Bring the Community Together by Stepping out of Your House
Columnist Amber Woods shares some easy ways to get involved in the community now that warm weather is here. What are you waiting for?
How do we bring our community together even more in times of global chaos?
That is the question I typed before starting this column. And then I sat here, blankly staring at the computer screen for a while. A long while.
How do we keep our community close-knit, even with so much tragedy in the world? Even with so much political disagreement?
And then I realized: We already have so many platforms in place. We just need to use them better.
This Saturday is the Havre de Grace community yard sale. You may be thinking, "Well, that doesn't sound like a great way to bring people together. Selling junk?" But I disagree. Selling old items you've dusted off from your basement or dragged out of your garage brings back a lot of memories, sparks a lot of discussion and gives you an opportunity to connect with others.
There's so much interaction at a community yard sale. Looking through someone else's belongings (even when those belongings are for sale) is an intimate thing. It tells you a lot about someone. Sometimes it's a window into the lives of people you would have never had an opportunity to know otherwise.
You may have never known that your neighbor had a pottery hobby or that a friend who lives down the street used to collect Cal Ripken memorabilia. Maybe you're not the only person around who has a vast collection of vintage buttons. There's no telling what you'll learn about people. (And let's face it, we all love learning strange things about people we know.)
No matter if you're on the selling or the buying end, a community yard sale is a great way to support one another, meet people you're usually too busy to stop and talk with, and maybe discover a treasure hidden among someone else's old memories.
Religious services have long been a way to bring people within a community together. But much like geographic communities themselves, churches tend to have their own cultures. So if you already attend a religious service each week at the same place, why not switch it up and try another church or place of worship within the city? Maybe you'll meet new people, get involved in a different event, or, at the very least, you'll hear a different voice delivering the message, while sitting next to someone new, inside the architecture of a different building.
Spring is here and that means First Fridays are back. Hitting the streets of Havre de Grace for dinner, drinks and shopping the first Friday of every month is a great way to keep your money local, and support your friends and neighbors in their livelihood. No need to make reservations for dinner in Baltimore or head to Bel Air for happy hour when we have so many local spots that would love to have your business. And talk about a great way to interact with new people. I don't know anyone who isn't happier when they're eating, drinking and listening to live music.
On Saturdays, given you're not too hungover from your adventures at First Friday (and if you are, suck it up), venture back downtown to the Farmers Market. I'm the kind of person who looks forward to walking to the market each weekend, sometimes because I have scones or fresh flowers on my mind; other times just to get out and see what people are up to. Take it from me: You're definately going to see people you know, so put that messy hair up in a ponytail, throw a baseball cap on or at least change out of last night's outfit.
One of the reasons you probably moved here in the first place was to be near the Chesapeake Bay, and you can be sure lots of other people are here for the same reason. On any day the temperature reaches 65 degrees or more, people start meandering down the promenade, taking extended dog walks just to get a glimpse of the water, and hopping onto their bicycles, skateboards and, for at least one couple I see in the city, Segways. So if you're looking for a way to bring the community together, go where you know the community will be. The marinas and the promenade are a sure bet.
It seems there are always fundraisers of some kind going on in Havre de Grace (and we announce most everything in the events calendar here on Patch), and according to one of my dear friends, you can even play Bingo or join a shuffleboard team at the local Elks (who knew?) each week.
The streets are always buzzing for the various festivals and parades that are here throughout the year. And they are so easy to be involved in. Just drag out your lawn chair and pull up a seat, or walk to any of the main streets downtown and you're bound to run into some celebration, be it about decoys, art, pirates or our crazy annual celebration of the "duck drop."
Being involved in Havre de Grace doesn't require much other than stepping out of your house. And if you venture out, you're sure to fall into some opportunity to support the community. And let's face it, in this economy, we all know that nothing is certain except this very moment, so what better time is there to get involved?