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Unsure. Uncertain. Unprecedented.

We have all experienced unfortunate times over the last few months. From jobs, friends and family to mental and physical health — uncomfortable is a feeling we’ve all felt.

But no matter how unprepared the world felt at the beginning of the pandemic, I have watched the community recreation industry respond with unbeatable resilience.

Facility shutdowns, working from home, video meetings with teammates, cancelled events, staff adjustments and online fitness classes were all unscripted, yet many of you undertook the challenge, and were willing to step up and lend a hand to those around you who needed help.

Even taking the time to respond to emails from my coworkers and me, or sharing your insight during one of our virtual roundtables, has shown me the commitment to the definition of community is unwavering in this industry and unimpaired by a global pandemic.

As community recreation leaders, your dedication reaches far beyond the walls of facilities or playing fields. Amid the pandemic, we shared how the Old Colony YMCA will be offering first responders and healthcare professionals two free months of membership once their branches reopen. We shared how the YMCA of Greater Kansas City hosted a livestream bingo event to connect with their seniors and help address social isolation and anxiety.

In April, we shared how the Soundview Family YMCA and the Ben Callahan Sports and Fitness Complex teamed up to create Operation Compassion to provide free delivery of healthy, fresh groceries to seniors, first responders and medical professionals in their service area.

Additionally, we shared how the YMCA of Metro Chicago and City of Chicago joined forces to turn the organization’s facilities into temporary homeless shelters and how YMCAs in Tampa organized a blood drive to combat COVID-19 shortages.

And lastly, leaders from YMCAs, JCCs and community rec centers took the time to share their best self-care practices during the pandemic with us, reminding everyone that no matter which specific boat you’re in, we’re all a little unsettled — but as everyone knows, that’s where growth happens.

Moving forward, I encourage you to continue learning and adjusting, and to support one another as you have already. With the power of community, I am certain the industry will come out stronger and more connected than ever.

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Brittany Howard

Brittany is an assistant editor at Peake Media. Reach her at brittany@peakemedia.com

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