Joining Cool Club

Who did you grow closer to while being pushed further apart?

I joined National Autistic Society’s Croydon Youth Club (also known as “Cool Club”) in March 2020, hoping to make some new friends. This was a very big step for me, as independently going somewhere new can be very overwhelming for me.

I had attended a few sessions in the space, but as soon as I started to settle into the club, the pandemic hit and we all went into lockdown. Youth club could not be in person anymore.

Youth club moved onto Zoom with weekly sessions. This completely eradicated the physical challenge which stopped me from fully enjoying the time I had in the space. I began to form friendships with the other kids. I was enjoying atmosphere of youth club, and I was overjoyed to be a part of it from the safety of my home. I developed a lot of confidence, and for the first time in a while, I felt like I was truly part of a community where I could be myself.

Youth club ran for 6 months with no in-person meetups. By the first few park trips in late 2020, I felt like I had got to know the other members so well. It was not that different seeing them in person than online.

By late 2021 we were back in the youth club space, with a whole new understanding of each other and an environment where we could continue growing in a new way.

The pandemic, lockdown and the difficulties that came with those events united us as a group.

Who did you grow closer to while being pushed further apart?

One reply on “Joining Cool Club”

To answer the question “Who did you grow closer to while being pushed further apart?” I would actually say myself. In many ways when I lost dancing and all the things I was doing before lockdown, I was pushed apart from part of myself, but that then allowed me to discover who I am without that stuff.
I used to always answer the question “who are you” with things I did- I’m a dancer, a singer, an actor, a performer- now I still accept those things as part of me but that’s not all of who I am.
I am kind, I am creative, I am music and movement and poetry and so much more. I am human, and neurodivergent, existing both outside and inside boxes. I like to colour inside the lines as well as create my own path, and I can be all these conflicting things at once.
It took some distance from myself for me to have the peace I needed to delve deeper into who I am. 🙂

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