So Many New Faces

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Have you noticed there are a lot of new faces around our area? Have you made an effort to put a name with those faces? I was visiting with a business owner the other day and they said, “I go to the grocery store and I don’t know anyone in there. It’s so awesome to see all those new faces!” Here at On Hand Development, getting those new faces connected to our community is a goal we take seriously.

I spent some time with a new face to our community this week. I learned that Miller is extremely welcoming, we have a lot more to do than other small towns, we have the best parks, great daycares, and the school has the best staff (I already knew that one). I also learned that one of their kids was the third new student this year to that class. After learning more about the new faces, I gave them some phone numbers and groups of people that I thought they would enjoy. I would do this for anyone. It’s important because you don’t know who to ask.

Some people might ask, “How is that Economic Development?” Well… my answer is simple. If people that move to Miller aren’t connected, will they stay? Will they work here, start a business here, raise their family here, shop here if they aren’t connected to someone or something? Economic Development is about so much more than the number of jobs or businesses in a community. Its about quality of life and loving where you live and a big part of that is connection to your community.

So here is our struggle. First, how do we know who these new faces are in our community? Yes, we have board members with connections to the school, hospital, and businesses but what about the other community members who slip thru the cracks? I am asking Hand County for help with this one. If you know someone new to our community, reach out to me. Our goal is to connect them to someone or something in our community that they will enjoy. We have different people with different interests and personalities who might be better than myself for that person, so we will connect that new person with someone. We have a lot of fun activities for everyone to do in our area, but new people to town might not know about them.

Second, when you see new face, try and get them involved in the conversation AND get to know them. 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.” 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. And get to know them. Learn their names, where they work, what they are into, this will help them feel connected. Plus, you might learn something about them that you really enjoy.

We need our community to come together to make all of the new feel connected. 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. I had some very special people who made me feel connected in 2009 and look what Hand County got from that… two kids in a school system, an Economic Development Director, volunteer, business owner, and community cheerleader! Being connected to your community works keeping people here. 

Give me a call if you are a new face to our area or you know someone new to our area and let’s get those new faces connected right away because no more than ever, we need each other.

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