. Talking with them and listening to them about their struggles and triumphs helped me understand that social work in Nova Scotia is a challenging and rewarding as social work in Saskatchewan or social work in BC. I had a geography lesson wherever I went; not until I joined the board did I hear about Weyburn, Saskatchewan, a place where two particular directors, Maureen and Margot, had something in common. It seemed that everything happened in Weyburn while I was a director.

I recall an annual meeting in St John’s, where I participated in the initial development of the Child Welfare Project, Creating Conditions for Good Practice, and then seeing the research formally presented at the national conference in Moncton. I recall hearing Stephen Lewis speak so eloquently and passionately about the role of social workers in world peace and understanding at the international conference in Montreal. I also recall the work I was involved in with Léger and Léger, trying to get an understanding of the future for social workers in Canada.

My very first contact with CASW was in 1993, when I played tour guide to CASW board members as they visited Halifax. On that occasion I first met my friend and mentor Margot Herbert. She was sitting on a high stool in the Holiday Inn chatting to John Mould. Margot and I became kindred spirits and our relationship continues to this day. Not only was I the provider of lobsters that weekend, but I was also maker of the potato salad during our Bluenose initiation at Gwen Fitzgerald’s cottage: a lovely time to share Nova Scotia with other Canadian social workers.

More recently I participated with joy at the CASW national conference in Halifax and became reacquainted with friends from CASW. How lovely it is to see directors before me and directors since so actively and passionately involved in the profession. Thank you CASW, at 80 years young, for the privilege of being part of your life.

Wendy Keen, MSW, RSW