Last week I led another Staff and Faculty Women’s Empowerment Zoom Chat and the prompt for the ladies was “what is your favorite summer time memory”. At first I had thought to ask about what they had planned for this coming summer but with us only now coming out of COVID I didn’t want to opening a topic that might bring stress and frustration so instead of going to the future we ventured to the past hoping to stir up positive memories and it worked! It is ironic how something seeming so innocent as the topic of summers can evoke such good conversation, shared experiences, and points of connection between women from all different backgrounds, interests, functional areas, and departments.
Ladies were connecting over travel locations, where family live, a shared love for roller coasters, shared experiences of camping or summer camp, etc. It was so wonderful to experience the ladies open up their hearts, let themselves be intimately seen for a moment before they put back on their masks or protective shells and returned to work. We laughed out loud with our full bellies. Just letting it out like a great big exhale. It is the simple things that sustain us. It felt good to be in their company. To feel that sense of belonging in the middle of the day and the middle of the week.
I especially liked when one lady shared that her favorite summer memory included DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s “Summertime” and we actually paused the meeting and listened to part of the song and watched part of the music video. It was nice to reminisce. To go back in time when things were simpler and appreciated differently. It was nice to see past the professional and see the person.
When it came to my turn to share I was surprised what memory stood out the most. It was one summer I spent with my Godmother in Canada. It was raining non stop though we had planned to go to the water park at Canada Wonderland. Eventually either my mother or my Godmother had the brilliant idea that we should still go despite the rain and that was the best idea ever! The rain held up for the most part with some sporadic downpours but the lines on some of the most popular rides were nonexistent because the crowds stayed home. We would go on a ride then run back to the front of the line to go again. The white water tub ride was my favorite. We were soaking wet from rain and from water rides. It was especially fun to see the adults in my life acting like kids and having fun right along with me. Such a good memory.
By the end of the meeting we had a decent list of potential places for members to go in Austin and beyond. We also had food and seasonal or touring activity recommendations to share with the rest of the group as well. It was another great meeting and I look forward to the next one coming soon…