Make your neighborhood stronger by doing a BBQ

One of the truths in real estate is that you buy into a neighborhood. You don’t just purchase whatever exists between your parcel lines, but rather a community. Many times it’s easy to forget this though because of how normal it is to drive home, close the garage door as soon as possible, and live an isolated life from neighbors. This is understandable because of the way society is, but over time as a neighborhood becomes a group of parcel islands instead of a united tribe, it makes the community weak and invites crime too.

National Night Out Logo 2013Let me share a simple way to help neighborhoods connect. The first Tuesday in August (8/6/13) is “National Night Out“, which is a fantastic opportunity to mingle with a few neighbors on the front lawn. This is a national event where residents get together across the United States to build community and in the process stand against crime. This is for any neighborhood, whether values are low or high, and it’s for renters and owners alike.

Can you really do this? Each year my household hosts this event for my neighborhood, so I am obviously passionate about it. Since it has been such a rich experience for my family, I wanted to mention it here and encourage anyone reading to consider hosting a potluck this year for your street. Yes, I know life is busy (mine is too). The truth though is each community needs someone to get the ball rolling to help neighbors connect in a small way like this. Let’s face it, nobody really wants to be the initiator, but it’s thankfully not a big thing to pass out some flyers on your street, get a few neighbors on board and go potluck style. In fact, read my 10 tips for hosting a community BBQ to help you get started. The truth is neighborhoods grow stronger when events like this happen because residents have the opportunity to build relationship and communicate about the neighborhood. What if you got the ball rolling this year by hosting a simple BBQ in August? What could happen in your community if residents began to steer the neighborhood to communicate a bit more?

National Night Out BBQ last year

I’m around if you have any questions or simply need some advice for getting neighborhood communication or your BBQ off the ground.

Community Building 101: In case it might be helpful, I wrote a series called “Community Building 101″ a few years ago. If you are tinkering with the idea of how to begin to improve your neighborhood, this short mini-essay series might be relevant. Let me know what you think. Download HERE (pdf).

Question: What is the best experience you’ve ever had when it comes to connecting with neighbors? I’d love to hear below.

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  1. ricardo says

    Good post, Ryan. Sounds like you are saying that good people make good neighborhoods (not the other way around). I could not agree more. Sounds like your family is making something that cannot be bought — a home.

    • says

      Thanks Ricardo. I think when we get intentional to build community in very practical ways, we can see profound results. Just last night we lit off fireworks in my front yard, but instead of doing it alone, we invited a household across the street to come sit with us on the driveway. It was spur of the moment, but wonderful. These neighbors weren’t outside, so knocking on their door invited them to come out and enjoy some community. It’s these types of things that transform a house into a home. I like how you said that….. “It’s something that cannot be bought”. Nor can it be legislated by an HOA.

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