Diane Martin
By the time we reach a certain ‘age’ marked by many experiences, life has taught us a lot.

We have learnt;
the skills of adaptability;
lessons on how to progress to allow for change;
how to be supportive of our family;
how to simplify things, and

the art of keeping a smile on our face!

It seemed out of the blue, when the COVID-19 – life changing event hit. We all faced the challenge of how we were to move forward and how to reinvent the new ‘normal’. It was such an individual thing.

Stock up the pantry and dare I say, ‘toilet rolls’!

Get as many new books that you possibly could and try board games.

Online study of different subjects, how many are now learning a language to improve the holiday abroad in the years to come?

For those that knit and crochet absolutely no ball of wool was safe during this exile time. Even wool that had escaped being discovered because of its hiding place, in the very deep dark corners of a wardrobe, was given a new life.

During this time of discovery, jigsaws made their way into our home. Who said 10,000 pieces was small? You needed to have this shut down period to have the time to finish these amazing works. Did I also mention the need for patience?

Back in March, the TCC Social Club (SC) was about to do what we did best, that was to take a bus trip to Bright. Our intention was to spend our money to help small shops effected by the summer bush fires. We were also looking forward to being with friends to spread the good cheer – it was an event not to be missed. However, only days away, the TCC was closed for our protection and we were told no group events could continue.

Stay indoors was the Government’s directive, no more lunch at the Boatshed, cut the much-anticipated breakfasts at Borella Cafe out and lunch at the River Deck Café crossed out of our diaries.

Keeping fit, as we all did at the Thurgoona Community Centre, remained very important.

Being connected was a priority.

This is where those people that make things happen stepped up and discovered ways to achieve the sometimes-elusive experience of inclusion.

This can be a challenge at the best of times.

People looked outside the square and came up with ways to connect. If not in real life, then in the digital world. Zoom was just waiting for us and so many. People had been using this App, but it seems it had been done quietly… we did it with a roar.

Zoom quickly became the new normal.

The TCC Social Club joined this new normal with a passion, it was there for us to experience as we could keep our connections with friends happening. It allowed us to mark an event in the diary and gave us something to look forward to. The excitement of those get togethers were a real buzz. Word games were added into this space and a virtual event was devised that naturally brought lots of laughter. It was a project to create an artwork out of a toilet roll that was to be recycled later.

Behind the smile and games was the building up of trust and connection. We shared our fears and anxiety over our cuppa in the privacy of zoom.

So many emotions would not have found a voice without the technology that we now embrace.

This became so very important to many of us as the days became weeks, and the weeks became months.

The phone calls that connected so many of our Social Club members was up and running and many moments of friendly chats was had by all. This mode of connecting is still so necessary. It was lovely to hear the smile and excitement in a voice when the SC committee person made themselves known. Outside world events faded away in the capsule of time, as two friends sat and chatted about life before…and life in the future.

The wonderful reliable emails to Social Club members became a joy to many. We were reminded of music that bought memories of our past youth, not all that long ago naturally. The reminder of anniversaries, that may possibly have slipped by without notice, were included in these daily touch of ‘sparkle’ emails.  These made their way into so many homes with the same message that has always been the backbone of the TCC Social Club past and present.

Respect, connect, inclusion, spread the smile.

A note from TCC Coordinator Sherylyne Moran
The TCC Social Club is a volunteer managed group who provide wonderful experiences for their 50 strong membership. In the past, this has predominantly been through bus trips and a monthly breakfast.
When the COVID restrictions came into place, the group kept contact with their members through a daily ‘sparkle’ email, phone calls from their committee team members and a weekly zoom catch up. Truly they are a resilient, innovative, careing and an adaptive group.

It is Virtual Coffee Hmmmmm …& COVID. 

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