The latest message from Owen Charters, President & CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (May 1). Full transcript below.
It’s the first day of May. Better weather is predicted in much of the country. It’s now been over 50 days since we entered this state of physical distancing and isolation to combat the coronavirus.
We are now hearing from several provinces about plans to reopen businesses and start re-emerging into society.
These are preliminary, go-slow plans, and it seems there is some cause for cautious optimism. We can start to hope that some of our routines, some of the life we had before the pandemic is going to come back. For some—like me—that might mean a haircut. For many, it means we can dream about getting back to the work we need to do, being present for the children, youth, and families that depend on us.
But it won’t be the same normal. We need to prepare for a new normal—like an elastic band that’s been stretched for months, we won’t be going back to the same shape. There will need to be new ways to do things. New precautions. Ways to stay healthy and protected. There will be some continued forms of social distancing.
The coronavirus remains a danger, and while the curve may be flattening, the statistics behind it remain the stories of real people and families who are suffering, and the deaths of loved ones. We must continue to protect from the spread of this insidious sickness and take the measures needed to keep people safe and healthy.
May means spring, and it means the return of leaves, of green grass, of flowers. But it also means the return of rain and snow melt. Flooding is a reality at this time of year. Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort McMurray in Alberta is now underwater as the city wrestles with a major flood in the centre of the community. As a Club that was providing childcare to essential workers, we are reaching out to assist them in any way possible at this critical time.
We continue to hear stories like this—of the compounding challenges of managing in a pandemic. It is not easy. We are all going through emotional turmoil. We are all experiencing some of the most difficult situations we’ve faced as organizations. We’ve been faced with difficult, excruciating choices.
With all that said, though, I have seen the resilient spirit of Clubs come through. It is time to start planning for re-opening. Not back to normal, but for a new normal. One where we can welcome kids back. One where we can stay healthy, and follow new protocols that keep us safe.
We’re not ready yet, but it’s time to start planning for a different tomorrow.