Bow Valley Welcoming Tips Poster
"What made you feel welcome when you first arrived in the Bow Valley?"
"What are some everyday things we can all do to make new locals feel welcome?"
We put these questions to Bow Valley residents from around the world at our events, meetings, and online. Then, we compiled the most frequently mentioned ideas with worlds of welcome in some of the common languages of the Bow Valley.
Soon, you'll find the finished product brightening the walls of organizations and businesses across the Bow Valley.
Want your own copy? Download it here or Contact us.
ABOUT THE IDEAS
The ideas we featured came with great stories and explanations, but we couldn't fit them all on one little poster. Here's a little more information about what we heard:
Offering a welcoming smile
Probably the most frequently mentioned idea! One local put it this way: “Smile. A smile goes a long way. A welcoming smile can put anyone at ease.”
Greeting a someone alone in a crowd
Whether it's being the new kid at school or attending an event where everyone seems to know one another, being new can be lonely. Events and meetings are a perfect opportunity to help a newcomer feel included, and all you have to do is say hello!
Making small talk
"[Make] small talk whenever possible. It is a win-win scenario for both newcomers and you! The newcomers demonstrate initiative to reach out while you enhance your rapport building skills!"
Sharing knowledge & resources
Offer a tour of town, lend a guidebook or gear, or “share tips and experiences of when you moved here to help make someone else’s move easier.”
Learning a few words in another language
One local told us that the moment a Canadian-born stranger thanked him in his first language was when he began to feel welcome in the valley.
Locals agree: meals and small events are the perfect way to help newcomers connect to the community.
Waiting for an answer to ‘How are you?”
“Next time you ask ‘how are you?’ stop and wait for the answer. People often want to connect on a deeper level. Give them some time to answer. It's amazing what you'll learn!”
"Listen actively, paying full attention.”
Speaking warmly and sincerely
“Use an enthusiastic and sincere tone of voice”
Introducing new friends to old friends
“Introduce new people to others in the community by sharing a little information about them like family background, work, hobbies etc.”·
Mentoring new colleagues
“Have a mentor or buddy system. Whenever a new person comes in plan to assign someone to show them around and offer support.”
Following through when we invite new friends out
Vague plans to get together 'sometime' can be confusing for some, especially when cultural differences are involved. On the other hand, making a specific invitation and following up on it is a fantastic way to welcome someone to the community.
Examining our biases
Unconscious biases are hidden assumptions and beliefs about others that we all have. Biases can help us make quick decisions, but they can also get in the way of making good decisions. Taking a close look at the unconscious beliefs you hold about others is an important step towards being able to connect with people who are different about you. For a look at how biases affect our behaviour, take a look at this TED Talk.
Treating everyone like a local
People from all over the world call the Bow Valley their home. Since you can't tell who's a local at a glance, make everyone feel welcome by treating them like they're here to stay. Learn more about our campaign to celebrate the many ways their are to be a local here.
The poster says 'Welcome' in English, French (Bienvenue), and:
Punjabi: ਜੀ ਆਇਆਂ ਨੂੰ
Arabic: أ هْلاً وَْسَ هْلاًْ