5 Ways to Get Involved in your Community

Recently I attended a Community Association Institute (CAI)
legislative conference. The overwhelming message that I came away with was that
everyone involved in Common Interest communities needs to get involved and
become part of the solution. Nationally and locally, we have great legislative
committees, lobbyists and staff members dedicated to fighting for your property
rights and the community management profession in general. The legislative
professionals can get the doors opened but it is our job to walk on through
that door and let our elected officials know how a particular piece of
legislation will help or hurt our community, lifestyle, property value or
standard of living.
My role is going to be in keeping you all informed on the
various bills affecting our communities once the filing deadline passes on
3/1/19. Below are some things that you can do to get involved not only in the
legislative process but the community in general. After all, it is called a “common
interest” community – right?
Getting involved with your neighbors and neighborhood can be a
great beginning to a happy life. Our communities can be pillars of support when
we need them or friendly faces we’re happy to see each day. Through volunteering,
joining clubs and groups, taking part in community sports activities and
hosting events, you can bond with those who live around you and create a
wonderful home for yourself – and others.
Here are 5 ways to get more involved in your community:
  1. Know your Representatives
Make it a point to know
who your State and Federal representatives are. Although there are lobbyists
looking out for your interests, nothing is quite as powerful as a conversation
or letter from a representative’s constituent describing why a particular piece
of legislation is good or bad for your community.
  1. Start conversations
Learn more about the
people who live near you by starting conversations within your community. This
is easily done through book clubs or groups that come together to make jewelry,
create art, cook and learn new languages. Ask your immediate neighbors if they
know about any clubs or meetups you can join. If there aren’t any, start one
yourself.
If you have a community
center or other public space available, use it to form friendships while you
learn something new. Sometimes taking turns meeting in members’ homes, either
weekly or monthly, is a good way to break the ice with small talk or enjoy
truly enriching conversation. Think about planning a series of special gatherings
or ongoing drop-in events.
  1. Become a community volunteer
Volunteer for a committee, board seat or some other group in your town.
Volunteerism is a superb way to meet people and contribute skills and talents
to those who might need them. Not only will you probably experience a sense of
accomplishment after sharing the gifts you have to offer, your neighbors will
likely notice your contributions and consider you a valuable member of the
community.
  1. Get active in social programs
Families can get to know
neighbors by becoming active in special programs for children. Even if you
don’t have kids, meet new people in your neighborhood by volunteering your time
to these activities.
Children often enjoy
becoming members in Girl or Boy Scout-type groups, YMCA memberships, parks and
recreation classes or mommy and me groups. Often, parents of kids in these
programs go on to become friends for life. If you don’t have little ones, it’s
still possible to coach, teach a craft, be a dance instructor and get involved
in your community in other ways.
  1. Attend or host charity events on behalf of the Association
Many cities and small towns and community associations have carnivals, holiday gift boutiques, formal
dinners and similar charitable events to bring the community closer together.
Attend these events and enjoy being a part of shared experiences. You’ll likely
meet people who have many of the same interests as you do, which is a good way
to form friendships.
The good thing about getting involved in your new community is that if
there aren’t gardens, clubs, organized activities, volunteer opportunities or legislative
action committees in place for you to meet people, you can always be to
facilitator of these types of gatherings. Your new neighbors will probably be
glad you took the initiative to provide ways to connect.

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