I can’t help but think about what the next generation will think of us here in 2020. Will my kids ask for stories about the time of COVID-19, the way I asked my grandmother for stories of the Depression? Will I regale my son with tales of “back when I was in social isolation…?” Although this may be a historic challenge, for the first time we have the technology to connect, even across quarantine zones. We can call, write, text, read, facetime, tweet, post, blog and more. The fact that you are reading this right now, shows the amazing access we have. Despite this modern connectivity, an unprecedented pandemic has changed how we live, work and interact. We’ve lost the proximity that made relationships natural and easy. But with that loss came the space and time to reflect on what really matters to us… and what matters to us is purpose, growth and community.
A purpose that’s less about achieving some goal and more about the person who you become in pursuit of that goal.
Growth that happens when we accept challenges, persevere through difficulties and reflect on our journey.
A community that supports our efforts to be better; better climbers, better yogi’s, better athletes and hopefully better people.
One of the things ASCEND is known for is that sense of connection. It’s a place where people meet new friends and go deeper with old ones. It’s a place where folks of different backgrounds come together to share space and time. It’s a place where inspiration oozes and stoke is contagious. It’s a place where competition means not counting winners and losers but pushing each other to be more than we could be alone. It’s a place many of us call a home.
With that home now closed and legally off limits, we all feel a loss.
After a week of soul searching and reflecting on what life looks like now, We have to decide whether to use this interruption as a time for recuperation and catching up on old to-do items or as an opportunity to double down on the things we care most about. How do we encourage purpose in ourselves and those around us, when those around us, can’t be around us? How can we foster personal growth without being in person? What happens to our community when we can’t commune? These are the questions we are asking ourselves. While we don’t have the answers, we know that the answers won’t be found in longing for the past or taking a “staycation” from regular life. Instead, the answers will be found by raising new hopes and taking uncertain but confident steps forward. If you are reading this, you are a part of this human community. A crew of people thinking deep and dreaming big. A family who chooses to not live in fear but in courage. Though life has changed and we may be socially isolated, we can still move forward. Small step by small step. As a community. Growing with purpose. Toward a new way of being together.
Jason Gilmore, Youth Program Director