This fall in Chestermere we’re expecting that hundreds of new people will be making Chestermere their home. We think they made an excellent choice! For many families, moving can be a mix of excitement over new beginnings, and a daunting new challenge. We often think of our kids and hope that they will make new friends, have fun in their new schools, and make a smooth transition. But whether it is evident to us or not, adults carry a heavy burden in the process of moving, leaving behind old friends and routines. Some new families face times of sadness and loneliness if they do not feel connected to their new home or neighbourhood. As new residents begin a new chapter of their story in Chestermere, there are simple welcoming acts we can do as neighbours to give that chapter a great beginning. Here are six ways you can welcome your new neighbours to Chestermere.
1. Connect with Mighty Neighbourly, a program that welcomes new people to Chestermere with a box full of hundreds of dollars worth of coupons, goodies, and information about our city. I should note that I’m biased towards this project which was begun by the people of Lake Ridge Community Church. However in just over a year, Mighty Neighbourly has personally welcomed 180 families and helped facilitate fresh new connections. If you want to be a welcomer with Mighty Neighbourly, or to get a box for your new neighbours, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and visit mightyneighbourly.ca
2. Mighty Neighbourly is a great program, but it does not replace the power of neighbours taking the time to go down the street to welcome the new family on the block. When you go and say ‘hi’, leave a little note with your name and contact information. You may be their first connection in the city and that can mean a lot.
3. Give a tasty gift to your new neighbour. My neighbour made me some delicious butter tarts and that kind gesture has turned into a back-and-forth of home-made goodies. We’ve exchanged jars of honey, brownies, and canned peaches. But beware, this edible form of neighbourliness may add a couple of pounds!
4. Host an “Open Deck” party. We invited neighbours to our home several months ago and from that one evening grew a number of new friendships. Since then we’ve built on those relationships and enjoy birthday parties, BBQ’s and we were able to help each other during the recent storms. Neighbourhood parties bring so many healthy benefits to our communities.
5. Do you have a favourite restaurant or local hair dresser? Make a list of the best eateries and services and share them with your new neighbours, they’ll be pleased to have the inside scoop.
6. Take your time. Welcoming a neighbour to your street is not a one-time, one-off moment or gesture. It’s a posture of simple kindness that we extend over time. Your neighbours may feel ‘new’ to Chestermere for months or even years. As we continue to be available and present to those on our street, we will make a lasting difference in the lives of our new neighbours and on the culture of our city