Drayton Valley is a community located 133 km southwest of Edmonton in central Alberta and consist of approximately 7,000 people.Known for its vast oil fields, the Town of Drayton Valley relies economically on oil and gas extraction/production. The town development plan shows a community experiencing rapid growth prior to the decline in oil prices, with efforts now underway to diversify the economy through initiatives such as the establishment of the Clean Energy Technology Centre. Despite these efforts, educators and mental health professionals report higher than the national average rates of anxiety and depression and three-fold increase in the caseloads of family support workers.In the past, the municipality of Drayton Valley have made efforts to support young people’s resilience through social policies related to housing and education, family supports such as subsidized daycare spaces (to encourage young families to relocate to the community), industry hiring practices that engage young workers locally, family supports to deal with the pressures of demanding jobs and absent parents, and community development strategies that address social problems like substance abuse among young transient workers. Drayton Valley Municipal Council has been working for several years to create a more sustainable economy in response to boom-bust cycles in the oil and gas sector.
Site Research Coordinator
Kathleen is the Project Manager for the RYSE Project based at the Resilience Research Centre. Kathleen has a diverse array of research, programmatic, policy, and project management experience, having worked in the area of positive parenting interventions, youth mental health, artificial intelligence and health, and Indigenous health research. She has a Biology degree from St. Francis Xavier University, and received her Master of Public Health at the University of Toronto, specializing in health promotion and public health policy. Her work has been local, national, and international in scope.
Local Advisory Committee
Tom McGeeTown Councillor and Representative for RYSE
Dana WagnerRYSE Research Assistant
Chad StrandOil & Gas Representative
Lola StrandDistrict FCSS Director
Jessica DoucetteAlberta Health Service
Dana Sharp-McleanAddiction Services
Russ HickmanWild Rose School Division
Town Councillor and Official Council Representative for RYSE
My history with the Town of Drayton Valley started in 1963 as a youth growing up in a boom-bust community. My political career with the Town started in 1983. I was elected Councillor from 1983-1989; Mayor 1989-1998; and acclaimed to Council in 2018. I was asked to sit on our RYSE Committee and joined the team in South Africa (Secunda).
Our boom-bust economy and now our world pandemic have created an interesting crisis. RYSE is allowing our team leaders the opportunity to gather information that will help inform us, so that we can make long-term decisions that will guide our community into our new future.
Dana Wagner has lived in Drayton Valley for 31 years. She has a passion for the well-being of her community and the youth in it. She has been involved with Girl Guides for 18 years, helping to shape the lives of countless girls & young women. Dana joined the RYSE team in 2018 as a Research Assistant. Alongside her work with RYSE, Dana also works at the Community MAT Program – Drayton Valley’s homeless shelter.
Chad Strand has worked in the oil and gas industry for the past 25 years as a truck driver, a dispatcher and in sales. His extensive knowledge and experience has made him a great asset to the RYSE Local Advisory Committee.
Lola Strand, has worked with Drayton Valley and District FCSS for the past 11 years. She holds a Diploma in Social Work and a Degree in Human Service Administration from Grant MacEwan University. Born and raised in Drayton Valley, Lola has a deep passion for her community and the resiliency of its residents. She loves rallying the troops around community issues has initiated many successful community development projects.
Jessica Doucette is a RN by trade and has been a School and Community Health Facilitator for the past 14 years. She serves WRSD and the communities of Brazeau County, Drayton Valley and Breton. She loves both her jobs and works hard to promote wellness, safety and relationships in her schools and communities. She is a busy mom to 2 daughters and 2 step sons, loves theatre and nature.
My interest is reducing barriers (including stigma) and strengthening youth and families in their communities. I am a Social Worker in Addiction & Mental Health and enjoy working with youth and their families.
I am the chair of Wild Rose School Division board of trustees. My interest is in improving the life chances of our students and youth. I also serve on the board of the Pembina Crisis Connection Society and volunteer for the Eleanor Pickup Arts Centre and Drayton Valley Historical Society. I am a retired teacher and was active in my professional association locally and provincially.
Youth Advisory Committee
My name is Chaise Combs. I was born and raised in Drayton Valley, Alberta. Currently, I live in Red Deer (AB) and attend the local college where I serve as the Vice President Student Life at the school’s Students’ Association. I self identify as an addict and have used community engagement/service as a catalyst in my recovery. I believe very much in the RYSE project and am lucky enough to have been involved with it from the grant writing phase. There is nothing more exciting than being able to give back to my community. I look forward to doing so in whatever capacity I can going forward.