By Lee Donlon
Before March 2020 I had never heard of Zoom and guess what, now it’s my job! We’ve all experienced video calls in some form or another since the start of quarantine. From virtual work meetings, to online classes, catching up with friends and family, and even movie watch parties hosted from your living room floor. Our culture has adapted to become somewhat familiar with Zoom, whether we like it or not. While I, like most of my peers, have been thoroughly Zoomed out, (aka Zoom Fatigue or Death by Zoom), and I can’t wait for the time when I can once again hug my friends and lick their beautiful faces without worry. I also acknowledge how thankful I am for Zoom and other video call platforms. It’s been hard enough to stay connected and engaged amid a global pandemic, I can’t imagine what it would be like without video chats.
Since the start of quarantine, I’ve called my parents via FaceTime every day. That may sound excessive but it’s been wonderful to see their smiling faces, catch up about the day, and feel so close without fear of getting them sick. During this time I’ve also been able to stay connected with friends all over the world and even make some new friends along the way. I sometimes think that if I were forced to isolate and use Zoom, I honestly may not have stayed as connected with my friends that weren’t in my immediate area as I have been able to now. It’s safe to say that the Send It Fam stands out in this aspect and has done an amazing job keeping connected.
With in-person trips being put on hold due to obvious reasons, the question then became “How can we keep people connected, keep this community of badasses active and engaged during this challenging time?” Beyond encouraging others to get after it on their own, one answer came in the form of game nights, educational clinics, and even a book club! Over the course of the Pandemic, Send It has developed a calendar full of events from weekly to monthly and special surprises along the way. Monday FUNday has been dedicated to games from Pictionary, Scattergories, to JackBox games like Quiplash and Biddiots. It’s been amazing to see people turn out for game night excited and actually say “I need a distraction from this week, LET’S GAME.” We also have Thoughtful Thursdays which features a different lesson, demo, or topic each week. We reached out to our Send It Alumni community to ask for volunteers who might be interested in sharing their skills with the community and I was truly overwhelmed and humbled by the influx of response. We were able to plan out over two months of Thoughtful Thursday lessons from just one request. We’ve had lessons on how to read a topographic map, preparing for a multi day backpacking trip, how to change a flat tire, Yoga classes, and even a Sound Bathing session which over 20 people attended. It’s been incredible to see the community response to these Thoughtful Thursday events.
Last but not least, our most recent addition to the calendar has been the Send It Book Club. After a quick vote via Doodle Poll, we settled on “A Promised Land” by Barack Obama. Now I’ve never been a part of a book club, I think for most people participating this is their first time too, but that has made the experience all the more grass roots and genuine. We meet once a month and have been going through one part of the book each meeting. It’s been funny chatting with folks at Game Night about the upcoming book club meeting, “You coming to the book club next week?” one would ask, “Yeah totally! I just have to catch up on my reading… by catch up I mean start! Haha” I’d reply. But being a homegrown book club we don’t mind if you come as you are.
It’s funny to reflect back on all these experiences that have taken place over the past year. While I am certainly excited and looking forward to the end of the pandemic, I appreciate all the connections I’ve been able to make over Zoom and video chats. It’s been amazing that even though we’re all Zoomed out, I still leave Game Night every monday with a smile on my face and a stitch in my gut.