By Erin Porteous, CEO

With autumn upon us, we find ourselves immersed in the cascade of changing seasons all around: cooler temperatures, leaves transforming and the ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte at every coffee shop. Each year, we are granted these prescient moments to plan and reflect on the four cherished seasons upon which we have come to depend here in Colorado. As humans, we rely on these change-of-seasons, and their predictable evolution, to prepare for what’s coming next.  

By Erin Porteous, CEO

With autumn upon us, we find ourselves immersed in the cascade of changing seasons all around: cooler temperatures, leaves transforming and the ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte at every coffee shop. Each year, we are granted these prescient moments to plan and reflect on the four cherished seasons upon which we have come to depend here in Colorado. As humans, we rely on these change-of-seasons, and their predictable evolution, to prepare for what’s coming next.

Paradoxically, as nature changes and transforms through its natural course, there has been very little change in the state of global, national and local affairs that have governed our lives over the past six months. For those of us in Colorado, COVID-19 arrived in spring, lingered with quiet passivity through the summer, and now marches into autumn with a lack of predictability and no vaccine in sight, leaving our public schools in disarray, our economy in a fragile condition and our loved ones in a constant state of quiet fear.  

And yet, virtually everything has changed within each of us: as individuals, as organizations and companies, and as communities large and small—locally and globally. Our rapid and fear-stricken adaptations to crisis from last spring are quickly becoming the new normal modalities of our everyday livesVideo chats have usurped coffee house connections. Phone calls are up but hugs are down. Our homes have transformed into equal parts school, shelter, and office while our public schools and commercial real estate owners rethink how to adapt to safe social distancing, which is likely a condition that will linger long after a vaccine is introduced.  

And all the while, we crave connection and will never take a hug for granted again. In the absence of being able to plan far into the future, our lives are truly lived in moments. In some ways, we have slowed down. Our acceptance of change – while doing whatever it takes to anchor ourselves – is what is keeping many of us afloat. It’s not easy. 

At Boys & Girls Clubs, we are both propelled and grounded by this rapidly changing world. Reducing uncertainty and providing consistency for our Club kids is what we have done for nearly sixty years – because every child carries an uncharted map within them when they walk through our doors. That is as true today as it was six months ago, so our work may be different in application, but our commitment to our Club kids’ success and resilience is the same. 

Today, we expand our definition and acceptance of change as not only human condition, but as a compass bearing and antidote to uncertainty as well. Both in the Clubs and in our communities, we all seem to be accepting change as our new true north. When we set our compasses on change, we are better prepared to adapt and more likely to ask for help, collaborate, and find partners who shore up our deficits. By letting go of old ways that are less and less useful to us every day, we are increasing our resilience and decreasing our reliance on repetition.  

Change is commonly followed by the mourning of something lost or discarded. While so much has been lost, today’s change also contains the coordinates for hope, reunions of common values, restoration of empathy and the dismantling of the barriers that isolate and marginalize our kids. Today, we aren’t waiting for the signs of change to gently reveal themselves and prompt us to take actionRather, we are steadfast in our belief that embracing and leading change will chart a path forward. And that path will allow us to see the true signs of change in the faces and smiles of our Club kids, every single day.