Community is important to me as an individual and as a mother… Part of community development is taking the time to say hello and find out what's going on. The other, and my most favorite part, is spotting opportunities to bring us together.
We live in a tight-knit neighborhood that's as eclectic and diverse as it gets. There are kids, retirees, writers, opera singers, librarians, artists, mechanics, and home improvement experts all right here. When we moved in a decade ago, I used to joke we were living on Sesame Street. It's a great mix.
During the winter months, neighbors huddle up in their cozy warm homes. But when summertime comes, the neighborhood comes alive. Everyone's out walking, we sit on our front porches and chat, kids play outside and dash in and out of homes for quick snacks or freezer pops.
Community is important to me as an individual and as a mother. It's not just a lofty idea, it's one we all actively work at in our small neighborhood. Part of community development is taking the time to say hello and find out what's going on. The other, and my most favorite part, is spotting opportunities to bring us together.
A couple of years ago, I organized a neighborhood cycling party. Parents came bearing side dishes. Kids arrived on bikes and scooters. We broke out the sidewalk chalk and drew arrows, wrote kids' names and words of encouragement, just like you'd see at the Tour de France. One of the neighbors fired up their grill and we enjoyed icy cold glasses of lemonade. The kids played and the parents chatted long into the evening.
This year, we're switching it up with a summer snow cone stand in our front yard. It's taking the open house, outside. Neighbors can swing by, grab a snow cone and chat. It's a nice way to meet the parents of the kids my kids will be playing with all summer long. And it's low key enough that I don't have to do much prep work or stress: ice from our freezer, a few snow cone cups, a jug or two of juice and there you have it!
Our snow cone machine was gifted to us. But if you don't have one of your own, try a lemonade open house. Serve pitchers of lemonade, cookies, and snacks. Encourage neighbors to stop by for a visit.
Provide a couple of inexpensive but high-fun activities like bubbles, sidewalk chalk and Hula Hoops for kids to play with. Encourage your kids to organize a game of freeze tag or if folks linger into the evening, tell them to grab a flashlight for flashlight tag.
Because when it comes to building a community, sometimes a little summer fun goes a very long way.