March is Community Association Awareness Month in Calgary!
Hey! My name is Rebecca and I am the Communications Specialist for the Federation of Calgary Communities. You might have heard of us as we have been lucky enough to work with Local Laundry on a few exciting initiatives over the past year! We are the support organization to over 225 local community based non-profit organizations, including the 151 community associations.
I want to let you know about an exciting event going on all month long in our city. Every year, Mayor Nenshi proclaims March as Community Association Awareness Month in Calgary! This means that we get to spend an entire month celebrating our city’s community associations and their hard-working volunteers.
You might be asking, what is a community association? Well, community associations are non-profit organizations that exist in every neighbourhood in Calgary. Their purpose is to provide residents with social, recreational, and education opportunities close to home, act as a voice for the community on issues that affect the neighbourhood, and foster a sense of belonging by bringing neighbours together to get to know each other.
Community associations began naturally forming in the 1920s to help organize sports and recreation activities for residents. In the almost 100 years since they began forming, community associations have grown to offer SO much more than just sports and recreation. Community associations host a number of social events throughout the year to bring neighbours together and to celebrate all the community has to offer through multicultural festivals, movies in the park, potluck dinners, talent shows, seasonal parties, and much more. They also manage a number of facilities that residents get to enjoy all throughout the year, like outdoor hockey rinks and pleasure skating rinks, and community gardens. In fact, in Calgary, there are over 80 outdoor ice rinks and over 40 community gardens that are managed and maintained by community associations.
There are 151 community associations in Calgary, and what a lot of Calgarians don’t realize is that all of this good work they do is done by volunteers! There are actually over 20,000 Calgarians volunteering for their community associations every day, making it the largest collective volunteer network in the city!
So who are these volunteers? They’re people just like me and you. To help showcase this, we launched the Faces of Community as part of our March Community Association Awareness campaign last year, to highlight the many different faces of community volunteers making a difference in our city’s communities. Faces of Community tells the story of just some of the more than 20,000 community volunteers in Calgary who are donating their time each and every day to help improve neighbourhood life in Calgary. Nominated by their peers, the twelve 2018 Faces of Community come from community organizations across the city, and all have different and inspiring stories of how they got involved, what they’re proud of, and what motivates them to stay involved. Meet them and read their stories here!
So now that you know a bit about community associations and their hard-working volunteers, and knowing that March is Community Association Awareness Month here in Calgary, I want to know: how will YOU be part of it? Take some time this month to learn more about your own community association, what they have to offer you, and how you can get involved! There is something for everyone and no contribution is too small. Flip through your monthly community newsletter to find out what events and activities they have coming up, and consider purchasing an annual membership to help support the organization working hard to ensure you love where you live. Community association memberships are extremely affordable, with the average being under $30 a year!
Get in on the March Community Association Awareness Month action all month long on social media using the hashtag #howwillYOUbepartofit and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @fedyyc! We will be sharing more fun facts about community associations, showcasing each one of the 2018 Faces of Community, and much more. So follow along and be part of it!
To learn more about community associations and to find yours visit our website at calgarycommunities.com
Thanks for reading! ☺
P.S. We are Local Laundry’s charity of choice for the month of March, so you could also help support community associations by picking out some awesome gear to help show off your YYC or community pride! We think we look pretty darn good in them ourselves ;)