22 Mar March is Community Association Awareness Month
While community associations are not unique to Calgary, many of Canada’s large cities do not have them to the same extent we do here (but they should!). Community associations add great value to the Calgary landscape, bringing community members of all ages together. Our associations are not-for-profit organizations run by our neighbours and a host of amazing volunteers. They provide every neighbourhood in Calgary with things like:
- Sports and recreation programs (soccer, hockey, t-ball, exercise programs)
- Markets and craft fairs
- Community-wide events like Stampede Breakfasts, Pub Nights and holiday celebrations (Family day, Canada Day, Neighbour’s day etc)
- Classes (languages, dance, cooking etc.)
- Youth programs (summer day camps, after school programs)
- Neighbourhood garage sale day
- Community gardens
- Senior’s Clubs
- Art and Culture programs
Calgary’s 150+ community associations and their mighty volunteers represent you and your neighbors on committee and government matters such as new developments, traffic and road changes, playground projects, neighbourhood aesthetics (tree planting, garden projects) and safety issues (and much, much more). They communicate news and information to members through newsletters, emails and neighbourhood meetings. Community associations also gather feedback from the community on a variety of issues and topics and present it to local businesses, the City of Calgary and other organizations who work with them on community engagement and special projects.
Community associations also provide and maintain rental space (Dalhousie has several!) within the community for meetings (local charity groups, special interest organizations, nearby condo boards), private celebrations (weddings, retirement parties, birthdays), fundraiser events and other activities. Some community associations also have pre-schools and day care businesses within their facilities.
Joining your local community association is relatively inexpensive – for example, in Dalhousie, a family membership is $32, an individual membership is $20 and a social supporting membership is $15. You can also be an associate member at more than one association – although you may only have community association voting rights in the community in which you reside. This is a great way to support nearby associations that may offer activities you and your family participate in. It is also a great way for local businesses to be involved with association planning, news and events, when the owners/managers may not live in the area but have a strong community interest.
Every community association has volunteer opportunities – whether you want to give a little, or a lot of your time, it is a great way to be a part of your community and get to know your neighbours better. Whether you are a part of an ongoing committee or board, help maintain outdoor ice rinks, participate in a Spring clean up or lend a hand during community events, there is something for everyone, regardless of age or family size. Looking for more information? Check out the Federation of Calgary Communities website: