July 11, 2019

POV: Connect and Reflect

Our member socials are great because we host them in the community at one of our nonprofit member agencies. What I personally appreciate about hosting them around the community is that we get the opportunity to help spread the word about some pretty cool organizations doing great work. Just a couple weeks ago, UNA hosted our summer social at Tracy Aviary. It was such a magical event with many familiar faces and some new folks too. I love these socials because it gives Team UNA an opportunity to see so many of our members in one place. In our individual conversations with our members at these socials we talk about the exciting new things that are going on and we also learn about some of the challenges our members are facing.

A little known fact about me is that I am an introvert. So before every social I take some time for myself to reflect and recharge my energy so that I can spend the necessary time talking to everyone. After every public event I always brace for the crash, that moment where I need to crawl into a hole and have complete silence for the next several hours. And I’d be lying if I said that never happens to me, but one thing I have found so rewarding and surprising is that after our member socials, while I am tired and a bit disoriented, I also find myself rejuvenated.

It’s because I am reminded why I do the work that I do. I think we spend so much time focused on our task list and the problems and issues right in front of us that we forget about everyone else that may be impacted by our decisions. It is easy to get caught in the flow of working in silos and I am guilty of it for sure. It takes awareness and active participation to get out, to explore, to look to others, to rely on others, and to make decisions with the input of varied experiences.

I see these long days of summer as the perfect opportunity to connect with others in different ways. Not just at work but at home too. My sister and her kids are visiting from northern California, as they do every summer, and I am reminded how important it is to go to the pool, spend time cooking great food over the bbq, to camp, and to skip and dance. It’s also a great time to have coffee, share a meal with members, and to spend time with people who pop into the office with complex nonprofit questions. This type of connecting gives us a great gift – it helps us learn that we really are part of a larger community of people and the work that we do is important for us but it also impacts our neighbors, our families, and everyone else we see splashing around at the pool.  

I was the last person to leave the Mill at the Tracy Aviary after our social and found myself walking through the Aviary, being guided by the sweet smell of honeysuckle. I found a bench and I took a seat. I sat for several minutes and took in the smells, listened to the birds chirping, and watched people as they walked around and explored. It was a beautiful close to the evening and a wonderful kick off to summer.

Connect away dear readers and friends! If not now, when?


Kate Rubalcava
Utah Nonprofits Association