COSCA has an awful lot of ‘irons in the fire’ in our mission to preserve and enhance Scottish heritage. So many that it is sometimes difficult to keep track of everything that has gone on. So we have assembled a wee summary of the highlights of the last two years of COSCA work. This isn’t everything that we have accomplished of course, but it will provide a great reminder of how much is going on and how much more there is to do.
Scottish Ancestral Global Alliance: An early achievement was identifying disconnected global Scottish diaspora leaders and organizations and beginning to build a strong and productive network and working relationship with them. Today COSCA and our friends at Scottish Australian Heritage Council, Clans And Scottish Societies of Canada, Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, Society of Scottish Armigers and others have collaborated to develop important joint Scottish diaspora policy positions and statements, issued joint communications to the Scottish government on diaspora matters, and continue to bring the power of a more unified global Scottish ancestral diaspora to bear in support of a stronger future for us all.
Global Scottish Ancestral Diaspora Clearing House & Advocate: Beginning with Scotland’s tragic failure in mid 2012 to deliver its promised International Clan Gathering and continuing today, COSCA has been at the forefront of international Scottish diaspora developments advocating for the interests of the Scottish American ancestral diaspora. Eventually turning lemons into a tiny bit of lemonade, COSCA and our global Scottish diaspora partners were able to significantly influence the final nature of last summer’s Bannockburn Live celebrations to be of much greater interest and excitement to the Scottish ancestral diaspora.
Scottish Clan & Family Leadership Boot Camp Webinars: By the summer of 2012, we had launched our Scottish organization training webinar series. Offered to help Scottish societies better cope with the administrative aspects governing their non profit organizations. Webinars offered free online training in non profit corporate governance, tax exempt status, membership recruitment, Tartan myths, Scottish heraldry and others.
Stone Mountain Chiefs & Clans Conference: COSCA and SCSC collaborated in October of 2012 to bring together the largest gathering of Chiefs and Clan/Family leaders since the 2009 Scottish Clan Convention in Edinburgh. Not only was the Stone Mountain event itself a historic gathering and a huge hit but it opened an important conference series including our now 4th annual national Scottish American conference, the Scottish Clan & Family Caucus, to be held at Historic Rural Hill April 17 – 19, 2015.
Scottish Society Online Meeting Hosting: By 2013 we were hosting our first online meetings for our organizational members and we continue this great program today. We recognize that online technical facility is difficult to embrace for many of our volunteer non profit members yet there is a great desire to be able to convene online meetings and workshops. Since 2013 COSCA has provided free online conference set up and hosting for several Scottish clan and family societies and we have capacity for many more!
New COSCA Website. In 2013, having received a bit of funding from the Scottish government, COSCA was able to launch a new much more useful and informative website to help communicate with our members and network with the greater Scottish community. Just a few months ago we updated our web domain to COSCA.Scot, becoming one of the very first adopters of Scotland’s new .Scot domain. We are pleased to say that COSCA’s website is continually improving and we are constantly implementing new ideas and programs to better serve our members and friends. Yes, we tell you a bit about COSCA and our history but the COSCA website isn’t about COSCA. It is all about the Scottish American community. It gives you stuff our members and friends really need and we are very proud of that.
COSCA Social Media Launch: In September 2013 COSCA made the somewhat frightening decision to get serious about bringing our services and support for Scottish Americans to a social media audience. We set up our COSCA Facebook Page and began to tweet like we meant it. What we found was a whole new world of Scottish American activity and interest. Social media is the language and tool of young America and COSCA has been determined to go there and speak their language. We are delighted to say that our three primary social media outlets ( COSCA’s Facebook Page, COSCA Caucus FB Group and of course our Wandering Scots Book Club FB Group) are speaking to an energetic and growing new audience and making a difference for thousands of individuals previously without good access to COSCA’s programs.
2nd Annual Scottish Clan & Family Caucus at Grandfather Mountain: COSCA hosted our second major international Scottish ancestral diaspora conference at Grandfather Mountain in July 2013. The event was a huge success and encouraged us to continue the tradition annually, which we have. You can learn more about COSCA’s Caucus program at COSCA.Scot.
Scottish Clan & Family Caucus Working Groups: Following COSCA’s 2nd Annual Scottish Clans & Families Caucus, and pursuant to specific direction from the Caucus participants speaking as a Committee of the Whole, COSCA formed and launched a series of Caucus Working Groups to carry on the business and progress of the Caucus through the coming year. The most productive of those Working Groups has been the International Clan Gathering Working Group, involving Scottish heritage stakeholders from within and outside of COSCA and from the United States and Scotland. The work of this prestigious and talented group has garnered the attention of the Scottish mainstream media, the Scottish government, VisitScotland and others interested in the very hot topic of past and future International Clan Gatherings. COSCA remains the leader of the global ICG discussion.
Wandering Scots Book Club: COSCA launched the world’s first Scottish history and heritage online book club on January 1, 2014. We set up a WSBC Facebook Group as well as a special page at the COSCA.Scot website to encourage active discussion and banter and it has worked. The over 150 members of the FB Group and the visitors to the WSBC web page have explored, discussed, debated and learned from topics including Scots interactions with Native Americans in the 18th Century to military Scots in America to our next topic, 200 Years of Scottish Historical Fiction. We are currently looking forward to the upcoming video discussion panel on January 31, 2015 featuring Outlander author Diana Gabaldon and a host of esteemed panelists.
