Cultivating community among neighbors creates a sense of belonging, enhances physical and emotional health, and lowers crime rates. Try these fun and easy strategies for encouraging personal interaction and building community in your neighborhood.
- Form a walk-every-street group. Especially fun in large communities with beautiful scenery and plenty of hills, challenge residents to hit the pavement and travel by foot down every street. Hand out maps and mileage logs, and reward the finishers with customized sweatshirts or T-shirts.
- Hold an arts and crafts festival. Keep it low-key and informal with banquet tables and tarps in the park, or stage it in an upscale conference room and add a silent auction. This is a great way for neighbors to see the creative side of each other.
- Stage a street party. Block off a large area, fire up the grills, blast some vintage rock and roll, and cut loose with each other. Schedule it for a late Saturday afternoon when everyone’s relaxed to encourage lighthearted interactions.
- Plant an organic community garden. Tending the earth next to your neighbors and sharing in a bounty of fresh vegetables strengthens interpersonal ties while improving health and lowering food costs. Community gardens help foster a sense of ownership and pride.
- Groom hiking trails. Form a team of trail stewards who plan and maintain walking and hiking routes around the inspiring vistas, lakes, and streams in your community.
- Beautify the grounds. Plant and maintain summer annuals in your community’s public places.
- Organize a neighborhood watch program. Help prevent crime in your community and work together to keep an eye out for each other. See the National Crime Prevention Council’s guide to getting started.
- Start a hobby club. Gather neighbors together to share a common passion, whether it’s reading and discussing books on Monday night, watching birds on Saturday afternoon, or fishing on Sunday morning.
- Coordinate a neighborhood yard sale. Inspire everyone to clean out closets and garages and participate in a community flea market. Charge $5 a stall, and donate the money to an agreed-upon local charity or add it to next summer’s block party fund.
- Implement a Good Neighbors daily volunteer program. These programs are designed to help neighbors in times of illness, grief, or other challenges by providing:
- Food preparation and delivery for residents who are ill, recovering from an illness, or suffering a family loss.
- Caring Companions who stay with a homebound loved one while the caretaker runs errands or takes personal time.
- Telephone Buddies who make a daily call to neighbors who live alone and want someone to keep in regular contact with them.
- Transportation for residents who are unable to drive themselves to a medical appointment or pick up a prescription.
- A lending closet stocked with a supply of medical equipment and children’s furniture that residents may need because of a short-term situation.
Realize your HOA’s full potential. Bring your community together and encourage cooperation and respect. CAP Management is here to help at http://www.capmanagement.com.