What is a Community Association?
Community Associations are usually registered societies that have a general mission to improve neighbourhood life within a specific geographic region. They can take on many forms: Some cover large regions and multiple neighbourhoods while others can be small. Some have facilities and/or paid staff and some have none. What they all have in common is that they are volunteer run and share a common mandate to provide programs, services and communications to their residents that will improve the quality of life. Such activities could include:
- Offering social and recreational programs for residents of all ages
- Offer sports programs for children
- Developing and enhancing community pride and spirit through hosting or volunteering at special events (e.g. Stampede Breakfast, Neighbour Day).
- Undertaking neighbourhood improvement initiatives such as spring clean-ups, community beautification, tree planting, playground development and more.
- Providing information to residents through a newsletter and/or online presence and acting as a unified voice on issues affecting the community.
- Providing input into the planning and development process and fostering good planning practices.
There are 150 community associations in our city, run by your neighbours and other volunteers in the community. In fact, the community association network makes up the largest collective volunteer movement in Calgary, with more than 20,000 volunteers involved! It is estimated that annually, 20,660 Community Association volunteers contribute 2.4 million hours of public service, which has an equivalent monetary value of over $28 million. These volunteers operate, manage and maintain facilities and amenities with a value of more than $200 million. They come from a diverse population base with about one quarter of the city’s population supporting Community Associations through paid membership.
Why Should I Join?
Take a few minutes to find out what your community association offers you by dropping by or visiting them online. It’s easy and you may be surprised by the many benefits and options available to you as a resident.
Advocacy & Community Development
Community Associations have the potential to be on the front lines of important social, cultural, environmental and community issues. They can respond in many ways to the needs of their residents; fostering and supporting them to fully and actively engage in community and civic life. This happens through the provision of social, recreation and sports programs, through neighbourhood improvement initiatives, and through direct input into planning and traffic issues, and other public affairs. Community Associations have the potential to mobilize citizens and local resources to make a vital contribution to community life – enriching the quality of life and well being of their communities. Overall, Community Associations can provide a shared sense of citizenship and inclusion. For decades, all Calgarians have benefited from Community Associations, which can be the anchor for community life.
Programs & Services
Community associations exist in every neighbourhood in Calgary – they are run by your neighbours, they bring you together as residents, they act as a voice for your community, and they offer you endless opportunities right in your backyard, even if they don’t have a hall. Examples of opportunities run by or in collaboration with community associations include:
- Soccer and other sports
- Community gardens
- Arts & culture or social support programs
- Youth programs
- Community-wide events like Stampede breakfasts and movie nights
- Language classes
- Craft or business fairs
- Senior’s clubs
- Committee work (planning and development, special events, community safety, etc.)
- Membership discount programs
- And so much more!
Your community association wants to get to know you and hear from you. They want you to feel safe and love where you live! Their volunteers (and staff) are dedicated to making sure your community is a great place to live, work, and play, and they want you to be part of it! So take a minute to find out more about yours and how you can get involved. Purchasing a community association membership is a great way to get involved and show your support for the many ways your neighbours work to ensure you love where you live. Even better? Community association memberships are extremely affordable, with the majority being only $30 or less per year.
Locally, the NHCA’s annual membership cost can be recovered in a very short time by shopping and going out locally with our Member Discounts program! Discounts of up to 15% mean you save while shopping locally (although there are quite a few businesses outside of the Northern Hills who also participate), and you are supporting the awesome local businesses that support your community at the same time!