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Urbana IL My Amazing Community

Urbana IL: My Amazing Community

Our family has moved frequently enough that our kids voluntarily keep a roll of duct tape in their assigned room colors on hand “just in case” we get the itch to move them again. One wraps boxes in blue, the other green. This way the movers place items in the correct locations when we arrive at our new locations. 

The other day as I was grabbing a few things from one of my favorite grocery stores I saw a familiar look on a woman who bumped into me as she was shopping. I smiled and asked if she needed help.

As tears filled her eyes she asked, “Is this the right store?” It turns out she’s new to town, recently moved from the east coast, and felt our community was a bit overwhelming.

When we don’t move frequently (or at all) we may not realize that in America things are different as we move from state to state. Brands change names even when they are made by the same manufacturer. It’s exhausting to decipher a store layout in every new store. But when you finally find “the right” place you start to feel at home.

That’s what we all want, isn’t it? We want our hearts to feel settled. We want to come home. 

Part of feeling at home is loving where you live. It’s a blessing to live in a place that you can also love, even it’s for a short time. That’s what I love about Urbana Illinois. Our Illinois community amazing is because it is incredibly diverse, it’s one of my favorite things about my home.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Carle Hospital, and the surrounding farming communities comprise much of Champaign County. Because of this, we get the best of both worlds when it comes to accessibility and small town living. 

Our diverse community brings boasts a huge variety of restaurants and grocery stores. You can walk down Green Street to grab shwarma, boba tea, and the most amazing fish tacos all within a few steps of each other. We also have the best farmer’s market in the state with local produce including peaches, strawberries, freshly butchered meats, and goat cheese used in Rick Bayless’s Chicago restaurant.

If the farmer’s market scene isn’t your thing have no fear, Lake in the Woods has boat rentals, hiking trails, and botanical gardens.

Besides the fabulous food, outside areas to explore, and the university to keep you entertained with athletics and cultural arts you’ll also find that Urbana, IL is an amazing town because of all the eclectic voices the community supports. Diversity in our area extends to The Women’s Business Council of Champaign County, Mentorship programs like cu1to1, and the Urbana and Champaign Park Districts which strive to present unique programming for every age group.

Are you moving to Central IL? Check out how Champaign/Urbana is featured over on our Community Resources page. 

Do you have a community you would like to feature? Coaching families move frequently and we’re always eager to learn about cities and towns where we may need to purchase a home and plant roots. If you have a community, ministry, or business you would like to feature as part of our My Amazing Community series email hello@fridaynightwives.com

 

 

Dear Veteran's Coach's Wive Series

Dear Veteran Coach’s Wife: How do I Develop Community on Our Staff?

It’s Monday, which means we’re answering another question in our Veteran Coach’s Wife series.

 

QUESTION FROM NEWBIE WIFE

I long for a close-knit sisterhood with the other wives on our staff but it’s just not there. We always have beginning-of-the-year get-togethers (with the exception of this year, of course), I have created a private FB group to try and generate a little camaraderie, and I regularly ask about caravaning/carpooling to games. I’m at a loss. We are finishing up our 7th season in our current job, we are quite a bit older than most of the staff, so, I’m not sure if that’s the issue or what?

Signed,

Longing for Sisterhood

ANSWERS FROM VETERAN COACHES WIVES

Dear Longing for Sisterhood,

Every staff is different from year to year and that includes the wives. Some years are great, others not so much. Two things I want to leave you with first; sometimes people are quietly struggling or missing the mark of connection. I have been burned before by others, pretty badly so when we join a new staff, I get anxiety times 10x. I worry all the time about whether not I fit in or if a person likes me. Because I am struggling, I tend to miss the mark of connection with a person. So, please keep trying. People like me need it. 

Second, I want to applaud your effort and encourage you to keep trying. Host a wives only event, my current HFC’s wife did this. We crafted team mascot door hangers. It was so much fun and gave us an opportunity to get to know each other without husbands and kids. One other thing I do to try and ease my anxiety and kindle friendship is I give all the wives a small gift. I am a crafter and make things, this year I made custom team earrings and gave them to each wife. It opened the door to new friendships and made everyone feel welcome. 

I hope this encourages you. Please keep trying, I know from experience that there is a person on that staff that needs friendship. 

Cheers, 

Stephanie Windon

 

Dear Longing for Sisterhood,

My husband has often said that the loneliest job on a coaching staff is that of a head coach. I believe the loneliest volunteer role is that of the head coach’s wife. The reality is that any way you look at things your husband eventually will determine the future of the rest of the staff. If your husband takes a new job or resigns then the rest of the staff may answer to a new boss, lose their job or get a promotion. If your husband isn’t pleased with someone he may have to fire someone. 

It’s a difficult balance with a dynamic where you’re interacting with the boss’s wife in any situation. Coaches’ wives who have been burned by previous coaching staffs are likely to keep their distance. 

Another thing to consider is that Facebook may not be the preferred method of communication. Try Voxer, Slack, or even email. It’s important to try to connect with people the way they are most likely to respond. Not everyone loves Facebook. 

Finally, it may be that while the wives are comfortable with you, there are some group dynamics within the overall group you aren’t aware of. Try inviting the wives out one on one to get to know them better. You’ll discover the things you have in common with each of them and they will see you genuinely care about them as well. 

Your efforts are to be commended, I hope the wives realize not all HCW’s care as much as you do!

Keep Going!

Beth Walker

PS- Have you read: Being a Head Coach’s Wife is Harder than I’d Ever Thought

 

Do you have a question?

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