Living in a large condo tower can seem a little intimidating to some. There are people all around you at all hours of the day and night and there is no telling how many other homeowners you will run into. For those of you who are already very sociable and outgoing, this will not present much of a problem, but for those who are shy and find it hard meeting new people, we have a solution! Why not form or take part in a social committee? A condo social committee consists of a group of homeowners who desire to spend more time getting to know each other in and around their building adding to the condo culture — whether daily, weekly, or even monthly. Mario, a condo homeowner in Vaughan, chose to start up a committee a few months after having moved in because he saw that
“people weren’t talking to each other [in the building]. You’d nod your head and say good morning, but that was about it. I thought if I started some kind of committee, it would bring a lot of us together and we’d get to know each other more.”
You may be thinking to yourself: “Why form or join a social committee when you can arrange to host parties on your own, without the help of others?” Well, you could but that would mean that you took on all the responsibilities of hosting an event yourself without any help or brainstorming from others. When you are a part of a condo social committee, you have ready volunteers who can help and pitch in at a moment’s notice. Event details also usually remain more organized and formally documented within a committee and when funding is needed, everyone is responsible, not just one individual. Events and excursions that have been scheduled by the building’s social committee are proven to have better attendance rates than individually-hosted soirees; the more people that are involved in the planning, the more people will come to the actual event.
Homeowners need to understand that in order for the committee to run effectively, it will need the support and guidance of the board.
“Once our committee was formed, one of the first things we did as a group was inform the condo Board about our decision,”
“We all wanted to make sure that they were on board with our plan and would give us their input should we ever need it. You want to start things off on the right foot when you’re doing something like this.”
Condo boards usually do help social committees any way they can, by offering their time and knowledge when it comes to such tasks as arranging events and planning committee-related fundraisers.
A structured committee member and job title list should be drawn up and handed out to all members upon forming the group. Remember that every committee election and every event decision should be made fairly (by a vote) to eliminate any stresses and animosity that may arise among committee members.
“We experienced a few growing pains at first,”
admits Alda, a condo dweller from downtown Toronto,
“but that’s to be expected, I think. Until everyone’s roles were identified and put on paper, there were a few members who felt like their ideas were being ignored. It’s natural to want to be heard so we just have to keep in mind that everyone’s input is valid and important.”
Events can be scheduled to take place anywhere within the condo building’s common areas or, depending on the committee’s financial capabilities, events can also take place outside of the property at casinos, restaurants, sporting facilities, neighbourhood parks, and even at theme parks! Once the committee members decide on an event date and time, they post bulletins throughout the building, where all homeowners can see them. Committee-led events are a superb opportunity for condo dwellers to get to know more about one another, and they can ultimately lead to many life-long friendships. Although some homeowners may need more encouragement than others to join in and participate, there is no reason why anyone should ever feel pressured to take part in the committee’s activities. Perhaps the most effective way to get others to join in if they are a little reluctant is to educate them on the benefits of living in an active, social community — property values may increase over time and your building could attract a host of new buyers.
It is important for committee members to keep the group’s goals, aspirations, and financial well-being in mind when planning events and get-togethers. This is where the condo board will come in handy. The Board will, most likely, gladly assist the social committee when it comes to these matters and even introduce new ideas and opportunities that the committee might want to act upon. Committee members should consider hosting regular information meetings — perhaps quarterly — for those who would like to take on a larger role in the community and become more involved in the committee’s planning process. Willing and able volunteers can be recruited and all ideas can pool together regarding future events and seasonal activities. Organizers should stress that all homeowners are welcome at these meetings because get-togethers like these are the perfect venue for brainstorming, keeping abreast of all upcoming changes, and pooling ideas for event fundraising.
Raising money for future endeavours can be tricky because not everyone will want to contribute. We advise that organizers not apply any pressure on those who are unable or unwilling to contribute money. Instead, focus your attention on those who do want to offer their time and money to the committee as well as giving all homeowners a chance to voice their opinions on when and where they would like to hold upcoming events.
“In the beginning, when we first formed the committee, we stuck to hosting small events in the building’s common areas because we had very little resources and money,”
“As time went on, we collected funds through homeowners who were willing to contribute and by fundraising in and around the neighbourhood. Things don’t happen all at once, right at the beginning. You have to give your committee time to grow before you can start planning bigger and better events.”
A condo social committee promotes unity and friendship among homeowners and is a wonderful way to establish a sense of well-being in a community. There is nothing better than being surrounded by a great group of people (babies, children, teens, adults, and seniors) and discussing life, work, pop culture, and your community!
“I’m so glad I made the decision to join my building’s social committee,”
“I’ve made so many friends and I can’t imagine my life without them now! We’ve all become really close and I feel this committee has brought the entire building together.”
Committee events may run the gamut from serene afternoons spent outside in the common park area to swanky evenings spent at a popular restaurant or lounge. Family-friendly activities like theme park visits or bowling alley competitions may also be an option for residents who wish to include their children in social events. In time, the hard work of any condo social committee pays off when homeowners throughout the building form lasting friendships and express their happiness and sense of unity by happily participating in the events that dedicated committee members organize together.