How to Rejuvenate your Community Centre

American Community Gardening Association

Is your community centre running out of ideas? Is attendance dropping on the weekends or evenings, or are children losing interest? It’s hard to keep attendance up when new people are moving in, old people are moving out and some folks get lost in the jumble.Here are some ways to increase attendance in your community centre and keep those who are there interested in coming back.

Have a Meet and Greet

What better way than to have the families who are already there meet the newcomers? This is a great way for the older families to lend some tips or advice on the new neighborhood. This is also a great chance for the new families to break down those social barriers and lose their intimidation of joining a new community. An event like this creates a safe and neutral place for folks to meet and get to know one another. The event doesn’t have to be all night either. Something easy, say from 6-8pm on a Friday or Saturday would probably work best for most families.

Plan a Scavenger Hunt

This is fun for the children and the adults! You could make maps for the players to use to find their way around the community centre grounds. Make the hunting clues lead inside and out for optimal fun and a little more exercise. This way, families who have been there can help out the newer ones by joining up on the same team and showing them around the centre. Some parents may have a Garmin navigation system or some kind of GPS on their phone or watch to help find the more difficult locations. Bring out the pirates and explorers in all of your community members young and old with an activity like this. Prizes for the winning team could be simple like a new juice jug for the fridge or a kitchen towel set for the stove. Or perhaps some coupons for a future activity at the centre, like a swimming event or a game of tennis.

Have a BBQ

To save on budget costs, ask some families to sign up in advance and make it a potluck dinner. That way, people can pitch in whatever they can afford and by the time of the event, all parts of the dinner should be sorted out. Post an invitation and sign-up sheet near the entrance to the community centre and make sure each attending family writes their family name, what they will bring and a number they can be reached at. That way, the participants can be reached if there are duplicate appetizers being made. Post this sheet at the beginning of the month and plan the event to take place three weeks later. That gives everyone time to make room in their schedules for the neighborhood barbeque. I might also help to mention new families in your advertisement. This way, if new families have just moved in, a neighbor can stop by and let them know and perhaps bring them along as well. This is a great way for new members to get acquainted with their new community centre and hopefully spark some interest in signing up for a class there in the future. You’d be surprised how many old veterans of the community might have forgotten what they loved about the centre in the past and may sign up for something they haven’t done in years.

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