of something that happened to a friend of mine:
Interestingly, about four years ago, I made an attempt at becoming involved with the democratic party in my little town (which is overwhelmingly republican.) I thought that this would help me meet townies who were not connected to the university where I teach. This proved to be a bust, because the people involved in the democratic party in my town form a tight-knit clique that was not really into opening itself to newcomers ...
True story: My friend Joan had always been a member of the Democratic party when she lived in the city, and did a lot of volunteer work for them. She worked hard, because she enjoyed politics. When she moved to the suburbs, she called the local (Democratic) party leaders and offered herself as a volunteer. They told her they had nothing for her to do and had no need for her services.
So Joan volunteered for the Republican party. They were delighted to get her, and last I heard, she was county chairwoman. She is now, of course, a rabid Republican.
C'est le premier pas qui coute. I'm not too sure I remember the French rightly, so I'll paraphrase: it is the first step that counts--or to put it another way and quote a Chinese proverb, the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.