Community events like a neighborhood crime watch meeting, a block party , or other neighborhood meetings take an important part in creating a feeling of community. Community members look out for one another, come together for fellowship and on occasion to solve a problem the community faces together.
In order to host a community meeting find a centrally located house. There is usually that house on the block that seems to be the hub of the neighborhood that is a good choice especially if that home happens to be yours. It is good to make some flyers to deliver to the door of each house in the neighborhood and to post in high traffic areas by a common mailbox, church bulletin board or anywhere else that is appropriate. Make sure that there aren’t any ordinances by the city or the neighborhood about where you can post flyers. Click here for an example of a good meeting flyer. They can be as artistic or simple as you like. The important part is like any invitation the date, time, and place is mentioned as well as any speaker that may be coming to visit.
It is important for any good meeting to have a written agenda . An agenda offers a schedule and structure to the meeting. It is important that people are able to hear what they came to the meeting to hear and that their time be respected so that they are more likely to come back for future meetings. Click here for some community meeting agenda templates you can use.
If you have a meeting of over ten families attending you may invite your local city council member, representative from the police department, or other city official to speak with your group. If they cannot personally come they may be able to send a representative from the agency to speak to your group and answer questions about issues that concerns your neighborhood. Many towns have a Neighborhood Outreach department and are excited to have an opportunity to dialog with residence about many topics.
If you have an issue that you would like to discuss with neighbors schedule that for the end of the meeting and place a time limit on the discussion. Make sure that as many people as possible are heard but that the meeting doesn’t go too long.
To get great attendance to a community meeting it is always good to have some sort of refreshments there. Whether it is a fruit plate, a veggie plate, some iced tea , water and cookies. Or long deli sandwiches that can be cut up with sodas, or whatever treats deemed appropriate for the crowd. Great food is a great way to get people to come and to come back again next time.
Keep the atmosphere light, informal and welcoming in order to have a successful community meeting. The same person can host meetings or people can take turns hosting at their homes. If it works well perhaps decide on a fixed date each month for neighbors to get together. The more notice the easier it is for people to plan. Community meetings are a great way to get to know neighbors and to build that sense of community fellowship and connection that makes a town more than a town it becomes a hometown.