Open Letter To Scottish First Minister Concerning Preservation of Culloden Battlefield: Early in 2013 a residential development proposal that would significantly and adversely impact the Culloden Battlefield hit the radar screens. COSCA immediately joined the coalition to help preserve and protect this most significant of Scottish historical assets and submitted a detailed open letter to Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond criticizing the proposal and advocating not only better protection at Culloden but development of a more reliable and protective national policy to preserve Scotland’s important historical assets. COSCA and the ancestral diaspora’s strong advocacy in favor of preservation (good work folks) helped move the Culloden development into productive negotiations for compromise and Scotland has now developed a new Historic Built Environment Strategy. COSCA will continue to monitor events and opportunities in Scotland to preserve and protect our ancestral heritage.
Bannockburn Live! COSCA was privileged to take an active partnership role with VisitScotland, The National Trust For Scotland, Clanranald Trust For Scotland, the SCSC and the Scottish Government to develop the very best possible presentation at June’s historic 700th Anniversary Celebration of the Battle of Bannockburn outside Stirling, Scotland. COSCA’s tent on the Bannockburn field that weekend was ‘clan central’ as we hosted Chiefs, Clan and Family Society leaders and members and many many Scottish residents who were keen to learn more about their ancestral cousins across the globe. Thanks to the cooperation of Clanranald and EventScotland we were able to arrange special viewing arrangements for several Clan Chiefs who keenly wanted to enjoy the hugely popular battle reenactments.
Scottish Clan & Family Forum: While in Scotland in June, COSCA attended the initial scoping meeting of the newly formed Scottish Clan & Family Forum at Stirling University, Stirling, Scotland. Scottish Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism Fergus Ewing MSP had previously appointed COSCA to serve on the forum representing the Scottish American ancestral diaspora and we happily accepted. The Forum meets quarterly to work toward its mission to foster closer and more productive relations between Scotland and her ancestral diaspora and to encourage Scottish ancestral tourism by seeking ways to make travel easier and less expensive making the ancestral tourist experience the best that it can be.
3rd Annual Scottish Clan & Family Caucus: COSCA immediately returned from Scotland to host the 3rd Annual Scottish Clan & Family Caucus at Grandfather Mountain. Our third Caucus offered outstanding expert presentations on using social media to grow society membership and gain volunteers, Scottish genealogy master class and other workshops with Dr. Bruce Durie, updates from SCSC Vice Convenor Alex Leslie, gaelic lectures and book signings by Dr. Michael Newton and much more. You can learn more about COSCA’s Caucus program at COSCA.Scot
International Clan Gathering Working Group Final Report: COSCA gained international media attention with the release in July of our International Clan Gathering Final Report. The report, including recommendations for future action and the results of a national survey regarding diaspora views toward a future international clan gathering was widely and very positively received and will help inform future progress toward the next international Scottish clan and family gathering in Scotland.
COSCA Circuit Rider Program: We were extremely pleased to launch our regional Circuit Rider pilot program this summer in the Rocky Mountain region. The goal of the Circuit Rider program is to bring service and support to the Scottish American true grassroots all across America. COSCA Rocky Mountain Circuit Rider Scott Perez tested the waters by attending a sampling of mid sized and smaller Scottish games and festivals across the Rocky Mountain west this summer on a fact finding tour and to introduce COSCA’s Circuit Rider program. We know that the most vulnerable and yet critical element of Scottish heritage in America are the Scottish Clan and Family Society tent convenors – our Scottish Grassroots. These folks are the front line infantry of the Scottish world and without them the Scottish games and festivals tradition in the United States would collapse with Scottish heritage along with it. Too many convenors receive precious little support from their clan or family societies as the national clan groups too often lack sufficient human and financial resources to help much. COSCA finds it unacceptable that Scottish clan and family tent convenors are often forced to pay for their costs out of their own pockets. We have created the COSCA Circuit Rider program to help change that and to make life easier and more productive for the Scottish grass roots army.
COSCA Seannachaidh Program: COSCA recently appointed the world’s leading Scottish genealogist Dr. Bruce Durie as our official Seannachaidh. Dr. Durie will be conducting online and in person workshops, posting resources and answering questions having to do with Scottish genealogy, heraldry and history for COSCA members and friends at COSCA.Scot. We know that there are few if any other subjects that interest Scottish Americans more than these so COSCA is getting serious about our focus on supporting genealogy and DNA projects. We will provide education and resources not only for Scottish Americans interested in their own family history but also to the growing and very important cadre of Scottish Clan and Family society volunteer genealogists and DNA project managers. We have already begun to construct the Seannachaidh page at COSCA.Scot and Dr. Durie will begin his personal workshops in April at the 4th Annual Scottish Clan & Family Caucus at Historic Rural Hill.
Planet COSCA.Scot: Last November saw the launch of COSCA’s weekly e newsletter Planet COSCA.Scot. As a much more vigorous and useful news vehicle than an occasional newsletter Planet COSCA.Scot is a service to help keep our members and friends informed and involved in what’s happening in the world of Scottish heritage and ancestry in a fresh and appealing way and it updates a growing army of thousands of Scots across the globe.
If you would like to learn more about COSCA and our work or if you would like to get involved, join or invest, please visit COSCA.Scot and “Like” us on Facebook.