2020 is over. The hardest year of many of our lives is in the books.
A few words commonly used to describe it? Scary. Lonely. Overwhelming. Boring. Awful. Difficult. They all apply to so many people in so many different ways.
But we did it. And we did it together.
In normal times, we would've had our Annual General Meeting and year in review at Palasad on or around December 31. It would have been a chance to get together for a Dadcathlon event, followed by a year in review summary, the awarding of the London dad hall of fame award for 2020, and a chance to look forward to some plans for 2021. Instead, we haven't had an official Dad Club London meeting since March 2020. Given the current COVID-19 case and hospitalization numbers, combined with Ontario being dead last in vaccines for Canada, who knows when we can look at getting back to official in person meet ups. Hopefully soon. Because we miss you all.
In normal times, we usually average 109 events per year since we incorporated into a not-for-profit. This year, we completed 23 events before the risk of the pandemic became too high and we had to cancel everything and put programming on hold for ethical, moral, liability, and safety reasons. We kiboshed our golf tournament, our Forest City Road Races team, our Sweat For Strong Kids team, our dads and kids fitness bootcamp, our basketball league, our monthly dadcathlon, and a bunch of other fun things we had planned.
Since then, we have tried to stay engaged and connected with utmost creativity. There's probably over 25 dad related group chats for a variety of interests. Hockey, basketball, fitness, gaming, volunteering, the works really. We've done video chats. We played porch ninjas. We met informally for distanced walks and playground dates back in the summer when it was safe to do so. But it just doesn't feel the same. We keep pressing on though, for our kids sake.
Our Facebook group is as lit as its ever been, and we are trying to promote as much engagement, conversation, joking around, problem solving, and checking in as possible. If you are missing human connection, please reach out via email, Facebook, instagram, or twitter and we will see what we can do to get you connected to others.
From a support perspective, we have done what we can and pleasantly surprised ourselves and a lot of others with our ability to look out for and take care of each other and our community. Back in wave one, we did a survey to see where people were at. With about 40% of our members responding, we confirmed that 40% of them either had lost their jobs entirely or had received a wage or hours cut due to the pandemic. Given the load many dads carry in terms of providing for their families, this was scary stuff. We immediately went into survival mode and began collecting and distributing money and food and clothes and other essentials to help our members and their families stay clothed, housed, and fed.
Every year, Dad Club London gives a scholarship of at least $500 to either a member or someone connected to them in support of their academic dreams in memory of our friend and fallen member Bob Jez.
Given the extremely relevant and topical nature of the Black Lives Matter movement and the global need to confront, denounce, and tamper racism head on; a perfect opportunity arose for our organization and community to rally together and give a terrific scholarship gift to a member's wife. You can learn more about it by reaching this article and watching this video: