How to Be an Active Member of the Community: Tips to Try
Joey McDowell is an experienced writer and editor originally from the Dallas area. A firm believer in a well-balanced lifestyle, Joey applies this forward-thinking approach as the editor-in-chief of The Idea Trader. He travels extensively to find compelling stories and insightful individuals.
At some point, we’ve all wondered how to be an active member of the community. We’ve made New Year’s resolutions on the subject and maybe we even looked for community websites that we hoped would lead us to the light.
But unfortunately, the web presence of small municipalities just isn’t quite up to snuff the majority of the time.
So what’s the alternative? How do we find ways to better interact with our community or even dedicate some of our time to meeting other community members or volunteering?
Well, it turns out a lot of the specifics will come down to the specifics of your community and how it usually operates.
Our guide below will give you some basic pointers on how to become better ingrained in your community, as well as some tips on how you can work to improve your community.
Meet Your Neighbors
The first step to becoming an active member of your community is to meet your neighbors.
Yes, we know, the idea of introducing yourself to your neighbors, neighbors who may have been around since you moved in, can seem intimidating or even old-fashioned.
But knowing your neighbors really is the foundation of becoming a participant in community events. After all, community doesn’t just refer to your town or your small city, it starts in your building and in your neighborhood.
Once you’ve introduced yourself to your neighbors (and by the way, it’s never a bad idea to bring a small gift or some snacks with you), then you can ask them whether they’re familiar with any community events or facilities.
There’s a chance that they’re already active members in the community, and if they’re not, they may be interested in joining you on your quest to participate.
Find Your Community Center
A community center often acts as base camp for community activities and services. Even if you think your community doesn’t have one, it probably does, even if you haven’t noticed it before.
Try some quick internet searches to find a community center near your neighborhood. These centers are often located near municipal offices.
Community centers offer activities and services to members of the community, often free of charge. Spending time at your local community center can be a great way to enjoy yourself or learn something new, which leads to our next tip.
Take a Class/Teach a Class
Many community centers coordinate free or low-cost classes taught by members of the community. Taking or teaching one of these classes would be an excellent way to become more active in your community.
Do you have expertise with regards to a very specific subject? Speak with a community education director about how you can go about signing up to teach a class.
Even if you don’t have prior experience teaching, the class will prove to be a rewarding experience, and one that will let you see exactly how you can impact your community in positive ways.
Attend Town Hall Meetings
There are certainly times when town hall meetings can seem like an outdated event, one that doesn’t even really exist in modern times, not to any significant extent.
But we can guarantee that there are town hall meetings held in your community, even if you live in a large city.
Town hall meetings aren’t just a great way to find out what’s currently happening in your community, they’re also one of the last stands of direct Democracy in action.
These meetings are a chance to speak directly to politicians and local leaders, letting them know what’s really important to you.
The problems can be as small as speed bumps or as large as local tax rates. No matter what your area of interest is, a town hall meeting can make you an active member of your community almost immediately.
Once you attend a meeting, you should also make a point to try and make some friends, especially if they attend town meetings frequently.
They’ll be able to fill you in on the latest happenings and may even know a thing or two about other community events or organizations that you may be able to work with in the future.
Join Community Groups
One of the most significant stages of becoming a more active member of your immediate community is to join some community groups.
As we mentioned above, one group to join could be a local learning center. Or if you’re a big fan of sports and played them yourself, then you might be eligible to coach a minor league baseball team or another local sports team for children.
In general, community groups tend to be organized by area of interest. For example, there is likely an environmental protection group or club in your community who work to cut the community’s environmental impact.
Or you may find that your community has a group that has dedicated itself to fight for animal rights in your city.
Follow your passions. Ask yourself where you would like to see improvements in your community and band together with others who feel the same way you do.
Contact Local Charities
Local charities are another great option for becoming involved with your community, and yet they are rarely directly sponsored by local governments.
Instead, these types of charities operate independently, dedicating themselves to solving specific problems in the immediate area.
Many communities have local animal shelters, food banks, or volunteer clean-up crews who help the elderly with yard work and other minor tasks they’re incapable of completing themselves.
This is another area where you should ask yourself what you care about most and where your skills can be applied most effectively.
Even just spending a few hours each week on charity work will help you feel better about yourself while also giving you the opportunity to help those in need.
Deep down, we all want to feel a sense of community. But that feeling isn’t going to just come along and find us. We have to take action and make a real effort to find our community.
Becoming more knowledgeable about the people who live in your neighborhood and town is a great start.