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With summer vacations drawing to a close people are renewing their focus on work, getting excited about the year ahead, getting motivated and looking to get involved. But how many times have you heard yourself or your co-workers say that this year you will be more active in the community but it just never happens? My guess would be that like me, this happens all too often.

We can all get bogged down with the day-to-day busyness of work and family but it is important to remember that as business and community leaders we must be active and involved. We need to be visible in our communities and mentor future business and community leaders so they can help shape the vibrant and prosperous community we all want Halifax to be. This year let’s make a commitment to get involved. Whether you have one hour or five nights a week, every little bit goes a long way to ensuring that we have an active and vibrant community.

There are many ways to get involved in your community, and you are already taking one step by engaging with the Chamber. With over 100 events annually and a wide variety of committees the Chamber is a great way to become active in the Halifax business community. But let’s not stop there.

From the PTA to charities to the arts there are literally hundreds of groups, associations, committees and boards in Halifax to choose from.

In your community, join the Neighbourhood Watch, volunteer at a school or hospital, coach youth sports or become a Scout or Girl Guide leader. Help out at Feed Nova Scotia, the United Way or take part in one of the Canadian Cancer Society’s many annual activities. All of these activities go a long way to helping the people in your community and ultimately making your community a better place to live.

Each year in September HRM begins looking for volunteers for its various committees, boards and commissions. As well the city and a variety of independent organizations hold community consultation regularly on topics ranging from tax reform to community visioning project like HRM by Design. Participating in community consultations is another great way not just to get involved in your community but to help change it.

If you don’t feel like you can make these commitments you can get involved simply by supporting things in your community like the arts. Go to a play at Neptune or Shakespeare by the Sea. Visit one of Halifax’s many art galleries or take a tour of a museum, attend Opera Nova Scotia or the Scotia Festival of Music.

Let’s make it our year to get involved and be as active in our community as possible, and remember every bit counts.

Originally appeared in Business Voice Magazine, September 2007