So you’re new in town, and want to get involved within your community.  How do you want to help? Who can you ask for guidance? What are the best ways to succeed? Trying to get involved within your community for the first time can feel a little overwhelming to say the least.  I can say with confidence these feelings are perfectly normal! It can be nerve-wracking to start something new and that’s ok. 

Below are some tips that I used when relocating to The Ottawa Valley, to introduce myself and get involved in my new community.

 Find Something You Are Passionate About

As most community involvement is done outside of your 9-5 commitments, getting involved with something you are passionate about makes it a lot easier to stay committed.  Look for involvement opportunities in your community that appeal to you in order to get professional experience while still receiving personal fulfillment.

 Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

The best way to find out what is available is to ask!  It may push you out of your comfort zone but go for it!  People that are already involved in their community feel really passionate about it and are often happy to share their knowledge with newcomers.

 Show Up

The most important part of getting involved is SHOWING UP!  It is something that is so simple, but is often overlooked.  Whether it is a virtual meeting, conference call or in person meeting, staying committed to your involvement allows for creation of professional networks and personal friendships.  Failing to do so can be detrimental to the connections you are trying to make. If you are unable to fulfil your commitments, communicate with the others involved to preserve their respect and network that you have created.

 Hands on while maintaining Social Distancing

Over the past year and a half, getting involved within your community has shifted significantly to an online space.  Many groups and committees have taken to virtual meetings and events in order to maintain social distancing. One of the easiest ways to stay up to date with local events is to participate on social media. By Liking, Sharing, Following, Commenting etc on local business profiles and posts on social media platforms, it will keep you up to date on virtual events that you may be interested in attending. 

Here are some places that often have great opportunities for community involvement. 

Community Groups    

  • The Library *Hint – Libraries often offer other items specific to your community – museum passes, sporting goods equipment, provincial park passes etc.*
  • Mental Health Groups
  • Religious Groups
  • Dog Park Committees
  • Sports Teams
  • Local Food Banks
  • Social Media Events

 Business Groups

  • Networking Groups
  • Leadership Groups
  • The Chamber of Commerce
  • Toastmasters International
  • Business Network International
  • Employment Ontario Locations
  • Local Businesses’ Social Media Accounts

 I hope these tips will help you feel more at home in a new community, I know that they worked for me.  Now get unpacked, and get involved!