By Ellen Reid, Executive Director
In the quiet moments that I carved out for myself in 2020 (while few and far between), I took time to reflect, hoping to learn from the chaos and upheaval surrounding me. Most of the time, my mind wandered to thoughts of which way to go on the trail or how happy my puppy seemed.
Recently, though, I had the realization that I really missed people. Being around people, laughing with them, listening to their stories, learning from them. It’s probably a realization most of you had months ago and my introverted self was slow to come around. Sure, I’ve participated in my share of Zoom calls attempting to remain connected to work peers, family, and friends. But nothing can replace in-person time together.
We are inherently social beings and being connected is good for us. In 2014, Dr. Emma Seppala, the Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, noted that “strong social connection leads to a 50% increased chance of longevity, strengthens your immune system, helps you recover from disease faster, reduces anxiety and depression…Social connectedness generates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional, and physical well-being.”
At Keystone Science School, we thrive on these social connections that our culture and programming naturally build. In this time while we muddle through a pandemic, we are realizing just how important the element of connection truly is. Our staff is stronger when we feel we ‘know’ one another. Students and campers learn from and build trust through shared experiences. Being connected throughout the KSS experience is at the core of what we do – it leads to changed lives, stronger communities, and inspired thinking.
2021 is a significant year for Keystone Science School. We’re beginning to emerge from a pandemic that has kept us largely separated from each other. We crave connection now more than ever. This year, we’re planning to be together again learning science in the outdoors, singing silly camp songs, and laughing together. We’re also celebrating a historic moment at KSS: reaching our 45th anniversary as an organization!
To mark the significance of these events, we ask you to join us in celebrating our Year of Connection, 2021. We’ll infuse this theme into all of our programs and communications, reminding us of the importance of connection: between each other, with our past, and with our mission to inspire curiosity and critical thinking to change lives and strengthen communities.
I look ahead at the opportunities awaiting us in 2021 and know that connecting with you, our beloved KSS family, will be the year’s highlight. Thank you for celebrating with us!