7 Ways to Connect with Community
A guy walks into a bar. No, it’s not the start of a joke but a recent news item about Carlos, a University of Calgary student who emailed every woman in his school directory named Nicole – all 247 of them – in an attempt to find the one he met in a bar. Because Carlos sent a group mailing, the Nicoles started responding to each other. Quickly, they organized a Nicole Meet-Up at a downtown bar and 15 of them formed a new “girl gang”!
At every age, people feel the need to connect with others in their community and experience a sense of belonging. Some folks join neighbourhood groups and events with ease while others need a nudge. Below is that nudge, with 7 tips to kick-start connections:
Be Basic, Not Virtual
Introduce yourself to people you see every day. Instead of toggling between Facebook and Twitter on a sunny afternoon, go outside and hit the streets: put up fliers for a book club; sign up for a community garden; arrange a neighbourhood play date (for kids) and a Happy Hour (for everyone else).
No time or desire to hit the streets without a roadmap? Join a neighbourhood social network and meet people who live in your community. Start a group. Share news. Create your own sense of belonging – there’s Next Door in the US and Go Neighbour in Canada.
What interests you, travelling? Baking? Geo-caching? Meet like-minded people in your community and get social. Sites like Not4Dating and Meetup are a few sites to check (remember to specify your country before you search). New to the city? Dine with strangers through the Eat With app. By the end of the meal, these strangers might develop into friendships.
Support the Farmers Market
Show support – both community and economic – for your local farmers, musicians and artisans by shopping at farmers markets. What an ideal way to connect with the direct source of your food and artwork while engaging with neighbours. Simply Google ‘farmers markets in your area’ and you’ll be surprised at how many locations pop up!
Don’t know where to start? Check out Volunteer Match that connects you with your passion, tells you where volunteering is most needed, and helps you set a goal to volunteer regularly. You’ll discover others who share your interests, from helping animals to preserving heritage sites.
Organize or Participate in a Clean Up or Tree Planting
WIN-WIN-WIN: You clean, you plant, you meet others with the same giving mindset and you feel pride from an appealing neighbourhood. If someone has already organized a project, offer to help; if nothing is yet planned, start the wheels turning. Here’s a couple of links to get you started in tree planting and community clean up.
Find a Mentor or Become One
What would you like to learn? What would you like to share? Whether it’s time to follow your heart and career aspirations or time to pay it forward by sharing your life skills and expertise, there’s Find a Mentor in the US and a list of mentor services in Canada. You’ll meet others with similar interests in the process.
Drop in City Council Meetings
What’s going on in your community? Explore it by attending the next meeting. Check your local news sources for upcoming dates or search online for details. As you make new connections, you’ll discover what’s happening now and what’s proposed for the future. Listen to your neighbours’ concerns and opinions, and share your own voice.
By the way, Carlos DID connect with the real Nicole, an exchange student from Holland who didn’t even have a U of C email address. The power of ‘Nicole Networking’ and community connections resulted in a happy ending.
Images by Prawny of Pixabay
Guest Author Bio
Visit Shannon’s Blog / Website: https://www.shannonkernaghan.com/