If You Live in a Rural Area…
You live in a rural community if you live in a small town or village or on a farm. Sometimes it is harder to get together with friends in rural areas. Travel can be a problem. Also, there may not be many people your age. But there are good things too, about being in a rural area.
Growing a Friendship through Gardening
Jonathan lives in a rural area. He enjoys caring for vegetable gardens with Mary. He makes friends by offering to help with the gardens. It is fun to work together and watch things grow. Working together on a shared project is a good way to grow friendships.Listen
In a rural community people are sometimes more friendly. There may be fewer friends your age. However, friendships with people of different ages can be lasting and wonderful.
##Some Ideas for Getting Involved in a Rural Community:##
* **Before you finish high school**, get a list of names and phone numbers of students you have enjoyed being in school with. Ask your family to help you invite them to a reunion or party. This can be when they are back home during the holidays. If you have already graduated, your former teachers may be able to help you get in touch.
* Try to find **something to do within walking distance**of your house. Neighbours could enjoy your company and help.
* In the country, neighbours often come together to **help one another with chores**—tending boats and fishing gear, haying, preserving fruits and vegetables. There may also be groups who enjoy hiking, biking, soccer, board games, or other activities. Most of these cost very little and are a good way to make friends.
* **Help out at a festival or fair or market.** Most small towns have at least one special event every year. They need volunteers.
* If there is nothing going on in your community, explore **who might want to come over** to your house. You don’t have to know them well. This is your chance to reach out to someone else who might be lonely.
* People who live on farms or in small villages go into larger towns to shop and to join in community activities or worship. Many towns have **teams or clubs** that you might be able to join.
Jean-Jacques speaks about his friendsJean-Jacques speaks about his friendshdips. He says that in the area where he lives everyone knows him. (This is a short extract from "L’Épreuve des mots," a video project of L'Arche in France.) Download Transcript
Making Friends Closer to HomeAshley lives out in the country. She has some friends from school in town, but often her parents cannot drive her to see them. Ashley and her parents decided to have an open house so she could maybe make friends with people closer to home. They invited their neighbours. They served delicious treats. They played music. Ashley met a woman who, like Ashley, loves to bake. Ashley needs some help with baking. Now Ashley and her neighbour get together to bake once a week. They also enjoy chatting. Ashley is now better known in her rural area. Listen
* **Carpool:** Share rides with other people as much as possible. This can make less work for your family or others who are drivers. It is also a great opportunity to get to know people better!
* **Use local bulletin boards:** Ask your family to help you put up a note to set up a carpool, or to find a volunteer position.
* **If you attend a church or other place of worship**, see if it has a youth group you could join. Or see if there is a way you could volunteer during the weekly service. You might be able to help as an usher, look after the children, or prepare the coffee.
* If you are on a farm, there may be a **4H Club** that you could join.
* **Community centres and libraries** often have information about local events and activities you could participate in. Check their notice boards.
* **Start a small group** or club of your own. You could host it the first couple times. Then other members may take a turn. It could just be a board games or movie night or pot-luck meal. Brainstorm with a family member about who you could invite. Start with your neighbours. They might like something close to home too. Be sure to help the others share email addresses and phone numbers so you stay in touch.
* In times when it is not possible to get a ride anywhere, **keep in touch** with friends by phone, email, text messages, or cards and letters.