April of 2008 saw me moving away from my support system – namely, Vermont – and moving to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where I knew absolutely no one. My daughter lives about 75 minutes away, closer in to Philly, and I made the decision to move to Lanco purely because rent was much cheaper. Looking back, that was a decision I will never regret, as I adore Lanco through and through. However, the one hurdle I have yet to easily overcome is making new friends in this still new to me place. When I was younger, many nights found me out at the club, absorbing whatever live music I could, where I was lucky enough to meet new people. That was then and this is now.
Now is almost 4 years later (which seems incredible to me) and I still find myself struggling to meet new people. With the exception of one location – at a local Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) meeting. Over the last 3 years, I have been fortunate enough to meet the most incredible people that all hold one thing in common – their affection of a volunteer organization that has one mission in mind – to advance building information management and education of project teams to improve facility performance.
Whether attending a meeting in Pittsburgh (home of my first meeting), State College, Philadelphia, Camp Hill or Allentown, I have been fortunate to meet well over a hundred people that volunteer time away from their family and loved ones to meet and mingle after hours with other like minded individuals. Whether sharing ideas or strategies or even a smile or a drink, I have felt more than welcome in the State of Pennsylvania due to these new found friends. I now know that should I need ever a favor, whether personal or professional, I have a stable of acquaintances that I don’t need to hesitate to ask.
Last night was a perfect example. Almost 50 people gathered last evening at the Fowler Blast Furnace Room at SteelStacks in Bethlehem for our annual CSI Allentown Holiday Gala. A long 5 days of driving and road fatigue was quickly shed as I entered the room and immediately felt at ease. Presently I have an empty house in Lititz, so it was heartwarming to spend a few hours with my CSI family around the Holidays. Laughs and smiles and hugs were abound. Good food and drink and company was shared. For three hours, the worries of the outside world were temporarily forgotten and all too soon, the evening was done. However, I will not soon forget the great time I had with wonderful individuals that I am fortunate to call my friends.
A Roomful of Friends are that added bonus that your membership benefits do not list, but are an added feature that you get with CSI.