We really wanted to hold an event this year to make up for the in-person HOPE that didn't happen in 2020. While HOPE 2020 was a terrific virtual event that will influence all future conferences, we didn't want 2021 to be completely virtual again since the purpose of having another event so soon was to instill some normalcy.

We considered many ideas, including a massively scaled back in-person conference which would have only allowed several hundred people to attend. We also thought about crossing our fingers and hoping everything would reopen in time and that we could just try to have as normal a conference as possible. In the end, we mixed reality with responsibility and realized the time just wasn't right - yet.

Every event has different parameters to consider and we can only speak for ourselves. Even in the best case scenario, we believe that asking people to help coordinate HOPE and expect people from around the country and, where possible, the world to make plans to attend would be asking too much in a fragile, transitional period.

We all need to take care of ourselves first and get our lives back to where they should be. We all need to feel comfortable again in the company of many others, which is going to be a gradual process. Most importantly, we need to ensure that things are, in fact, safe again, something which is by no means guaranteed at this time. While much of the States has made progress getting vaccinated, there are still far too many who have resisted this, which may make things considerably less safe in the months ahead. Other countries are having a much rougher time, making travel to a conference here unthinkable for now.

We know this is a disappointment for all of us. But we truly believe it's the right call with the information we have at this time. And it doesn't have to be all bad - we feel more energized than ever now to really start planning for 2022. We'll be having HOPE in a brand new environment with so much potential. We all will have lived through something both common and unique. We hope you share our enthusiasm and inspiration. Check the www.hope.net website in the days ahead for ways you can get involved. And keep the weekend of July 22-24, 2022 open.