February 2nd, 2021
In the past week there has been a lot of feedback surrounding our rebranding effort. Much of this is due to a lack of information. We have had some time to think and consider what you’ve had to say and now it is time to clear the air.
We would like to thank and acknowledge the supportive comments, emails and phone calls that we have received over the past week but we must follow this by saying; the hate, bigotry, threats of vandalism and bullying are uncalled for and will not be tolerated. There will be no forced resignation of our directors, our president, or our executive director. Our office has always been a place that encourages respectful discussion and debate, but the actions of a few people within our community this past week are unacceptable and frankly, frightening. We are not a faceless organization, our board of directors and office team consists of 14 Yukoners from all walks of life who all dedicate countless hours in service of their community. Every member of the board of directors and all of our staff are Yukoners. Many of us have raised our families here, some of us were born and raised here, some have been here 10+ years, and some are newcomers to our community. It is our belief that anyone willing to dedicate themselves to their community is a true Yukoner; regardless of their tenure in the territory.
Many of the comments we’ve received highlight other changes to Yukon that have taken place in the past 20 years. It is true, this is not the world that many of us grew up in, nor will it ever be. It is not the same Yukon of 1898, 1950, 1980 or even 2010. The festival has evolved as the years have, it has changed to meet requirements of an ever changing world, and it has developed according to the values of those who put in the hard work to make it happen and those who chose to attend and offer feedback.
What has not been communicated, is that our society name has not changed. We remain (as we have for 57 years) the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Society; our rebrand was not an attempt to erase our history, only to refresh our public face, give ourselves a less formal name (after all, you probably don’t go by your full name either) and to continue to promote openness and inclusivity within our festival, and our community. Currently, we have our hands full putting together this year’s festival. We are thrilled to be bringing the community a way to come together and celebrate even during a global pandemic, and bringing back favourites such as the Snow Sculptures and Pyro Musical.
It is clear to us that many Yukoners feel passionately about our branding, and about the perception that the public was not consulted in this change. In response to your feedback, Yukon Rendezvous is committing to running a public survey post festival; this will be your chance to provide meaningful and constructive feedback. We would also like to invite a Yukoner/s with PR/Marketing experience to submit their interest in joining our Public Relations Committee to assist in drafting the survey, analyzing its results, and determining a course of action.
We’ve heard you Yukon, now it’s time for you to hear us. We are calling on all Yukoners to stop the hate and put your passion into practice. Attend our festival this year in whatever way you feel comfortable and join us in kicking the most serious case of cabin fever blues in recent history. Buy our raffle tickets, support your Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Society or one day you might just find yourself writing a Facebook post wondering why the festival has disappeared. There are so many ways to get out and get involved, visit our website and volunteer if you’re able, if you’re more ambitious you can join our society or one of our many committees, or even our board of directors. Attend meetings, engage in the survey when it’s offered. There are infinite ways at any commitment level to get involved and make this festival your own.
Most importantly, be kind to one another.
We look forward to seeing the community participating at our festival, both in-person and virtually!
Yours in Rendezvous,
Board of Directors
Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Society