Tips to Make New Friends in Bonita Spring – Estero
If you’re new to Southwest Florida here are some great ways to make new friends and put down new roots in the Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida area. Know this – you’re not the only new resident to move to “The Gateway to the Gulf”. Right now, our national average is 8,000 to 10,000 people per day turn 65 in the United States. A lot of those boomers are looking for fair weather in the winter and they end up in Florida. As our population grows many folks find themselves looking to establish new friends and spheres of influence in Bonita Springs. Here are some great tips to help you get acclimated.
1. Join a service organization or attend several of them as a visitor. Bonita Springs is a city of service above self. There are morning, noon and evening Rotary Clubs. In addition to Rotary, there are other great organizations such as Kiwanis, Zonta, Lions, Speakers Assembly, etc.
2. Meetup.com is a great way to dial into local hobbyist clubs to find your people. Are you an orchid grower? Runner? A cyclist? Movie aficionado? Whatever your favorite pass time is, someone has a Meetup group for it and you can get involved.
3. Go to your clubhouse or neighborhood/community amenities. The city of Bonita Springs is about 75% gated and deed restricted. Most of the communities have a clubhouse or at the very least a swimming pool. There are other residents using and enjoying the facilities. Go meet them. Get lists for events or look to see if there are calendars of events. Many communities have their own channel on television to keep residents up to speed on current events, clubs and meetings.
4. If you are in a gated community or homeowner association run for the board of directors and get involved! You’ll meet tons of owners and residents.
5. If you have children get involved in your child’s school as a volunteer or PTO. There are also many local teams; soccer, football, cheerleading. There are great parent groups on Facebook, too. See also: Bonita Springs Estero Parents
6. The Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce offers a leadership program. The program is intensive and diverse. Besides being submerged with a couple of dozen community leaders and business owners for many months, you get unprecedented access to many offices, points of interest, local establishments and community government/infrastructure sources that you wouldn’t ordinarily know about. It’s a comprehensive crash-course on everything southwest Florida.
7. Volunteer. There are many place to volunteer your time or talents in Bonita Springs. For example, the Bonita Assistance Office helps serve those who have fallen on hard times. You can become a volunteer who helps clients shop in the pantry or become one who helps organize goods in the pantry.
8. Join a city committee. The City of Bonita Springs has several committees that residents can volunteer to help on; the events committee, the veterans committee and a variety of advisory committees. You can earn more at City of Bonita Springs Volunteers.
9. Join a community related networking group on Facebook. For example, The Bonita Springs Estero Community Forum or even a hyper local page like a Vanderbilt Lakes community page such as this page: Vanderbilt Lakes.
10. Find a church family. Regardless of your religion or denomination there is a church for you. From standard bricks and mortar churches to The Springs of Bonita “outdoor church” at Riverside Park there is a place for you.
11. A good portion of the year, but definitely October through April, many of our outdoor malls and shopping centers have live music and entertainment. Most notably, The Center Bar at The Promenade has regular entertainment, as does Coconut Point Mall. Most mall and shopping centers have Facebook pages and post the events so you don’t miss a good time.
12. Dogs, dogs, dogs. We have a dog beach and many dog parks plus pet friendly parks. If you have a dog you can surely make new dog-lover friends and your dog will make new friends, too!
13. Last but not least, there are both “Newcomer’s Clubs” and “State Clubs” in the area. You can find other people who are new to the area who may have ties to “back home” and a little state pride in common with you.
The most important thing you can do is make eye contact and smile. There are a lot of people new to Bonita Springs and Estero and if everyone just gets friendly and opens their hearts they’ll make new friends quickly.