The latest message from Owen Charters, President & CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (April 3). Full transcript below.
It is the end of the third week of self-isolation and we are now hearing that it may be up to twelve more weeks in some jurisdictions in order to ensure we have this pandemic under control.
These are tough times. There is no doubt this situation has created pressures that were unforeseen and unimaginable.
But what is also incredible is that we have seen each of you respond in similarly unforeseen and unimaginable ways.
I have talked already over the last few weeks about the way Clubs are providing essential community supports—you are going above and beyond to make sure that children, youth, and families are fed, sheltered, and supported. Thank you.
And you have embraced new ways of working. Zoom conference calls are a way of life now, and many of our calendars are full from morning to night with Zoom meeting invites.
Many of you are also looking at empty calendars. No events. No date of return. And for far too many of you, a calendar that does not have a return to work date in it. Yet.
We have told your story to government, and government is listening. We know that we need wage and core cost supports. We are encouraged to see charities and nonprofits mentioned by politicians in their relief plans. Many of the wage support measures we have seen so far are indeed useful and applicable to many of our Club staff who are laid off today.
But we are seeking more support that ensures our Clubs are resilient and remain the core of communities throughout this period, and especially that we are ready to open our doors when that glorious time comes again.
Some of that support has come from our incredible partners: Coca-Cola Canada, President’s Choice Children’s Charity, goeasy, Hyundai, Peerage Capital, CIBC, Google, and many individual contributors.
We are #ClubStrong.
We have been around since 1900. Our Clubs have seen world wars, recessions, and depression. Our Clubs have survived other epidemics and pandemics, from Spanish Flu to SARS and now to COVID-19. After 9/11, our Gander Club in Newfoundland was part of housing errant travellers. Our Edmonton Club took in fleeing Club members from Fort McMurray’s wildfire. These are just some recent examples of how our Clubs are Club strong.
Ultimately, our Clubs have faced adversity throughout the past 120 years and have done what’s needed. They have remained true to their mission of supporting children, youth, and families. We are there for those who need us most.
And this will be true for the next 120 years.
Some health officials are saying that we are in for up to 12 more weeks of self-isolation. 12 weeks of struggling to figure out what our futures are.
I will say to you that our future can’t be counted in weeks. The future of our Clubs is in decades, centuries even. These 12 weeks will not be what we count—what we will count will be the way we support our Club kids for many years to come.
Stay strong—stay #ClubStrong, stay safe, and be well.