***this is not a paid post…all opinions in this article are mine and mine alone, and do not represent the views or opinions of any group mentioned in this article***
As a military family, it can be difficult to get involved in each new community we move to. Becoming a positive, contributing member requires research and time, and often just knowing the right people. These sort of relationships don’t necessarily form overnight. There is a ton of new information to process when you move. Organizing your home life usually takes precedence to “putting yourself out there” and getting involved. This process is exponentially more difficult when you are in an area where you KNOW NO ONE. Not to mention, once we feel like we are comfortable with our surroundings, it’s usually time to pack up and move to the next duty station.
Regardless, my husband and I do our best to get to know the people and places we are living. By nature, we are “involved” people:
- my husband has strong ties to his alumni association which has had a chapter in every town we’ve lived in
- our son is in Boy Scouts, which is accompanied by a lot of events and service opportunities
- both our son and middle daughter are involved in the band – more events and service hours!
- we are firm believers in using our local library to its fullest, attending events, volunteering and more
- we attend community events like block parties, city festivals, music shows, and more
- we even sold baked goods at our local farmer’s market this year!
These few things are just the beginning, but they provide a wonderful way for us to be social and meet other people who have the same interests we do.
Another amazing opportunity to get involved might be in an area you don’t expect it…your local community college. I promise this is not just a pitch because I work at one…I have had a strong tie to the CC life since I was young. My mother has worked at a CC in various rolls for the last 17 years, I attended CC and earned a Business AA, and I was a student worker at that college while I attended. My entire adult life I have been aware of the great programs CCs offer.
CCs frequently hold events the general public is invited to…festivals like Omaha’s Annual Intertribal Pow Wow,
art shows, culinary experiences, and more. They also usually offer continuing education courses…a great way to meet new people and learn a new skill in one or a few sessions (those links direct you to my CC because they are easy for me to find…take a minute to search your local cc to see what they have to offer!). Our college’s continuing education offers everything from city tours, to dance classes, to woodworking – all at reasonable prices.
These are not your regular run of the mill public programs. Often, these events and programs have been FAR better than similar ones I have attended out in town in a private business setting. Since they are put on by the CC, they are often FREE!!! (not cont. ed programs). It is CC students and staff that are working hard to make these events happen and they put their heart and souls into their work!
Today, I was introduced to a side of my local CC here in Omaha that I had not experienced yet…the Sage Student Bistro, situated right in the Culinary Arts building. The bistro is a full fledged restaurant open during lunch and dinner hours. You would never know, but it is a working “lab” class run by the culinary students and staff. I was served a gourmet lunch at a phenomenal price and I had the chance to meet fellow CC staff and students who are passionate about what they do. I wish every restaurant put the same love and care into each meal as I witnessed at Sage today. I am incredibly thankful a fellow employee recommended we meet up at the bistro for lunch. Needless to say, I am looking forward to having more meals there in the near future and hope to find a time to get a tour of the facilities. To top it off, our Culinary Arts continuing education program (Open Kitchen Workshops) offers so many classes that sound amazing…it is going to be hard to choose just one to try!!!
So, if you have been looking for a way to get more involved in your community, or are just looking for something new to try, check out your local community college and see what they have to offer! You can take classes, attend festivals, volunteer, or donate, all while meeting a terrific crowd of enthusiastic people!!!