QUINCY -- Debbie Reed believes a shift toward gratitude could help people of all ages cope with the social-emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Instead of focusing on what's not happening and all the stressors, what's something we can be grateful about in this moment?" said Reed, president/CEO of Chaddock.
"What can we do as opposed to what we can't do? Maybe it looks different this summer, but it doesn't mean there can't be something fun families can engage in," she said. "We just have to be a little more creative in how we go about building those family memories and those experiences."
Families can find some suggestions at What's Happening Adams County, a Facebook site launched as an offshoot of the Adams County Together Task Force effort and a way to support the social and emotional health of young people who saw the pandemic disrupt both the end of the school year and now the summer.
The site, overseen by a committee chaired by Reed, acts as a clearinghouse of information about activities and contests for young people and families.
"Families don't have to go look at four or five different websites or contact four or five organizations. They can come to our Facebook page and see a listing of activities," Reed said.
Organizations that typically offer summer programming for young people have adapted programs to continue serving in the pandemic.
"They're offering a lot of things that aren't typical," Reed said. "There are a lot of creative ways organizations are doing things. We want give families one place to go to find out what can I do with my child in the next couple of weeks."
People who think they know what the Quincy Park District offers every summer, for example, might be surprised at what it's done to adapt to current conditions, Reed said.
"We had to try to find ideas that we could still get kids active and still meet the new norm, the new regulations and most important to keep everybody safe, our participants and our staff," said Mike Bruns, director of program services for the Quincy Park District.
Some typical programs, like sports leagues, have been postponed until at least mid-August, but other favorites, including the summer playground program, continue with some modifications.
The playground program, for example, requires online registration to participate 10 a.m. to noon at Bob Mays, Johnson and Wavering Parks and 1 to 3 p.m. at Madison and Reservoir Parks. Participants are divided into groups of 10, staff wear masks and social distancing is followed, but "it still gives kids a chance to come and do some activity, some physical exercise in a safe environment," Bruns said.
A new program at Indian Mounds Pool, which is closed for season, offers activities 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Tennis lessons are available along with nature programs and adult outdoor fitness activities and fishing clinics, and facilities including the batting cage and miniature golf are open.
"People can still just go to the park as a family, ride bikes through the park, walk through the park," Bruns said.
The committee behind the site started by asking kids and parents about their concerns, then shared results with community organizations looking to develop programs to help meet those needs.
"Maybe someone, maybe a family had never been exposed to 4-H. They go to the site and see some activities 4-H has to offer, and it might introduce them to a new resource in the community that's always been there that they just haven't been aware of," Reed said.
The site also offers emotional wellness tips of the day provided by therapists across the community and designed to help kids, parents and families.
"This is a traumatic experience for kids. They don't get to see their friends. They don't get to do activities they typically enjoyed doing," Reed said. "Those are real feelings our kids have. We shouldn't just gloss over them and point out why it's not that big of a deal. It feels like a big deal to them."
Organizations with activities they would like posted on the What's Happening Adams County site can email information to email@example.com.