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How to become involved in Your New Rural Community

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Home > Education & Events > October 2019 > How to become involved in Your New Rural Community
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You've recently moved to a rural community. Congratulations! Rural life rocks, and we know you'll love your new home. But, sometimes, moving to a new place can be tough. Sure, you have your job, or your farm, or your business to keep you busy, but really connecting with a new community of people, feeling a part of things, requires some time and effort aside from that.

The key to it lies in two simple words: Get involved. The question is, how?

Here are some suggestions for getting involved, fitting in and adjusting to life in your new rural community.

Subscribe to the local paper

Your new town's newspaper is a treasure trove of information, and offers more than just those amusing small-town crime reports. It can help you take the pulse of your community, how people feel about local and national events. It will also highlight important happenings around town, whether it's a business opening or closing on main street or an interview with the person running for mayor.

Volunteer

Use that subscription to your local paper to find out about food drives, soup kitchens and community events that need volunteers. Not only will you be helping out people in need, but you'll be forging ties to the community as well.

Help out at school

Small communities have strong, local schools where the parents are very involved. If you have children, explore the opportunities there. Join the PTA, volunteer in your child's classroom, offer to run the annual bake sale, even become the lunch lady! It's a great way to meet teachers and other parents whose children your kids are getting to know. A couple of play dates later, boom, your kids will have made some new friends in their new town — and so will you.

Be the "soccer mom" (or dad)

Are your kids interested in being involved in school or after-school sports? You get involved, too. Even just sitting in the stands watching your child play flag football on a chilly fall night can make you feel a part of the community in a hurry.

Hop on the internet

More and more small, rural communities are getting wired. If your house has internet service, great! If not, take a drive to a coffee shop in town, or the library. Check out local sites — like those for tourism or city business — and see what's going on. Another hint: community websites often link to local radio stations that may stream online, which is another great way to stay connected.

Check out the library

Speaking of libraries, those in rural areas have deep ties to the community, and act as gathering places as much as book-lending hubs. Undoubtedly, there will be a message board with information about local events, upcoming author readings, book clubs, classes offered through the library and more.

Dive into history

One way to get into the heart and soul of a small community is to delve into its history. Investigate whether your new town has a historical society and if so, stop by one afternoon. The people who work there live and breathe local history and love to talk about it. Knowing where a place has been, what's happened there, and who the residents have been throughout decades can make you feel more connected to your new home.

Attend a town hall meeting

If you really want to hear how locals feel about issues happening in the community, this is the place to do it. It will also get you noticed. Believe us, people take note of who attends town hall meetings.

Participate in community events

Rural communities are famous for their festivals, parades, special weekends celebrating all things local, you name it, there will be a small-town festival celebrating it. Take part! Volunteer! Or even set up a booth selling your famous jam, crafts or other handmade items. It's a great way to get to know your neighbors and have them get to know you.

Shop locally

Frequent the locally owned grocery store or farmers' market. Use the small pharmacy on Main Street for your prescriptions, rather than the big box place out on the highway. Haunt the local boutiques and shops rather than ordering everything online. Supporting your local merchants will make you feel a part of the community, and they'll thank you for it.

Finding your footing in a small community can feel a bit like the first day at a new school. But you can do it! All it takes is a friendly smile and a willingness to get involved.

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