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Friday, March 6, 2015

The Other Side of New

For 16.5 years Doug and I have hosted newcomer events in our home. When we first started doing newcomer events for church, we too were newcomers so we were journeying alongside of other newbies to Stockholm and Immanuel. But as the years went by, our local knowledge increased and we began to have our own story to tell about living in Stockholm. In addition to church newcomer events, I often hosted American Women's Club newcomer events and really enjoyed that as well. I always felt that the gift of our beautiful home was to be shared so I loved opening our home for the purpose of welcoming new people to Stockholm. And the Club let me talk about the church so it was a win-win!

Yesterday the shoe was on the other foot as Doug and I attended a newcomer gathering for people who have moved into our community during the past few months. As I walked up to the clubhouse by myself, (Doug was attending to a golf cart breakdown), I was reflecting on how strange it was to attend a newcomer event as a newcomer and not the host! It gave me perspective on how hard it can be step out and make yourself vulnerable to meeting new people. It is never easy to walk into a room full of strangers, by yourself, and begin to make small talk. Fortunately someone I had already met was there and Doug did arrive soon after the event began.

People were great as committee chairs and board members made an effort to work the room and greet people. They, of course, were interested in sharing about their areas of responsibility with the hopes that one of the newcomers would eventually want to serve. I had to chuckle inside a little...we did the same thing for years! I did thank people for volunteering their time to serve the club in this way. I know how much work it is to serve on a board or committee and I also know the headaches that come with it sometimes.

The highlight was meeting the folks who are renovating a house on our street. We easily began to share reno stories and said we look forward to showing the final products with one another! They are not living in their reno zone however so I hope the smell of drywall and paint wasn't oozing from our pores!

Overall, people have been very, very nice and welcoming. After we get settled we will likely volunteer for something. I'm one of those weirdos who likes board meetings and Doug would be a pro on the green committee...they look after the golf course! So we'll see.

I left feeling like I'd met some folks that I hope to bump into again. And I was really glad I went even though it was a little daunting in the beginning. It reaffirms in my mind how important it is for organizations to host newcomer gatherings and also how important it is for newcomers to attend these types of events! Connections get made, doors begin to open and these types of gatherings certainly do help take away the sense of the being a newcomer.