The latest message from Owen Charters, President & CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada (May 22). Full transcript below.
This weekend, many of you would have been packing suitcases and preparing to travel to Kingston, Ontario for our 2020 National Conference: Making Waves.
Instead, we’re now preparing to meet you all on Zoom for our Annual General Meeting next Friday. It definitely won’t be the same as meeting in person, and it won’t reflect the camaraderie, the learning, and the networking that our national conference provides.
But we have been meeting. In fact, it feels like our movement is closer than ever to each other. We are seeing each other more frequently now over video conference. I have personally seen more faces more often than ever before.
It is true that video conference remains a poor substitute for in-person meetings. There really is Zoom-fatigue that comes from our brains trying to scan and process the many faces on screen and try to interpret emotion and meanings from each small Brady-bunch square that fills the pixels in front of us.
Personally, I’ve changed to a mix of video conferences and phone meetings, just so that I can rest my eyes (and brain) and provide some variety in meeting formats.
But what is important is connecting. We are connecting to each other. We are using what we have available to reduce the distance to each other. We are reaching out more frequently to more people—I’m hearing from former colleagues, connections, friends—many that I usually hear from infrequently in normal times.
Don’t stop connecting. Don’t stop reaching out. Our role now is to reach the children, youth, and families we serve in virtual or distanced ways. And Clubs are doing just that. We know that the human connection to others is important—it’s important for our health, it’s important for our social well-being.
And we need to connect with each other. As we have been doing, and as we will continue to do.
With or without a conference in beautiful Kingston next week, we are strong together. We are a great team of Club staff and volunteers nationwide working for every community. Working for every child, every teen, every family that needs our support now.
We may not be able to meet in person, but I feel the connection to each of you stronger than ever.
Stay strong. Stay safe.