A Note From the Publisher...
Alas, after over 22 years of serving the community, and with a full heart and gratitude, our online resource - TheCommunityGuide.net in Ulster County, NY & Beyond, published by First Connections, Inc., has been retired!
Over the years, so much great information had been accumulated and organized!
TheCommunityGuide.net had always endeavored to be "Your First Connection to the Resources, Businesses and Services in Your Community"!
What an honor and privilege it has been to get to know and work with so many of the people, businesses and organizations in our glorious mid-Hudson Valley, NY region, and have the opportunity to provide what we hope and think was a useful resource in this community.
Ours has been a sweet journey...
TheCommunityGuide.net evolved over 21 years (Est. December 1999) when it started by offering a wonderful little program to welcome new residents to northern Ulster County, NY, known as "The Welcome Connection" (later known as "First Connections", and also as "Community & Family Guide", before finally becoming TheCommunityGuide.net).
The Welcome Connection offered a binder with info on community information and services, and discount coupons, and little gifts from local businesses (supporters), plus lots more, all placed in a tote bag with our supporters' logos on it, and delivered directly to the residents' new homes/apartments with a welcoming bouquet of flowers (supported by our wonderful participating florists). It was a really lovely and personal program!
At that time, we worked primarily with Realtors and apartment complexes in northern Ulster County. There were also a lot of weekly trips to the Ulster County Real Property offices in Kingston, as well as a lot of phone calls to welcome new residents and help answer any questions they might have. They were very appreciative!
The real estate agents had then requested if it was possible to have the info that was presented in the binder, made available to give to all of their clients, not just the new residents, as people were moving from one community to another within the county, and this information was a very helpful intro to familiarize themselves with the various townships and resources and questions that come up time and time again (like what to do with the garbage and recycling, or what lessons & enrichment activities are available, or what kids birthday party options are available, etc.).
So we later moved into creating a beautiful 65-page print publication (with color cover) of local resources for the Ulster County, NY area, which included lots of information about each of the townships, all the schools and lessons and day camps and birthday party options, and events & happenings, plus we included a great deal of information for people in need, heavily used by therapists as a resource of human services to reference (they used to call it their bible!). And, we verified things annually so the information was current and viable.
All of our efforts were solely supported by local business and services who wanted to advertise or sponsor us while being able to introduce themselves to new residents and people exploring the various communities. We were very fortunate to have some great support and we made long lasting friendships along the way.
Eventually we moved into primarily becoming an online venue, which, for a long while, included most of the schools & pre-schools, enrichment classes, day camps, and kids birthday party options offered throughout Ulster County, NY, plus township details, lots of events happening in several counties, human service resources, plus additional helpful information, and, of course, details on our business supporters and sponsors. Being an online resource helped us to keep current with any changes that might happen.
We also printed beautiful little promotional pieces with tidbits of good info from the website for people to hold onto, and then we distributed them around the various communities and at venues and trade shows to let people know who we were, and to check us out online.
Stacie Flint was a tremendous and generous supporter in allowing us to use her whimsical colorful artwork for many of our print covers and she even produced some original drawings for inside a few of our publications, just for us! So great!!
Additionally, for a long while we also offered a weekly E-Newsletter which included lots of non-profit community outreach, as well as news/happenings from some of our supporters.
Plus, we helped collect gifts from wonderful local businesses to support caregivers attending caregiver events, in appreciation of all that caregivers do to help those they tirelessly and respectfully care for. (A special thank you to Colleen - couldn't have made those efforts happen without you!)
I was a very proud mama for the work we were doing, the relationships we had forged, and the amazing and conscientious team we had put together to do the research and verify the details so that we could offer a true resource (Bernie, Sue, Rochelle, Lynda, India, and Charlotte, just to mention a few of the team I could totally count on to provide the best work ethics, integrity, capabilities, and fun!).
The response from the community and supporters was lovely. And that was very fulfilling. After all, this was really a labor of love.
Ultimately, COVID got in the way for us and for many of the businesses and organizations in the area.
But what a beautiful ride it has been for TheCommunityGuide.net. I thank you to those who took the ride with us! Who knows what the future will hold.
Wishing you all peace, good health, lots of laughter, and...
enjoy our beautiful communities!!
With much appreciation,
Some of our early print publications and later print brochures: