It was almost a year ago when Covid-19 stormed into our world, leaving us shaken, unsettled and uncertain. The ski resorts faced an early season shut down, restaurants closed, and inns became inaccessible. Many of us felt confused, in the dark, not sure what to think. So much has transpired in a year, so much has changed, so many of us hurt. But what is remarkable is the demonstration of resilience and perseverance everywhere we look, and that includes right here in the MRV Rotary.
In March, all in-person gatherings came to a halt and we switched to Zoom. For a club that thrives on our social interactions, this was an unwelcome adjustment. April arrived and Community Suppers stopped. By May, the plans for setting up Camp Ta-Kum-Ta became non-plans. It was on hold. The June/July timeframe brought a major disappointment to our Valley when it became clear that the world-renowned Warren 4th of July parade was to be cancelled and our part in organizing it was not needed. In August, it was clear that the Community Pantry that Rotarians support was needed. Delivering healthy food to the food-insecure was critical. A District grant was awarded to assist the then food shelf with expensive protein-rich foods. “Push the Proteins” as it was called continues to mid 2021.  In September more good news! We found a way to move ticket sales online for our beloved Duck Race and, with help from Waitsfield Telecom, live-streamed the race to keep everyone safe. We learned a lot about the benefits of technology. By October, plans for the Restaurant raffle were well underway. Creative Rotarian thinking allowed for us to broaden our efforts to support many more Valley businesses – not just restaurants. Instead of asking businesses to donate gift certificates, Rotary happily purchased the gift certificates from the struggling establishments returning much-needed revenue to the businesses. Ticket sales were handled online once again, and as was the case with the Duck Race, broad community support helped make it extremely successful. Good things can happen when one is required to make changes! 
Now we are turning our attention to the not-so-distant future, planning for when we can safely work and play together in person. We are searching for a new meeting venue for our weekly breakfast meetings. We’re lining up a major hands-on project at Neck of the Woods. We’re organizing a community scavenger hunt just for fun, and using our community connections to find ways where we can focus on food insecurity and the needs of young families and seniors. We’ve learned from the pandemic that there is more than one way to tackle a challenge, and that adversity can reveal opportunities for learning and growth. We’ve rediscovered our strengths, come to more deeply appreciate our connections, and learned a few technology tricks along the way. Can’t wait for what’s next!