Musings – Michelle Avaroma, Communications Coordinator

Summer at Florida Network

Greetings Networkers!

One of my favorite parts about summer is the Tour De France! Each year for three weeks in July the world’s elite cyclists zoom around France and its surrounding countries in a quest to win the famed yellow jersey. These road warriors pick up points in each stage by traversing mountains and valleys in treacherous wind, torrential rain and blistering summer heat. What many people don’t understand is that these cyclists compete in teams, constructed to include at least one rider with each specific skill set to help propel their leader to the finish line. Each team has a Sprinter, conserving their energy until the final sprint effort at the end of the race; a Climber, the best man for the mountain classifications that take competitors high into the Pyrenees each year; a Puncheur who is always ready for a short, steep climb; a Time Trialist, the powerhouse rider for the time trial stages; and multiple Domestiques, jacks of all trades who tend to the team by carrying water and other items from the team convoy to the riders. It’s a wild three weeks that includes crashes, upsets and awe that these cyclists are able to ride upwards of 160KM/100 miles a day!

When I first began at the Network, only John and I cared about this international competition but now the love and interest for Le Tour has grown to include other Network team members who watch and discuss the competition each day in the office. This year even included a fantasy league. The reality is our Florida Network team functions a lot like a cycling team and watching this event goes hand in hand with my other favorite thing about summer: Summer at the Network.

After the busy spring season where the Network is a buzz preparing for Hill Day, the Annual Meeting, QIC and QA, the Florida Network office shifts gears for the summer. Our team gets back to basics, resetting our system and preparing for a new fiscal/program year. I watch in awe as the Network team members all hone in on the important tasks that make #TheNetworkWork. Each person refocuses on their own piece of contracts, amendments, trainings, events, data, and the things that will help propel our Florida Network members to best serve Florida’s kids. The summer includes many program visits where we connect legislators with their local programs and shine a light on the wonderful work our members are doing in their communities every day. So while the Tour de France is a three week competition, our members are in a race to help Florida’s vulnerable families 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Our “yellow jersey” is making youth feel safe, heard and valued.

As the summer winds down, the kids go back to school, and our Florida Network calendar of events starts to fill up, I want to say thank you to my coworkers and the rest of the Florida Network family members who get up every day ready and willing to ride that extra mile for the youth we serve. You are the true champions!