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6 things for ’21

Every crisis has opportunity and danger embedded within. This year is no different. We saw loss of life, of way of life, of health, of community. So much. Here’s a moment to send love to all those who struggled and are still struggling.

In March I committed to minding the danger while pushing toward the opportunities, and I made some observations along the way.

1. Community matters, no matter how you find it.

Family, friends, neighbours, coworkers, people need people. Nothing thrives in isolation. I saw new and existing communities blossom this year. Here’s to us remembering this and supporting it in our own lives and those all around us deep into 2021 and beyond.

2. Digital is different, and deadly.

It’s not the same, but our screens and devices provide a meaningful, engaging (aka “deadly”) way to get and stay connected to our people. What you lose in depth of connection you make up for in reach. In four weeks YACC went from shutting down our Survivor Conference with 130 participants to hosting it virtually for 326.

*Super fun story: Our virtual Survivor Conference had eight Zoom channels running from Friday to Sunday for various program sessions. The evenings were filled with social activities like Netflix parties, virtual games, and the favourite “shoot the shit” room to just hang out. We had a team debrief Saturday morning before starting for the day and I asked what time the social channels shut down Friday night. The answer was “2 a.m. Saturday.” Digital is different and deadly.

BTW, Saturday’s hangout shut down at 4-5 a.m. Sunday morning, and when Lesley Morrissey (YACC’s community engagement manager) got up to check emails at 6 a.m. on Monday, the chats were still going!

3. You care

Revenue is down and the needs in our community are up; we are working through this. And as we do, so many of you stepped up sooner, bigger, and for the first time to support YACC’s mission. YOU powered almost 1M minutes of connection during that virtual Survivor Conference. You are nurturing our community of 4,000 and supporting its growth. Thank you.

4. Don’t forget the quality of life.

We have such a disproportionate focus on “quantity” of life. The rising importance placed on mental health is a hopeful indicator we are shifting. If we save a life that is then mired in poverty and isolation, have we succeeded? This was an issue long before the pandemic and it will need extra attention the further into it we go.

5. Building and revealing character.

Challenge reveals and builds character. There has been a lot of revealing and building happening in 2020! Here’s to the heroes who make the tough choices for themselves and others and to the leaders who have the courage to be open and vulnerable in the face of opposition. Here’s to all of us taking strength from 2020 into ’21, and if you’ve got extra, please share it with someone who needs it.

6. Focus.

This crisis has danger and opportunity. The area of your focus will determine how you move through and beyond it. Can we be mindful of the loss on a macro scale and as much as possible to those experiencing it individually while focusing on the opportunities in front of us? The slowdown, the family time (in person and virtual), and the opportunity to help others has never been greater. If we are breathing, there is more right with us than wrong.

Let’s keep breathing, mindfully, in 2021 and beyond.

Loads of love to you and yours.

Live life. Love life.


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