Connecting Back to Community
Suggestions for How You Can Connect With Your Community
Slowly but surely, we’ve started venturing out of our pandemic bubbles. I can’t be the only one who somewhat forgot what it feels like to sit in a crowded restaurant or interact with strangers in a group setting. It took some creativity for us to find ways to still connect with loved ones whether it was moving holiday dinners outdoors, celebrating birthdays around a bonfire, doing workouts with friends via zoom, or having Sunday night family facetime calls.
Now, the opportunities to find community are more endless than they have been in a while, but maybe you’re feeling a little stumped about how to get involved. Check out our list of ideas for how you can get back out into the world, enjoy time with new and old friends, and feel a sense of belonging in your community.
Moving From Quarantine Back To Community
Volunteer at an animal shelter. You can try this one alone or with family and friends. Shelters offer a variety of opportunities for volunteers from grittier tasks like cleaning kennels or litter boxes to simpler ones like walking dogs or spending time socializing in the cat rooms. The latter options are especially great if you want to bring the kids along!
Join a class, group, or club. See what your city has available, and get to know people in your community who share similar interests. The possibilities are endless: book club, cycling class, running group, gardening club, pilates class, poetry/writing group, quilting club, or intramural basketball or hockey (you name the sport).
If you can’t find a group or club for your favourite hobby, consider starting one! You can create an event on Facebook and post information at the local library, coffee shops, or gyms to help you spread the word and find others who would like to join you in your newest adventure. Why not try you hand at hosting a virtual or in real life event with us and connect with like-minded from all over. As a Brookie Host you’ll not only connect with new people and make new friends but also watch as you bring people together and see new connections form. Fostering a community of people who love books, food, and meaningful conversation is truly rewarding.
If you’re struggling to find in-person classes or groups, take your search online! You can virtually participate in all sorts of communities. We have has tons of amazing bookclub events you can join in real life or virtually. Gals Who Read is a Facebook group made up of 67k+ fellow book lovers and The Online Workout Club allows you to join small workout classes virtually and connect with not only the trainers, Jess and Tom, but other participants working out alongside you. These are just a couple of examples; search for what interests you!
Perform a random act of kindness. Leave a baked good on a neighbour’s doorstep or pay the bill of someone sitting behind you in the drive-thru or a few tables over at a restaurant. If you live in a winter wonderland this time of year, shovel an extra driveway or the sidewalk along your street. Offer to walk the dog of an elderly neighbour or pick up groceries for someone you know works late. One single act could put a smile on someone’s face and remind them they live in a community that cares.
Volunteer at a senior living centre. Take time to sit with some of the residents, especially any who don’t have frequent visitors. They’ll enjoy the company, and you might get to enjoy a piece of wise advice or two. If you think it’d be helpful to have more organized time to spend together, you could ask to participate in different events that a centre holds such as bingo nights, themed dinners, or craft time.
Write a positive review for a business you like. This not only helps promote their business but will be sure to leave a smile on the owner and employees’ faces. You could also leave an “in-person review”. If you’re waited on by an especially kind staff member, ask to speak to the manager. All parties involved will likely be expecting a complaint, but they’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear your words of praise.
Attend fun events happening in your area. Just a few suggestions include trivia or bingo night at a local winery or pub, 5k walks or runs (these take place year-round!), chilli cookoffs, farmers markets (a seasonal option for some), live music performances at a bar or coffee shop, and craft nights or a reading hour at your local library. Great places to check for these events include Facebook’s “Events” shortcut, your community’s individual Facebook page, the social media accounts of businesses in your area, the local newspaper, your community centre’s website or bulletin boards, and by asking for suggestions from friends or family who live nearby!
Join or organize a neighbourhood clean-up at a park or along city walking trails. This not only improves the look and health of your community but helps you meet new people without involving any particular hobby or interest. It’s also a great way to get outdoors (especially for us Northerners as we head into spring).
Connect with a virtual community. If you’re not quite ready to venture out of your bubble or if you live in a more rural area with fewer events or clubs, consider how you can connect with a virtual community. Social media can be a great way to see what, or better yet, who is out there.
I actually learned about BooknBrunch through Instagram during the height of the pandemic, and it’s been great to join a community that loves books and reading as much I do. I also especially enjoy poetry and have found several different poetry accounts on Instagram that foster great engagement both on the platform and in real life by holding virtual or in-person workshops.
What’s something you love: the outdoors? A particular sports team? A favourite hobby? Try searching hashtags or keywords that relate to what interests you and see what kind of posts and accounts pop up. If any interest you, give them a follow, interact with them and other followers, and keep an eye out for how to get more involved!
Which of these suggestions will you be trying? Have other ideas about how to connect back to the community? Let us know here!
Taylor Stawecki is a 20-something Michigander with a love for the great outdoors and written word. She spends her weekdays working for a digital marketing company and as a freelance copywriter. In her free time, you can find her reading, writing poetry, running, watching a Grey’s Anatomy rerun, or spending time with her family and friends. As an old soul, she enjoys collecting salt and pepper shakers and cuddling up in oversized sweaters.