While there is a long list of things that have gone wrong over the past two years due to a global pandemic from Covid-19, let's look at some of the good.
Icelandic Roots started as a blog in 2012 and became an official nonprofit in 2013. We started using shared workspaces and cloud drives in 2014. Zoom team meetings and Zoom educational training started in 2015. Our teams became stronger as we met online and the IR teammates became friends. Even though we are of different ages, have various backgrounds, and have different talents, everyone is focused and dedicated to the IR Mission. When the global pandemic hit and our lives were filled with quarantining, stay-at-home orders, and more, people across the world struggled on how to manage online learning and work. Many companies downsized and struggled financially. However, the Icelandic Roots team and our offerings grew! More people joined IR as members to take advantage of our fun and interactive online opportunities. The social aspects of Icelandic Roots are varied and interesting. The IR community has grown in leaps and bounds.
At the beginning of the pandemic, in February of 2020, I was severely injured by a rogue wave accident in Saint Maarten. During my hospitalization and the months that followed, the IR Volunteer Team took care of all details within Icelandic Roots that were previously my tasks. I knew they were phenomenal and could totally handle it. I missed seeing my friends online and doing the IR work. While recovering, an inspired thought came - IR should have something like a walk-a-thon or a virtual run because not everyone enjoys meetings, seminars, webinars, or doing genealogy (preposterous! LOL). Many gyms and workout facilities had closed because of Covid and people were just stuck at home. "Footprints for Fun" was an 8-week, fundraising, fitness challenge that anyone could do from anywhere they lived.
We held a Fitness Challenge again in 2021 for 8 weeks. Steps were calculated by using apps or entering information into a website. People paid a minimum fee to join. It has been our only fundraiser and we so appreciate everyone who has donated and participated. Many prizes have been sent out. The money raised is used 100% for philanthropy with our heritage grants and scholarships.
Covid-19 restrictions by our governments caused us to be stuck at home. Travel, work, school, family, and all other plans have been severely curtailed. Since the IR Team was already using cutting-edge technology and were familiar with online education, our offerings and opportunities for the IR Members and the public continued to grow. The amount of work getting accomplished by the genealogists from Iceland, Australia, Canada, and the USA was incredible! The database grew and grew with not just names and dates but so many photos, cemeteries, emigration, ships, ports, sagas, documents, obituaries, biographies, and more. The IT Team created so many fabulous features such as "My Page", "My Cousins", special reports, and interactive maps.
New ideas came about and were implemented. Members of IR volunteered to join volunteer teams and some even took on new projects such as Translations, Samtal Hour, New Member Training, the Saga Project, Podcasts, Social Media, and the Women and Children's Stories. Major IT initiatives were accomplished within our cloud, email, security, and database. The expansion was phenomenal! We created a Leadership Team with eight Team Leaders to manage the growing teams and tasks.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the lives of our volunteers and members have been enriched as our online genealogy database has increased in size and in scope. We host frequent educational programs, weekly Zoom meetings and frequent chats, Members-Only Samtal Hour, Tuesday Tips, and much more within the wide variety of educational opportunities both for those with an IR membership and with our Public education and offerings.
As we near two years of quarantines and constant news about Covid-19, we thank all the businesses, medical staff, teachers, and all those working to keep the local and world economy going. We thank the IR Members who support the mission and add value to the community. Most of all, we thank the IR Volunteer Team who make it all happen so easily and with so much talent, passion, and dedication.
Volunteering has many surprising benefits. Here are some comments from IR Team members:
I feel better connected and know so much more about my Icelandic story
I have made some wonderful new friends
We learn new skills at every meeting.
Volunteering is good for my brain!
The IR team has such a positive atmosphere – it is fun to be a part of the team.
Now that I am retired, IR gives me a sense of purpose.
Covid and staying at home could have been tough without my connection to the other IR volunteers. Being a part of IR is wonderful.
We appreciate our volunteers so very much. Time is valuable, so it is important that each volunteer enjoys the experience. IR has many opportunities for volunteers, so let us know if you are interested and we can help you find the perfect fit.
To see the current IR Team Members, go to the website link: Our Team.