The latest message from Owen Charters, President & CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (March 27). Full transcript below.
A few words of encouragement and support as we end another week of self-isolation and physical distancing.
We had thought we’d get used to a new normal, but that’s not yet the case. This doesn’t feel anything like normal.
Instead, we continue to struggle as we have to let go of family—Club children, youth, and families, and Club staff and volunteers who we can’t keep at this time.
It is hard. It is very hard to say good bye, and to say until we come back again. We know we will come back again—our doors will open and we will have staff and kids and vitality back in our Clubs someday soon.
But it feels a terribly long way away. And we wish we knew when. The lack of certainty is what hurts the most.
Our new normal involves the weird tics of video conference calls—of reminding people they are on mute, of dressing respectably from the waist up, of knowing it’s ok to walk away from the camera every once in a while when you need a coffee, a sandwich, or a washroom break.
I have learned that you can’t have four kids on the internet, your spouse on a video call, and then try to join your own video call without the internet router screeching to a halt.
And it is a world that despite trying to drop the term social distancing in favour of physical distancing, feels more socially isolating than ever.
This isn’t what we’re about. We’re the organization that has an awareness day called Unplug to Connect. It’s ridiculous that today, the only way to connect is to plug in. To stare at a face composed of pixels that might be someone who is just down the street from you but you can’t see in person anymore.
We need to connect more than ever, and our opportunity is to plug in to do so for now. Our dream is when we can unplug again. When devices are not the means, the tools to connect to others, but when we can wrap our arms around our staff, welcome them back. When we can look our kids in the eye, showing them they matter and that we care.
To everyone in the Boys & Girls Clubs family: My heart goes out to you. Whether you are employed, laid off, working to provide essential day care to front line workers, getting food to families, helping other families connect to the internet, providing programs virtually.
Thank you. We will all be back. We will all be able to unplug. We will remain connected. And we will be there for every child, youth, and family that needs us.
In the meantime—chin up, hands washed, and six feet away.