Group will aid newcomers

FAIRMONT – When David “Ace” Adams overheard some new co-workers at Avery Weigh-Tronix talking about their lack of knowledge and available information about Fairmont, it inspired him to take action.

Adams serves on the Fairmont Community Education and Recreation advisory committee. He felt CER would be the logical organization to sponsor what has been dubbed “Fairmont Area Newcomers and Neighbors.”

The fledgling group is dedicated to assisting newcomers and residents create connections and foster a sense of community.

Adams has formed a core group with six other people to serve as an organizational committee. Members include fellow Weigh-Tronix employees Kathleen Nichols and Bethanie Denton, whose situations were different, yet similar.

“I’ve been here a little over a year. I moved here right out of college,” Nichols said.

Denton grew up in Granada, left her hometown and moved back to the area after college.

“A lot of my friends weren’t here anymore,” she said. “I needed a new network of people.”

Moving to a new community can be a lonely time, but Fairmont Area Newcomers and Neighbors wants to change that.

“We want to be so well-known that when somebody moves to the neighborhood, the [neighbor’s] immediate response is Newcomers and Neighbors,” Nichols said.

The group will hold an inaugural event Thursday night at Gomsrud Park in Fairmont. Starting at 6:30 p.m, they will enjoy root beer floats and lawn games while interacting with other newcomers, as well as established residents.

This will be the first of the “fifth Thursday” events, large group gatherings held in the months with five Thursdays, which happens a few times a year. The next is slated for Oct. 30, with the theme as yet undecided.

Fifth Thursdays offer a chance to learn the basics about Fairmont’s schools, churches, local government, businesses, organizations and recreational opportunities. The committee also hopes these big events will create “off-shoot groups” of people who share similar interests, whether it’s playing cards, a sport or community involvement.

“This is a way for newcomers to make contacts,” Adams said.

“We’re also going to rely very heavily on our Facebook page,” Nichols said. “All it takes is a simple ‘like,’ and you’ll get constant updates on affiliated activities.”

Relocating to Fairmont was Nichols’ “eighth or ninth move, all across the country,” she said, so she knows what it’s like to have questions about a new community.

“Where do you bank? Where do you get your hair cut? Just to have that place to come and learn how to make a life here,” she said.

The group is open to anyone who wants to learn more about Fairmont, whether they’ve lived in the area one day or five years.

“We want our numbers to grow,” Nichols said.

“In all directions,” Benton added.