Jumping into the Virtual World.
For the first time ever, I am working independently and virtually. It has been quite a learning experience to say the least. I am actually pretty impressed at all of our ability to adapt as a staff.
I have never been one for social media. I have had a Facebook page that acted more like a news update from friends and I rarely post or spend much time on it. I still don’t quite get the whole Twitter and Instagram thing and still call the ‘#’ symbol a pound sign and not a hashtag.
Recently, with the inability to run programs in-person or have any semblance of past Firehall programs, we have had to reinvent ourselves and jump into this cyber world. Catching up to these young whippersnappers and their ‘interweb’ has been a bit of a challenge but we learned very quickly that adaptation was vital.
Over the past month, we have been creating virtual activity rooms using Zoom and have run games, crafts, songs, and stories. We have also been creating a ton of resources for parents and children to stay occupied and active in this unique “stay at home” time. On top of the real-time meetings, we have also been creating a lot of videos for our social media pages (@ oldottsouth on all those Instagram-y, Twitter-y, and Facebook-y type things).
Creating videos in particular has been an interesting learning experience. If I look at each individual video I have created, I can watch as things improve each time. From realizing that the video was foggy from my screen protector (there are a few hazy videos out there) to playing around with a video editor program, I have found myself embracing the technology and I am starting to grow more comfortable with it. Each week, our speed in implementation and quality of programs has improved and I think we are all getting more and more comfortable and creative with our new normal.
I count myself very lucky and am very thankful to OSCA as I have been able to continue working from home. I cannot wait until this whole mess is over and we can get back to running the great programs in-person rather than virtually. But I do think that some of these new abilities that we as staff are picking up right now will strengthen our programs when we return to the Firehall. I look forward to using these tools to promote our inperson programming in what I hope is the not too distant future.
I miss all of the children and staff and hope everyone is doing well during this unique and difficult period. I strongly encourage people to check out our online programming, as there are a lot of fantastic activities for all ages. See you in cyberspace!
Darcy Middaugh is one of OSCA's Preschool & Child Program Coordinators.
This article was originally published in the May-June 2020 edition of the OSCAR.