I had the opportunity to attend a liberal arts progressive university in Florida, and one of the messages my professors taught was the importance of community. They stressed that community brings a sense of place. And it really does. It’s also important to remember community can have many meanings, and one can get a sense of community from coworkers, their classmates, family, friends, teammates and more.
What community means to me is acceptance, belonging and proximity.
I think I equate community with proximity because when I think about a time in my life when I truly felt community, it was when I lived in a very small town in Illinois. I have fond memories of riding my bike all over town as a kid, to the library, the park, the small grocery store. I have went back and visited this small town several times as an adult and I think one of the things I love the most is the fact how things don’t change there. I guess that could be a bad thing, but to me continuity is important. So, I’ll add continuity to my list of things I associate with a sense of community.
Here are some ideas on ways to form community:
Breaking bread together: Potluck’s, backyard BBQ’s, dinner parties, and picnics are all great ways to get to know your neighbors or to improve on relationships you have already established.
Projects: Helping a neighbor plant a garden, or organizing a co-op garden in your neighborhood, fixing something, or doing a group project to better the community as a whole, like a litter clean up program, neighborhood crime watch or helping out with habitat for humanity.
Sharing: Information, time, stories and goods.
Hobbies: Explore your local library, art league, education centers and community centers or theaters.