– By #MillerSD
This week, our family is welcoming a new face to our home and our community. His name is Danilo and he is from Brazil. He is so excited to be part of community where everyone knows everyone. Our community has hosted many exchange students over the years and from what I am hearing they always feel welcomed. The whole process really got me thinking on how to make everyone welcome and connected to our community.
I moved to Hand County in 2009 and immediately felt welcomed. I ran a business so a lot of people already knew me. I married my husband (A Miller native) in September of 2011 and with a local last name, most people already assumed that I was a born and raised Miller Rustler. What about those new faces who move to Hand County that aren’t in the public eye or didn’t marry someone from this area? The stay-at-home moms, the dads that work nights, the employees on the farms, whatever the case might be… how do we make EVERYONE feel welcome in our community?
Back in the day, I heard there used to be a “welcome wagon” where someone would show up at your door and greet you with a bunch of coupons and information on our area. Well, times have changed and this was a great program back in the day, but we want more connection to these new faces. We want them to get involved and feel connected. We believe there are two ways to welcome AND connect those new faces.
So how do we make sure everyone feels welcomed and connected? When someone is new to our community, try and get them involved in the conversation. Miller is known to be very welcoming but also known for being very traditional. Avoid comments like, “You wouldn’t understand because you aren’t from here.” Or, “This is tradition and the way we always do it here.” These comments make people who aren’t from this area feel disconnected. (I know this from experience because I am not from here and heard these statements.) It’s hard to be involved in the conversation when you “aren’t from here” and you don’t know what they are talking about. Tradition is very important but we need to remember that not everyone cares about how big our band was 30 years ago or how we did things in business 20 years ago.
Connection to our community takes more than just how we talk to new faces. On Hand would like to form a “welcoming team” to Miller. This team can consist of anyone in Hand County that is willing to help people interact and get to know everyone and HAVE FUN. Maybe this team organizes a night out twice a year for new people? Or a mixer event? A grill out in the park? Whatever the team thinks and On Hand would work alongside this team to provide the tools and the resources needed. (We tried this pre-COVID but we all know how that went). We have a couple team members who have stepped up but need more.
We need our community to come together to make everyone feel connected, not just the people born and raised here. We realize that people will always move for different reasons, but if we can keep just one family or person here by making them feel connected to our community think of the possibilities! We might have a future business owner or more kids in our school. Being connected to your community works keeping people in our community.
We would like new faces to be able to interact as much as possible with everyone so we need team members who are willing to spend some time with these faces and make them feel connected? Does that sound like something you would like to be a part of? Miller is a thriving a community. We have community pride, community members actively working together, we have fun, and we have activities for people of all ages. Let’s add EVERYONE feels welcome to that list! Give me a call at 853-3098 and we will get the ball rolling together. Let’s not let anyone leave Miller saying they didn’t feel welcome here!