Back in early March, our Board of Directors had growing concerns about this Covid-19 that was beginning to affect Toronto. Our club has a large senior membership and we decided to err on the side of caution for their sakes. We voted to shut down our weekly meetings for a 3 week period and assess the situation at the end of March. By the end of March everything was shut down everywhere. Our Board jumped onto Zoom and started planning out the remaining 6 weeks of the our season in a virtual platform. Our last two competitions were switched from live judging to online judging, our end of season AGM & Townhall meeting were done live on zoom as was our grand finale year end awards.
In order to provide some form of diversion for our many senior members who were self isolating, we began the Lockdown Challenge. A weekly photo challenge using a different subject each week that could easily be found in their own homes and gardens. Our subjects have ranged from, coffee cup, toys, lamp, light, water, blade, book, etc. We are currently still going strong with week 15 Reflections. We also meet every 2 weeks online in the Lockdown Challenge Cafe to discuss the past two weeks entries and connect with each other.
Throughout the summer, our Board which normally would be on hiatus has been meetings regularly to organize our next season. We reached the decision early to run the first half of our program totally virtual online. We have found presenters from across Canada who would work with us virtually. All our competition judging was shifted from live to online. Our program director and president have spoken to other clubs in Ontario and found that many will not be holding a season at all because of the challenges of hosting during this Covid-19 threat. So we decided to offer all our presentations on Eventbrite so that those people could still enjoy attending a photography talk.
Here is a link to our program calendar for this year and competitions calendar as well.
We are hoping that by January 1st we will be able to safely meet in large numbers again at our location. Our plan is to continue to provide weekly meetings live or recorded, as well as our presentations to those who might still be too afraid or at high risk of contracting Covid 19.
It’s been a huge learning curve for our Board and committee members. But I have been so thoroughly proud of how hard all of them have worked to make this upcoming season a go.
Barb Marszalek, Etobicoke Camera Club VP & Program Team Member