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Getting to Know Your Community Resources

With spring and summer coming right around the corner I am finding myself starting to make plans for the fun ahead. I thought this would be a great time to review what community resources are available to my family where we live and share some tips to help you discover what resources your community has.

I love finding little surprises my community has. I discovered a couple of months ago that there is a free Mom and Me (dance themed) class that is every week. My daughter loves it! If you start to look around you too will find some activities that are great for your family at a very affordable price.  And with Spring Break and Summer right around the corner it’s a good time to start searching and making plans so you do not miss any important deadlines. 

A great place to begin is with your city/county newsletter.  Some will have them right on their city website or in a local newspaper or they may be kind enough to stick one on your door. Make sure you read it! I know I passed up many at our old place thinking it was junk and did not realize what was on it until it was too late. I would have loved to been able to participate in the community gardens. Too bad I did not read the info and signed up early!
Here is an example of a newsletter from The City of Mesa, Arizona Parks and Recreation (I used to work for them so it is an easy resource for me to use.) In it I discovered they were announcing free swim lessons during Spring Break for a variety of ages, but I need to register real soon or all the spaces are going to be full. And if I go to their Activities Brochure (click on the guest button under username and password), I can see that there are a variety of affordable classes (music, movement, tumbling, sports, etc.) that I can register my kids for now that would help us get through the rest of winter. I also discovered that if we want to go fishing this summer that we need to have a fishing license for anyone over the age of 14, but my son is free if he is the only one fishing. This is just a few of the things I found in a 10 minute search and more than enough info right there.

It may take a little research, but affordable fun is just at your finger tips. Here are some places to start your search:
  • Check your city/surrounding cities/county website
  • Check local colleges and universities for community education classes or other events they have. You may be surprised by what you find. (i.e. Our kids and my husband get in free to all sporting events and the indoor pool.)
  • Check your local newspaper for upcoming events
  • Check local gymnasiums, dance studios, jump/bounce places, etc. Some will have discounted classes/days where they open the gym to the public for a few hours for a nominal fee. Great for those days when you just need to do something different and get out!
  • Check the local libraries, museums and zoos for programs, activities, and free/discounted days.  Some communities have amazing children’s reading programs at a local library or even at the museum. We had one at a nearby museum and it was within walking distance. It was a great day trip.
  • And keep in mind while searching that some communities/places may have some discounts available, too. (i.e.  Signing up for multiple classes, income sensitive pricing, or a yearly pass. We had a year pass at a museum once because it was $8 a visit per adult or $15 a year per adult. What a great purchase! We ended up going all the time.)

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