Whether this year has flown by or felt like two years wrapped into one, you’re not alone. We can say with certainly that people will not likely forget the pandemic summer of 2020. For most, the end of August signals looking towards the final quarter of the year and imagining new horizons in 2021.
While many people are eager to put this chapter behind them, let us not forget the diligence and viability of so many businesses in Colorado that will live to see another day. Often our focus is so heavily weighed on what comes next and predicting outcomes, that we forget to pause. That’s why this post will take the time to reflect on this very intense year, and one unforgettable pandemic summer.
It goes without saying that the name of the game this summer was staying safe, avoiding the looming enemy in the background. All things considered though, there were still many ways for people to have fun and spend time outdoors despite travel restrictions and mask requirements.
You may be thinking, what is the motivation for collecting stories from the pandemic summer? Besides historic record of a life-changing year, we are seeing a line drawn in the sand between companies that focus on people, and those that do not. Businesses that prioritized keeping their employees on and kicked wellness programs into overdrive saw increased productivity and teamwork. In general, company culture is being more closely scrutinized by employees and the public not just for what it says, but how it functions in people’s daily lives.
The distinction is huge. This newfound accountability gets to the heart of what we’ve learned from a global pandemic: people-centered policies have longstanding benefits for company loyalty, employee retention, and growth. To get through the challenges we face, we must bring more humanity into our work lives. We must see the people whose work we rely on as more complex individuals with families, pets, professional goals, and diverse interests.
Throughout the duration of this humanitarian and economic crisis, stories are what kept us going. On that note, here are a few of our favorite stories from the pandemic summer of 2020. I asked Mike Henninger of WOW! Denver about his summer and if he experienced anything with new appreciation because of everything that has changed this year. He answered,
“I got to see my kids a lot more than normal. We did family dinner just about every night, which hasn’t happened in years. You know, once a teenager gets a car you never see them. So, I got to spend time with my son before he goes off to college, as well as my daughter who is in college. Also, my yard looks better than it has in years because we’re at home, and have had time to spend on it.”
When I asked if his family had any adventures, he said they tried recreating the old days of camping nearly every weekend:
“The only time we went camping this summer we got a place near the Royal Gorge. We had to pay sixty bucks for a private place. They said, “well, we’ve got Wi-Fi” and I thought, that’s not camping and why would I want Wi-Fi? So, we checked out the Royal Gorge, we were there the whole day. That place is killer, if you’ve never been.
Later, we went back to our spot and were watching these clouds roll in, trying to set up our tent. I have a tent that’s made for nice weather camping, it’s 15 feet, and huge. We probably should have waited for the storm to pass, but we didn’t, and we got it set up. Then the storm hit, so we’re sitting in the car watching it go through, and we’re just soaking wet.
All the sudden, we saw poles start popping up and this tent go flying up in the wind! So we went and grabbed it, threw it in the car, and went to the Motel 8. I was not going to wait to dry things out. I told my family we’re having Sonic for dinner and watching HBO at the motel. We did that, and then went back to the Royal Gorge the next day.”
We can all echo the sentiment of the soaking wet tent. Sometimes, you just have to submit to finding a new plan. If anything, this year has been the ultimate training course in going with the flow. It has also taught us to be gracious, and find gratitude despite challenges.
The next story comes from our founder, Dave Bacon. After being inspired by an old photo, he drove his three kids and a trailer 4,100 miles to see eight National Parks over twenty eight days. He reflected on what inspired this great tour of the American West:
“What really blew this trip up was that my old high school friend shared an epic photo of a group of us backpacking thirty years ago this summer. It was late spring, sometime around May, and at that point we’d all been quarantined for many weeks. We were thinking, if the quarantine lifts, what if we walk that same trail we did thirty years ago this summer, and do it with our sons?
I said I would drive out there, to meet them in this remote part of the Sierra Nevadas in California. This idea that we could go backpacking together again energized us after being so cooped up. You could say we used that photo as the catalyst, and built a month of Airstream camping adventure around that one idea and memory. Normally, we wouldn’t have had this kind of flexibility. All of our kids play sports, they’re in baseball leagues, on swim teams, and we had other vacations that were cancelled. So instead of just sitting on that, we made the best out of it.
This summer, on my son’s first day fishing, he caught nine fish and ate two. One of my daughters caught a fish on her first cast. Then, my other daughter got her first cast by falling off a horse. Those are some of our “firsts,” or things that unfolded in the greater scheme of this big summer. At the end of the day, we were making the best of a COVID summer.”
We hope you enjoyed this small collection of stories. While highlighting joy and simple pleasures has its place, we must also acknowledge the loss and collective mourning that comes with this pandemic. Our deepest sympathy goes out to families that have lost loved ones during this time. May their stories be shared and heard as these stories have been today.
It’s encouraging to see other Coloradans trying their best to live and explore safely during an ongoing global event. Do you have an incredible story from this summer, or a human moment worthy of sharing? Leave a comment on this post, and share your story from the pandemic summer.
Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.
If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!