The true charm of living in an apartment complex or gated community is the safety and security that comes from shared living. True community living does not mean simply paying the maintenance fees and attending some of the association meetings. Rather, it means that all the residents know each other and get to become friends. Once all the residents know each other and become close, the apartment community can become a source of social and emotional support for all the residents.
Here’s what the apartment association can do to foster a team spirit amongst the residents:
Monthly get-together in the club house
While the Association meetings and general meetings are a common ground where residents meet, it is more of a formal business meeting than a social occasion. The apartment association can organize a party once a month in the club house or the terrace. This can include fun activities like an open dance floor, card games, and introductory sessions where people can open up and get to know each other. To make the event more interesting, one can have pot-luck dinner, where every flat resident makes one dish and gets it for the party.
Common decision making
The apartment association can use a common forum such as an online discussion group and email groups to send the minutes of the meetings to all the residents. Topics, that involve the whole apartment, can be put up for discussion. Through such means, all the residents will be able to add inputs and have a say on matters related to the apartment. Thus, they will be more interested in the apartment related activities.
The apartment association can have a small booklet with the phone numbers and birthdays of all the flat residents. They can circulate this so that people can be in touch with each other via SMS or phone calls. Birthday of each resident can be celebrated in the apartment clubhouse with simple cake cutting and wishing the concerned person. This will generate a feeling of togetherness and bonding.
Celebrating festivals together
In India, festivals are the high points of social life every year. A gated community is usually a secular ground, so the apartment association can organize common celebrations of important festivals and occasions such as Diwali, Holi, Christmas, Id, and New Year. Prior to the event. All the residents should be involved in the planning and organizing of the event. This will also act as an occasion for people to do things together, such as buying the decorations, delegating tasks etc.
Having an apartment quarterly newsletter
An interesting idea that the association can use to encourage people to become friendly is to form a small editorial committee. It is a good idea to ask people with a literary bent of mind to take part in this. Every three months, one can print a newsletter, which can include:
- Articles and poems written by the residents
- Significant events such as birth of a child, a promotion etc.
- Brief description and photographs of common celebrations
- A children’s section with artwork
Having an apartment hobby club
After a long day’s work, most people want to unwind by doing something relaxing. The apartment association can use the recreation room to conduct hobby clubs depending on the common interest of the residents. It can be anything from a book club, to forming a band, having sangeet nights, sports activities or even screening movies. While these activities might require initial investments, it is a great way for people to enjoy themselves in a group.
The apartment association members need to remember that most people like to do things without compulsion, so instead of making such activities compulsory it should be left to the free will of the residents. Only when the residents respect each other’s space and rights, can they come together to build a strong friendship.
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