We’ve had them since we were still hunters and gatherers. They are a way of connecting with people who have similar interests and experiences. With the advent of the internet and social media, communities are becoming more widespread and international. They exist outside of social media with local communities and clubs as well.
Communities are created for many shared interests such as reading, art, and even Scale Modeling (Warhammer, Gundam, etc). They allow for the sharing of information, and news, and create bonds with each other.
Building a healthy community promotes well-being and a non-toxic environment.
What is healthy community building and why do it?
Healthy community building allows for an inclusive environment that fosters relationships and bonds. An inclusive community sees value in all of its members no matter what religion, nationality, and so on. It does not discriminate or exclude people based on these criteria.
Healthy communities do not judge skills or talents. They allow for growth and innovation.
How to build a healthy hobby community
Here are some ways to build a healthy hobby community!
Be welcoming to new community members
Kindness and caring can help a person feel welcomed. Include them in conversations and ask how they’re doing. One of the worst feelings when it comes to joining a new community is being ignored until you do something interesting enough to catch attention.
Core values and guidelines
It’s important to know what’s welcomed and not welcomed behavior-wise in a hobby. It doesn’t hurt to have some rules in place for a community.
For example, some rules and values may be:
- No Bullying
- No hate speech
- No unkind behavior
- Be nice
- Be uplifting
- Give criticism when asked
and so on. Also, set up some guidelines if these rules aren’t followed. If it’s a drama, see if the parties can discuss it in a civil manner. If it’s a minor offense, talk to them and give a warning when needed and if they continue to break them then ask them to leave. If it’s something major (like hate speech) then tell them that they aren’t welcomed. You can’t make everyone happy and not everyone is going to want to follow these guidelines.
It’s also very important to model the behaviors you want to see in the community. Don’t want jerks in it? Don’t be a jerk.
Communicate (and be nice)!
So the main thing about a community is communication! Trading words and thoughts are a great way to grow bonds in a hobby. It could be simple conversations such as:
“Hey Chris, I saw that new resin model you built. It looks really great, how did you get that color purple to pop?”
or a little simpler
“Morning everyone, what’s up?”
“Hey check out this cool thing I found. It looks really nice and I think y’all would like it!”
Believe it or not, these small conversations often end up snowballing into larger conversations until it’s a nice flow of communication. It can really help with developing social skills or alleviate stress for those with social anxiety. I’m really nervous when talking to new people sometimes, especially when I started to get into Gundam. One of the biggest things for me was people reaching out to have a conversation or making me a part of the conversation. It really made me feel comfortable communicating.
Another important part of communication is listening. Listen to what the members of the community are saying. If something’s up, look into it. If someone is facing a problem, lend an ear. Simple acts of kindness like listening can go a long way.
There are so many benefits of a sense of belonging in a community. It’s simply amazing when someone can feel that. All of this can apply to online and in-person communities.
Fun community ideas!
The great thing about hobby-based communities is that you can host some really cool events!
A list could include:
- Build events
- If you want to do something that isn’t a competition, try a themed build event!
- For example, the GunplaGirlGang hosted a Tarot card build event for anyone to join in for fun
- Build nights
- These are great because they can be done in person at local hobby shops (or libraries) or online via Zoom (or discord)
- Paint nights are a fun one for Warhammer events
- Game nights too!
- Secret Santa type events
- Community care packages
- Charity events
- For example, there are hobby groups that do fundraisers for St.Judes or other charities.
What do you think makes a good community? drop a comment and let me know
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