Have you ever experienced or felt something that you just couldn’t put into words? When you know how you feel, but you can’t seem to find the right words to express *exactly* what’s going on inside your head or your heart? Have you ever noticed this happens when someone asks you, “So what is CHAARG anyway?” Alyssa said it best, “From the outside, it’s hard to understand. From the inside, it’s hard to explain.”
While most CHAARG girls can probably relate, I know that my fellow #VirtCHAARG girls especially can. I have been asked countless times about what CHAARG is, what it means to be a member, why it’s worth it, etc., + even after being a member for almost a year + a half, it’s still difficult to put it into words for those asking. It can be even more difficult to explain what VirtCHAARG is, since there aren’t weekly events, small groups, or actual face-to-face interactions [hallelujah to those who plan Virt Meetups!]. After being around for nearly 1.5 years in #VirtCHAARG, I’ve learned along the way how to get the most out of my #VirtCHAARG experience. Here’s what I do//what I’ve done to become so involved with this community + make it feel like it’s not really even virtual at all…
1] REACH OUT TO EACH + EVERY GIRL
Ok, so *each + every girl* may be a little daunting + unrealistic, but believe it or not, that’s what I did throughout all last summer. As soon as I would see a new girl join #VirtCHAARG + post an intro in our FB group, I would add her as a friend + message her. Trust me, this took a lot of guts + was not always easy to do because let’s face it — starting convos with strangers can be awkward + make you vulnerable. Plus, I didn’t want anyone to think I was a weirdo! But, I pushed those fears aside + I did it. If it weren’t for my opening up + putting myself out there, I would not have become so familiar with the Virt girls + wouldn’t have gotten as close with some of y’all, either [I’m lookin’ at you, Virginia!] So get over the fear of it + say hello! I promise you won’t regret it.
2] STAY ACTIVE ON YOUR #INCHAARG INSTA
I’d say we’re all pretty good about this, but I think that utilizing social media is especially crucial for us Virt girls with feeling more a part of the community. The #inCHAARG insta concept wasn’t created until right before the first #CHAARGBOOTYCAMP about a year ago, + it has seriously made connecting with other girls SO much easier + more fun. I’ve rarely logged into my personal account since creating my @natalie_inchaarg account because I feel like my #inCHAARG one is much more beneficial to my growth as a person — it’s who I truly am! Making sure to stay active on insta [+ if you don’t have one yet, MAKE ONE!] by posting at least once [ain’t no shame in posting twice or more ; )] will give you the chance to establish a presence in the community. Plus, it is almost way too easy to find every single CHAARG girl on insta. All you have to do is search #inCHAARG, #CHAARGon, #VirtCHAARG, or everyone’s fav, #CHAARGEATS + you’re guaranteed to follow hundreds upon hundreds [seriously] of accounts + be followed back.
3] TAKE THE TIME TO *ACTUALLY* READ OTHER GIRLS’ POSTS + ENGAGE WITH THEM
We can all admit to simply scrolling through our #inCHAARG insta feed + blindly liking each post without even reading the caption from time to time, but you will benefit so much more by taking the time to read each caption + commenting! The CHAARG community is all about encouraging each other to be the absolute best versions of ourselves, + one of the best ways to do so is by investing a bit of our time + attention on each other to provide advice, support + love. This is essential for my Virt girls especially, since we generally cannot spread the lovin’ in person.
4] ENCOURAGE FRIENDS IN YOUR AREA TO JOIN
This is one thing I wish that I would’ve done sooner. Encouraging your friends to join #VirtCHAARG, whether it be at a university without a chapter yet or if you’re post-grad, the community is no longer entirely virtual! Nearly a year ago, a wonderful girl by the name of Kaitlyn Bowman asked me what CHAARG was + how to get involved. Now after all her hard work, #GVSUCHAARG [Grand Valley State University CHAARG!] is going to be a thing in the fall + I have met so many more girls because of it. Even if I am post-grad + can’t join the chapter [MAJOR sad face!] I’ve still made a ton of new friends because of #VirtCHAARG + they are friends for life! Encourage a few friends to join with you. Sign up + experience this life-changing community together!
5] PARTICIPATE IN AS MANY CHAARG CHALLENGES, FITPLANS + EVENTS AS POSSIBLE
One of the most wonderful things about the CHAARG community is that there are literally so many ways to get involved, participate + unite with all 2,500+ girls at once. ++ these ways are all open to #VirtCHAARG girls! From all of the FitPlans [#CHAARGFITPLAN, #CHAARGSBFP, #CHAARGBOOTYCAMP], to events like #runCHAARG, CHAARGMAS, the National Retreat + now even VIRT RETREATS — #VirtCHAARGtakesCHI was a blast — there are so many ways to get involved. Oh, not to mention there are monthly challenges on insta + sometimes even challenges daily! Participating in as much as you can is a surefire way to get the most out of your #VirtCHAARG experience. Trust me, there is nothing like completing a FitPlan with CHAARG + Share It Fitness to strengthen the bond of 1,000 girls [sign up for updates on the summer FitPlan — the CHAARG BOOTYCAMP — here!]
6] PLAN MEETUPS
Meetups aren’t only an amazing way to become more involved in the CHAARG community + make the most of your #VirtCHAARG membership, they’re also a BLAST! It can be as simple as going out for ice cream [like Jackie, Al + Jessie did!] or something a little more detailed like taking a pole dancing class [like Mel from Toledo planned!]. Regardless of the activity, meetups are a fun way to get to know more #VirtCHAARG girls + make the virtual community not seem so scattered. Our awesome Community Outreach CHAARGie Alexa Zuber has even put together [+ regularly updates!] a locations list, so you know which girls are nearby + who to reach out to!
7] APPLY TO BE A #CHAARGTERN
What better way to immerse yourself in the CHAARG community than to work for CHAARG?! If you have a passion writing, design, photography, or organization, CHAARG is frequently hiring CHAARGterns in these areas throughout the year! These areas not quite your forte? Send over your ideal job description to Elisabeth + it just may be something CHAARG is looking for!
8] SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS + PROVIDE FEEDBACK
The CHAARG community as a whole is always seeking feedback on what is + isn’t working with the org, as well as what we would like to see the community become. The #VirtCHAARG girls are especially sought out for insight on how to improve the virtual community. Ignoring that survey won’t lead to any changes, so if there is something you’d like to see changed or areas for improvement, let your voice be heard! Take the initiative to share your thoughts even when it’s not asked of you; feedback is always appreciated + can only help our community become stronger together.
Because I have involved myself in the CHAARG community in all of the ways above, my #VirtCHAARG membership barely seems *virtual* at all. Sure, I may not be able to experience events + meet hundreds of new girls in person every week, but I still feel such a strong connection with so many CHAARG girls, both virtual + chapter members, that this community has changed my life for the better. #VirtCHAARG is exactly what you make of it, so MAKE. IT. COUNT.
Become a VirtCHAARG Girl today — all undergrads + post grad 20-somethings are welcome :). Join here!
+Natalie [@natalie_inchaarg], VirtCHAARG from Grand Rapids