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story.lead_photo.caption Isaac Williams

There have been many times I have spoken with individuals or couples who feel left out of the Jefferson City community.

As a transplant myself 11 years ago from Kansas (don't judge me too much), I understand the feeling of trying to get plugged in and make those new connections.

For those of us who live in this great city, the tightness and community we can feel is a great asset. To those new to the area, it can be a struggle to break through and get tied in. Thankfully, there are a lot of fantastic opportunities to quickly get connected and to truly become a part of the community.

Jefferson City offers a host of ways to get plugged in from the various organizations and clubs one can join, to the many opportunities for projects and outreach. There always seems to be something taking place downtown in the summer months and there are countless weekend "projects" one can take part in. Serve Jefferson City, Mobile Food Pantries, volunteering at the Y and even local 5Ks are a great way to meet people. The connections built serving or sweating alongside someone else instantly builds a bond.

For me, I gained that sense of connection through the many opportunities to volunteer at events such as the Luck of the Irish 5K and Little Olympics and meeting new people through our YMCA. Another great opportunity to make acquaintances, get connected and, as a bonus, get healthy is through fitness challenges. The YMCA offers several of these challenges throughout the year.

What better way to get plugged in than while you try not to puke from your workout.

Jefferson City is a fantastic place to live and grow. I'm thankful for the connections I have made and look forward to many more in the future. I encourage you to get out and join a club, run a race, take part in a challenge and in turn, make lasting connections with others in our community.

Isaac Williams is the director of membership and risk management for the Jefferson City Area YMCA, where has worked for the past 11 years.

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