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Want to get connected to the people who share your geography, but not sure where to get started? This video is for you!

Hosted by: Rachel Calderon Navarro

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Non-profit volunteer recommendations from the Missoula office staff:
The Harry Potter Alliance: http://thehpalliance.org
Uplift: http://conresources.org
The Trevor Project: http://thetrevorproject.org
Habitat for Humanity: https://www.habitat.org/
International Rescue Committee (IRC): https://www.rescue.org/
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Hi, I'm Rachel Calderon Navarro and this is How to Adult.

(Intro)

One of the coolest parts of being an adult is that you have agency.  If you don't like something, you can work to change it, and if you care about something, you can help make it even better.  By getting involved in your community, you can effect change in something bigger than yourself and strengthen your sense of belonging.  There are lots of different types of community, but today, I want to talk about getting involved in your local community.  

Feeling connected to your city or town will make your community stronger and empower you as an individual.  Whether you're in the town you grew up in or have moved to a new place, figuring out how to engage in your local community as an adult can be difficult at first.  Where do you even start?  Well, I'm going to let you in on a little secret: you've been preparing for adulthood your whole life.  

Remember in school how there were clubs, sports, organized volunteer opportunities, and things like student government?  High schools didn't invent those things: they just copied them from the adult world so we can practice being involved in our communities, and while it's good to have practice in school, another great thing about adulthood is that it's not high school and you don't have to be interested in only the things you were interested in when you were young.  You can experiment and try stuff out.

So first, ask yourself what you're interested in and wanting to try.  If you're wanting to make positive changes within your community in an organized way, most cities have clubs that exist to support the community and organize volunteers.  Rotary clubs and Kiwanis clubs have resources for finding volunteer opportunities.  You can even join service clubs like this and build volunteering and outreach into your daily life.  These organizations are also great resources if you just wanna ask questions and learn more about what your community needs.  Service clubs are nearly always welcoming new members so they can share information and help you get involved in your community in any number of ways.

Many non-profit organizations also rely on volunteers to both carry out their missions and to serve as members of their board of directors.  If there's a non-profit in your area that's doing things you care about, whether it's sustainable agriculture, rescuing animals, or turning parking spaces into art galleries, ask them how you can get involved.

If you're interested in being involved in politics, city council meetings are public free events you can attend.  You can contact your city council to find out the schedule.  If you're in the US, each state has leadership training groups to help connect and empower future leaders.

If you wanna be physically active and make new friends, maybe you should try out a recreational sport or an exercise class.  Most communities have a parks and rec department within their city government and you can find out more about it by going to the city's government webpage.  This is where you'll find schedules for team sports and adult rec leagues like ultimate Frisbee or softball or curling, whatever you're into, whether you've been playing for years or trying it out for the first time, there's most likely going to be a league for you.  These teams are meant for amateurs and to be fun.  Parks and rec departments also frequently host organized non-competitive activities too, like guided hikes or dance classes.  For example, I like working out in a class setting because it's fun.  A lot of gyms even have classes you don't even have to sign up for, you can just walk right in.  If your parks and rec department doesn't have what you're looking for, it might be because there's a local club already filling that role.  You can likely find what you're looking for by searching on the internet for the activity you want and your community or, and this is where you have to be a little brave, you can ask someone.  If you see a group doing Tai-Chi in the park or riding bikes together and you want to join them, ask!  Athletic activities are a great way to meet people, because there's something to focus on and a built in subject to talk about.

If you're looking for creative activities, a good place to start is art museums or community centers.  Most of these places will have a website and a person at the front desk you can talk to about activities.  You can sign up for a class, volunteer at an event, or join a group that gets together to work on projects.  I promise you that every community has talented people who are willing to teach you how to be more creative.  Whether you want to learn how to design and carve woodblock prints or drink wine and paint a happy tree, there's probably an outlet for you nearby.

Many communities also have lifelong learning centers where you can take classes in things like sewing, beekeeping, or ukulele.  You can even learn another language or if you already know another language, there's probably a group that gets together in your area to practice.  Community centers and libraries are great places to find information about classes like these.  Most cities also have an online community events calendar where organizations advertise what they have going on.  This is also a good way to learn about a public lecture or reading.  Bookstores frequently host free author events and sometimes theaters or bars will host a lecturer who wants to teach people about their subject for free.  Where I live, which, most people would consider a smaller town, there's even a place where you can listen to lectures about insects while you drink beer.  No matter your interests, you can probably find something to get involved with it, and if you can't, maybe you need to start something up.

Community and learning centers frequently need teachers.  Parks and rec departments want to be offering new options to keep people engaged and libraries and community centers often provide free meeting spaces for clubs and classes.  If you're wishing for something in your community, chances are that other people are too.  Getting involved in your local community takes a little bravery to get started, but the payoff is huge.

Communities and organizations need people to be involved and you deserve a community that you want to be engaged in.  It's kind of awesome.  The more you get involved and take care of your community, the more involved you'll feel and the more you'll care about your community.  Let me know in the comments how you're involved or would like to be in your community, and we'd like to do an episode focusing specifically on how to get involved in politics or how to start a club.  If you have ideas or questions, let us know that, too.

Thanks for watching and being a part of this community with us.  It's good to have you here.  

And strengthen your sense of com--ugh.  Okay.

If you're in the US--bleargh.  

This line reminded me of my mom.

--or join a group that gets together to work on...projects.  Dahhh!  

Hahahahaha.