Monday, July 21, 2008

Moving to a Small Town

Most people move to a small town after they have children or when they start planning a family. There are exceptions, but most families in small towns have kids. A small town is not the type of place you want to hang out when you are single or newly married. There is not much to do. When you have children, most families choose a small town to find a safe place with good schools to raise their kids. But once you get there, what do you do? It is hard to meet people in a small town, especially in New England. Here are some tips for meeting people in a small town.

School: If you child is in elementary school, you will meet lots of parents at school events. If you aren't there yet, you will discover many people you don't like. In fact, there may be times you feel like you don't like anyone you have met. Don't worry, you will. Sometimes it takes time, but there are people there you will like. If you child is in preschool, you will meet people at school, but most preschools and daycares are smaller, limiting the number of parents you will meet. If you are lucky, you will meet potential friends there, but it is not as likely.

Volunteer: Small towns offer many opportunities to volunteer and these are people who are glad to have you (there may be exceptions so if you find a group where you don't feel welcome, find different organization). Most small towns have a library if you like books, an historical society if you like history, and a parent organization at the school. Check out the local paper or the Internet for some ideas for different volunteer opportunities.

Join a Club: Considering the population, small towns offer zillions of choices for clubs. If you like plants, you can join a garden club. If politics are more your thing, there may be a democratic town committee and republican town committee. These clubs will allow you to meet people with the same interests as you. This common ground makes it easier to start a conversation. The paper and Internet are a good source for this too.

Join Neighbors & Newcomers: While this is a group like mentioned above, it is important enough to deserve its own mention. Your group might not be called Neighbors & Newcomers, it might be the newcomers group or another name. You can find a listing at www.newcomersclub.com. This organization offers listings of newcomers groups across the country. In some towns, people will maintain their memberships for years, in others they will join when they come to a new town or have another life-altering event. Neighbors and Newcomers groups plan different social events to give people the opportunity to socialize with new people.

Join Sports: If you have kids, they might be interested in participating in some type of team sports activity. Most towns offer soccer and baseball and your town may even offer more unusual sports such as lacrosse, hockey, or football.

I am sure people are able to offer a variety of other suggestions, but if you are moving to a small town, this is a great way to meet new people or make new friends. This will make living in a small town much more enjoyable.

Park and Recreation Classes: Most small towns have something called park & rec which is taxed with organizing activities around town. They usually offer affordable options for classes and camp for the kids and even offer fun activities for adults.

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