Neighborhood Activities and Teamwork
A key to cultural diversity in neighborhoods is finding common ground among citizens. Here are a few activities used by neighborhoods to bring their residents together.
Create a holiday celebration based on the traditions of the different ethnic and religious groups represented in the neighborhood. Ask neighbors to bring a food item and a decoration item used in their own celebrations. You may end up celebrating Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanza all at once!
Many neighborhoods are in transition, and it is important to preserve a sense of neighborhood history for the newcomers. One neighborhood sought to preserve its history by sponsoring small, single-block neighborhood teas. One household on the block volunteers to host the event and invites a long-time resident as the guest of honor. The guest of honor and the host invite other neighbors to participate. The host provides refreshments. To ensure that all the teas are similar, a three-person committee helps to coordinate each of the teas. A television producer in the neighborhood records each of the events.
Groups of five or six households share a potluck meal with one course at each person's house. The dinner is organized so that guests can walk from one home to another. Serve dessert at a central location so all of the households can gather for the final event.
May Day Festival
A neighborhood association in Denver, Colorado, celebrates spring with a May Day Festival. The association hosts the event in a park and hires musicians from the neighborhood to play folk music. A potluck dinner is served, and one neighbor with a passion for Maypole dancing teaches the traditional dance to children. All participants are invited to make floral wreaths to wear in their hair with materials and instructions provided by the association. Consider celebrating other festivals that have special significance to the people in your neighborhood.
Ice-breaker exercises encourage people to interact in a fun, comfortable way. A five- to 10-minute ice-breaker before meetings is a great way to develop interaction and build the team.
- Ask people to find something from their wallet or purse from which they can share a memory or fact.
- Ask people to share the best thing that happened to them that week.
- Everyone shares two true statements about themselves and one false statement. Let the group try to guess which of the three statements is false.
- Have everyone share a favorite memory of living in the neighborhood.
- Tape a 3-by-5 index card with the name of a famous person on the back of each participant. Tell the group to walk around the room asking yes or no questions that will help them determine what their card says.
Teamwork is about building relationships with people. Here are some things to keep in mind when building a strong team:
- Ask open-ended questions: People love to talk about themselves. Ask your neighbors about their families, pets and jobs.
- Be honest, respectful and responsible.
- Be trustworthy: Follow through on your promises. If you announce a meeting, plan to hold the meeting. Following through shows you are about action and that you are trustworthy.
- Recognize the needs of your neighbors: When you plan, consider the needs of your neighborhood.
- Share information: Let people know what resources are available.