Newcomers Event in Long Prairie: A welcoming atmosphere of friendliness and support for newcomers
Monday, February 06, 2023
“We love our Newcomers” event in Long Prairie
Newcomer events are new to the Long Prairie community. The Welcome Center - WAVE/Saludos is hosting their first annual newcomer event on Feb 14, 2023 at the Chavez Event Center, 220 1st Ave S, Long Prairie. Thank you to the Region Five Development Commission who sponsored this evening.There will be background DJ music by Gio, some light refreshments that will be served to all attendees and door prizes: homemade chocolates, roses and other sweets. Newcomers are welcome. Please contact Luan Thomas-Brunkhorst , the Long Prairie Area Chamber of Commerce Director for more details.
Newcomers events are community events that focus on welcoming new residents to a community and can take various forms. Some communities host an annual event that includes a meal, plenty of time & activities to get to know each other, and some quick welcomes by community leaders. Other communities choose to host more regular events during the year, such as quarterly new-to-town meetups coordinated by the local community education office where specific topics about the community are addressed. For example, one community had a newcomer meetup with the mayor.
A newcomer event should be customized to a community and cater to the needs of newcomers. The meal, activities, agenda, and location should all be thoughtfully designed to support newcomers.
Neil Linscheid, State Specialist in Entrepreneurship at the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality, envisions 3 goals that can turn a newcomer event into a great success:
- Connect newcomers - It can be hard to get connected in a new community. Especially, when existing residents have known each other for decades. Newcomer events can help newcomers build a network of others that are also new to the community and find ways to support each other.
- An official welcome to the community - It’s important to welcome new people on the community's behalf. Newcomers can sometimes move to a community and feel disconnected or unwelcome. A newcomer event is a way to welcome newcomers and ensure they know they are welcome. It’s a chance for your community to say “we’re excited you're here!” to newcomers
- Show off what makes your community a great place to live - A newcomer event is a good opportunity to show off your community's assets. For example, your community might want to connect newcomers to its great local businesses or residents and programs that want to help newcomers feel like they belong in your community.
Linscheid stated that the benefit of hosting a newcomer event is that community leaders get a chance to learn more about the newcomers in the community and their needs. Although this could be an additional benefit, it should not become the goal of the event, he said. He shared a few tips to make sure newcomers feel welcome and inspired to participate:
- Eat a meal together.
- Focus on having people talk to each other as the main activity in the program.
- Limit any presentations by local officials to less than 10 minutes of total agenda time. (Not 10 minutes per person - 10 minutes for everyone).
- Have the option to sign in. Get permission to send emails with information after the event. Make sure to follow up with a thank you.
All Newcomers are invited to the first annual “We love our Newcomers” event in Long Prairie on February 14, 2023.