Earth Day Series 3) Why Building Community Matters with 9 Fun Ideas to Get Started May 11, 2022 Reading Time: 5 min Share22TweetPinShare22 SharesWe have all felt the social and mental health impacts of the pandemic. Whether it’s grief, loneliness, relief, isolation, division, fear, something else—or a combination of all of these—these effects are likely to be long-lasting unless we do something positive. Our experiences have been different, but one thing is common to us all: we’ve had to rethink the importance of connection and what it means to be human. We are social creatures. Beyond our immediate family ties, having relationships with a wider range of people is essential for our mental health. That’s why C – Connection is part of the Fierce Kindness philosophy. And while it’s nice to feel all safe and cosy with our favourite peeps, when we stay within our ‘people’ comfort zone, our confidence shrinks. Our activities and possibilities are limited by what we are used to. We think—and become—less. Whereas connecting to a broader community, while riskier, actually helps us feel safer in the long run. We learn it is safe to trust more, and that we can ‘handle it’ when things go wrong. We overcome challenges, as well as new ways to enjoy ourselves and have fun. Having a broad range of people in our lives builds resilience, exposes us to new ideas and ways of looking at things. And all this is not only good for us, but it’s good for humankind as a whole. In fact, in the book Humankind (which I thoroughly recommend, link is to Goodreads), the author proposes that it’s not survival of the fittest as we have been taught, but survival of the friendliest. And to take this one step further, I believe that what helped humans survive, grow and take over the planet (friendliness, kindness, sharing, and courageously caring) are exactly the qualities that will help us reverse the damage our species is now doing to our environment… So, let’s take back control. With both environmental—and mental health—issues on the rise, you can make a big difference, as a role model or leader. That’s because creating community makes the world a better place. Here’s how: when people gather towards a common purpose we feel a sense of belonging. We talk and we have ideas, feeling part of something bigger. As we regularly come together we forge trust and bonds. And those bonds, that sense of belonging and those ideas get us inspired to take action. And bonus—we might just find some new fulfilling friendships! We make much bigger changes together, than alone. Who knows then, what building community might do to make the world a better place? As members of community, people don’t just want to lay bricks, they want to build a cathedral. Tracey Bower Here are 9 fun ideas to build community Volunteer locally. Get involved in something that matters to you in your local area. Whether it’s a one-time thing like supporting an event, or an ongoing commitment, you’ll meet new like-minded people! Start a book or film club. Create community, bring people together, build friendships—and enjoy! Take it one step further by starting a book or film club that looks at inspiring stories, how others are making a difference or documentaries that raise awareness. Simply care. Be kind to your fellow workers, service people like grocery clerks, baristas or cleaners, neighbours etc. Take an interest. Ask questions. Make kindness and care the lens through which you interact with your world: in this world of busyness and disconnection, more than ever, we all want to feel that we matter. Start a walking group. Choose a theme or goal, or simply walk for health, to get in touch with nature and/or make friendships. Take it one step further by introducing an activist element to it. Get some ideas and see what GirlTrek is doing for black women here >> Be a mentor. This could be someone at work or with a small business. It could also be a child or teen (see the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization). Organize a one-off fun event to “do good” locally. What are you and others always noticing or complaining about? What is doable if you got a group of people together? An example is a local “pick up garbage in your area/along your roadside”. Tip: take names and pics and send them into the local paper. Meet your neighbours! Slow down, get to know the people who live around you. Consider hosting a block party. Hold a clothing/stuff swap! So. Much. Fun. And it’s good for your pocketbook/bank balance. You get rid of stuff you don’t need, and go home with something you might need—or love! Top Tip: Agree what happens to things that are left over, like giving it to charity. Organize a time/activity/skill share or co-op. This is where you get a group of people together and help each other out with your time/skill set or an activity you enjoy There are so many ideas here like a Baby-sitting Co-op, Ride Sharing, Skill Swap (I’m looking for tech support, am offering graphic design), a Monthly Gardening or DIY (home renos) gathering where you rotate around the group choosing one person a month and all go and help out. I have a friend that started a sailing (boat) co-op where boats and costs are shared. Top Tip: To get started, a Facebook/WhatsApp group can be a great way to organize this. Plus 5 powerful tips to get started Make it personal. What do you love? Enjoy? What bothers you? What excites you? If you choose something that aligns with your values, you will be more passionate and inspire others more! Start small—and take it easy on yourself. What’s the easy way? Remember that an oak tree (and eventually a forest) grows from just one acorn! Start off inviting people who will participate. Choose people who will show up and do what they say they’re going to do. You can grow over time, but without that initial participation your group will never get off the ground. And don’t be afraid to ask people to commit. People like to be held accountable (even if it’s uncomfortable), because it always feels good to do the “right” thing. Know the WHY/s for what you are doing. This will make it easier to make decisions and take action. What are your WHY/s? Make a list—and remind yourself often. Create a group WHY: Come together and learn why you are gathering. Everyone will have their own reasons, but what is the collective reason? And remember that change happens. Your own or the group ‘whys’ may change over time—and so might your group membership. It’s all good. Make it fun. Fun makes people want to come—and come back again and again. ‘Nuff said. Wrap-up Community is not just an abstract idea, it’s you, your friends, neighbours, fellow moms, co-workers and more! And it’s essential both to our individual happiness and humankind’s survival. Plus, a perk to participating in our communities is the deep and meaningful friendships that often arise. We’re all struggling with the complexities and overwhelm of modern life. So remember that you already make a positive difference in the lives you come into contact with. Your caring, kind words and/or deeds build community as surely as any big gestures. So if you don’t have time to do anything big, simply start with kindness. What resonated with you in this article? Tell us in the comments below! If you liked this article about how and why to build community, you may also like: Why Making a Difference is Good for Us (with 7 Tips to Make it Easy!) Who or What is an “Essential Worker”? A thought-provoking read inspired by the COVID pandemic, this article looks at who actually might be essential to our community… Who Nourishes YOUR Spark? 7 Types of People You Need to Have in Your Life! Change the world. Start with you! Image of Women sat at table representing how to build Community Group by krakenimages via Kraken Images Share22TweetPinShare22 Shares Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.