Jan 07, 2021
We think it's safe to say that we are all glad to see the end of 2020. What a year, hey?
Hayley Sellick | Marketing & Communications
At the end of every year, we like to look back over the last 12 months and despite the many challenges that 2020 threw at us, there are always bright spots to be found. We're grateful to have seen our city come together to stand up against racial oppression, support local businesses, give back to charity and look after each other. We've found creative ways to grow our relationships, adapted to different working environments and maybe even picked up a new hobby or two.
In today's post, we're doing a final look over the year before we close the 2020 chapter of our lives for good!
This time last year, we were busy planning for the 25th anniversary of the September Games, completely unaware of what the future had in store for us. We'd just moved into our new office in the Kahanoff Centre and we were coming up with fun ways to make this milestone year extra special. We took some time to visit the Ronald McDonald House to see the great work they were doing and toured some venues for potential new September Games events. At the beginning of February, we opened up the Charity Challenge and ran our Brain Freeze Trivia Night. Brain Freeze was the first of 10 Off-Season events we had planned for the year (we had such big dreams back then!) and it was great to see so many people out, having fun and raising money for Branch Out.
Right around this time, Taylor dropped some big news on us - she was expecting a baby in July! This was very exciting for all of us and as the first baby due to a current CCC staff member, the little one was lovingly referred to as the CCC Baby for a while!
In the last week of February, we held our annual Human Bonspiel event - curling, but with humans as the rocks! We had over 50 teams come down to Olympic Plaza to slide on the ice and cheer on their coworkers, all while raising money for KidSport Calgary. Little did we know that would be the last in-person event we would run in a while!
And then it all kicked off. While the COVID-19 virus had been around for a few months at this point, it hadn't greatly affected our city until March. Everyone was a bit unsure of what was going on and we were starting to see people taking precautions and working from home. Fast forward a little bit: the day was March 11, Tom Hanks had just been tested positive and that was the final push our team needed to move us all to WFH.
The first few weeks were fun: no more long commutes in the snow! Working in our pyjamas! Allllll the pet cuddles! We were very excited when we discovered virtual backgrounds on Zoom and that we could have Friday Night Happy Hours from home, but we were looking forward to getting back to the office in a month or so.
It quickly became clear that this was not going to be the case. COVID cases started going up, businesses were forced to shut down and the City declared a state of emergency, putting Calgary in lockdown. Things were much more serious than we all initially thought. During this tough time, we saw our city band together to flatten the curve, support local businesses and look after those in need.
On May 3, CCC celebrated its 25th birthday and with the help of Doug from the Know Show Trivia Company, we ran a Birthday Trivia Night. This was the first of a few Zoom Trivia Nights we ran this year and it was great fun!
During these months, our team realised that we were unlikely to be able to run the September Games in the way that we were all used to and frantically started brainstorming to come up with a new plan. Thus, the Virtual Games were born!
The beginning of June was an important time in history. It was a turning point for the Black Lives Matter movement and it was incredible to see our city stand together against racism. (Click here to see a list of resources we put together or here to see the action our organization has been/will be taking.)
We had started recruiting for an Events Assistant to help us over the summer and in June, we officially welcomed Chelsea onto our team! We met up for a socially distanced lunch and we were all happy to see each other in person for the first time in three months.
June was also when we started running our virtual events. These events were open exclusively to our sponsor companies and we managed to do a bit of a test run before we launched the Games officially in July!
Let the Games begin! Instead of the usual September Games, we decided to run the Games from the beginning of July to the end of September. Over the summer, we ran a wide variety of activities that could be done safely and in line with Alberta's COVID-19 precaution measures at the time, while still being the fun, well-organized, team building and engaging events you’re used to - fitness challenges, a bingo/scavenger hunt, virtual trivia, e-sports tournaments and even the Amazing Race, where you could race around the world from the comfort of your own home (you can read more about the Games here). We even held our first-ever drive-in movie to raise money for our Charity Partners - entrance was by donation and we raised $700, plus collected 170lbs of food for the Calgary Food Bank!
During this time, Taylor went on maternity leave. We threw her a surprise baby shower and a few weeks later, we heard that she had welcomed a healthy baby! We all got to meet the little one and we are already confident that they will make a great CCC volunteer during the 2045 September Games!
By October, we'd finished up three months of events. The Design Challenge was still accepting entries until the end of the month, so before we had our virtual Closing Ceremony, we did our annual staff retreat (you know you’ve got a good team of coworkers when you finish up three 7.5hr Zoom calls and you’re still all smiling by the end) and met with our Charities to discuss the year. You may know that we had to change the Charity Challenge format in 2020, but thanks to the CCC community (that's all of you!), we were able to raise over $130k for our 10 Charity Partners!
Between Friends: $5000 raised & increased social media presence
Big Brothers Big Sisters: $6657 raised & 12.5 new matches
Branch Out Neurological Foundation: $8139 raised
Calgary Drop-In Centre: $9787 raised
Calgary Food Bank: $48,216 raised & 5382/500 Hampers donated (no, that's not a typo!)
Canadian Blood Service: $468.25 raised & 4184/4000 Units donated (75 new donors)
Heart & Stroke: $24,366.75/$10,000 raised
HomeFront Calgary: $8,867.50 raised
KidSport Calgary: $12,085 raised
Ronald McDonald House Charities Alberta: $8,607.05 raised
After closing the Design Challenge, it was time for the Ceremony! Since we didn't have divisional trophies this year, we really focused on the Spirit Awards (see our winners here). We declared ATCO as the winner of our Design Challenge (you can see our Top 8 finalists here), then the 2020 CCC Games were officially closed!
As we neared the end of her contract, we all decided we liked Chelsea so much that she decided to stick with us for another year as our Interim Events Coordinator. Never ones to just sit around, we immediately started planning for the 2021 Games. But before the end of the year, we had one last event to throw - our Christmas Tree-via Night! We had lots of teams join us for a few rounds of festive fun and we were happy to see everyone one last time before the Christmas break!
So that was our year! Although we may have been apart, we've gotten through the last 12 months together. 2020 was a year of growth, so let's take what we've learned over the last year and keep moving forward. We can't wait to see you all again but in the meantime, stay safe, healthy and take care of yourselves!
Here's to a better new year!