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BSA News

Aug 31, 2021

Knowledge Communities Continue Work During Pandemic

When Governor Baker issued a State of Emergency for Massachusetts in March 2020, it became clear that the community the BSA had convened for a century and a half was about to be upended.

This was especially true for the BSA Knowledge Communities, which have long served as important forums for networking and innovating. The 12 Knowledge Community meetings already scheduled for the remainder of the month were canceled, and the BSA turned its focus toward supporting its members through virtual town halls, with an emphasis on continuing essential programming despite the uncertainty.

After some zigging and zagging, we ultimately Zoomed. In an effort to stay the course, the BSA put out a call to all chairs offering the possibility of continuing meetings virtually. On March 24, SketchUp Bootcamp successfully hosted its first Zoom meeting. The Small Practices Network followed suit, increasing the frequency of their meetings to twice a month. Despite the uncertainty of the time, members were eager to troubleshoot and brainstorm together.

As one Knowledge Community after another began meeting online, attendance increased. Members who had previously found it difficult to get into Boston were now able to join in. The reach expanded across the country and, eventually, the globe.

Harbor Room

One of the BSA's busiest meeting spaces lay empty throughout the pandemic.

Photo: BSA staff

For the past 17 months, Knowledge Community chairs have rallied to keep the BSA community intact, despite personal and professional challenges, uncertainties, and—all too often—tragedies. Remarkably, through all the hardship, they helped to make the BSA a hub of support, information, and connection during the early stages of the pandemic.

Since that first virtual meeting in March, the Knowledge Communities have offered 286 online events with registration totaling nearly 7,000 people (representing 4,337 unique members and non-members) and over 200 hours of continuing education, half of which offered HSW credits—a truly amazing accomplishment!

We are deeply grateful for this work of keeping our community strong, vibrant, and impactful.