Fun under the grey skies and mud in Foxglove Park

Submitted by Festival of Nei... on August 16, 2016 - 7:58am
Neighbourhood spirit is not built in one day

How it all Started

Prosperity Drive Garage Sales in 2013 & 2014

During our Summer outreach in 2013, Festival of Neighbourhoods was invited to support a generous and eager neighbour who dreamt of having the families on Prosperity drive come together as a community. She imagined a world where neighbours would walk and talk together, gather in the nearby Foxglove Park, play guitar at the corners of the street, host barbeques and potlucks, and invite everyone to get to know and share life with one another.

With the help of a few friends, she organized a garage sale for a whole day in her front yard. The day started with fresh coffee and muffins early on a Saturday morning, fun games to play with on the grassy areas between the neighbours’ houses, and a multitude of people coming together to sell and buy things. The festivities continued throughout the day with a barbeque lunch in her back yard. Towards the end of the afternoon a guitar had been brought in, and more neighbours came by to stop and talk to each other. She hoped that the same spirit would continue, and that her neighbours would contribute and come together afterwards. 

Coming Together

The Festival of Neighbourhoods team joined Prosperity Drive in 2013, bringing games from the Neighbourhood Activity Trunk with us. We skipped and played with the neighbours, spoke to each other in different languages, and spent sometime on our feet and sometime sitting in chairs. People were glad to learn about the Festival and we made sure that more activities would follow. We hadn’t heard from Prosperity drive again until 2014, and the next Neighbourhood Garage Sale. After the Garage Sale however, there were no other activities for another year. In 2015, there was no garage sale on Prosperity Drive at all. 

Prosperity BBQ 2013

Foxglove Park Easter Egg Hunt (2016)

 By 2016, our Festival outreach team joined a community fair in a neighbourhood close to Prosperity drive and Foxglove park. As we chatted with some of the participants, they told us they lived on Prosperity drive and Foxglove street. They shared with us a familiar dream of wanting to see neighbourhood barbeques and street parties. The only thing holding them back was that they felt they were alone in their yearning for neighbours that were active members in each other’s lives. In conversation, we learned that some found an outlet by volunteering at a nearby school where many children from the Prosperity/Foxglove area were attending.

There was a connection! It was clear that we could draw from the connections made outside of the immediate area through the school and bring them back to the neighbourhood. Two of the neighbours were thrilled to learn about our blitzes that we do through Festival of Neighbourhoods outreach and wanted to see one organized around the Foxglove Park. 

  • That Spring we worked with students from the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. After handing out flyers to neighbours and taking special efforts to invite families with children, 10 to 15 people were expected. However, around 40 neighbours gathered at Foxglove Park on March 26th for a Festival of Neighbourhoods supported Easter egg hunt. 
  • The student organizers had excellent ideas for an extravagant Easter Egg Hunt which would bring all the neighbours together at the end of the hunt, to open their eggs, and to celebrate their communion. Bunny ears and hats were made on site and worn by eager participants as they ran and searched for over a hundred sweet treats hidden all around their park. A piece of a puzzle was inserted in some of the 200 eggs we prepared and everyone came together to fit the puzzle pieces at the end of the Egg Hunt.
  • After, there was a very muddy, but fun three legged race, and an Easter puzzle to be put together with pieces found in the hidden eggs. There was hot coffee, hot chocolate and delicious cookies so parents and caregivers had a hot drink and a chance to get to know one another.

It was easy to plan and simple to do, but the results were worth so much. Neighbours connecting, sharing, showing support for their community, and having fun together! The success of this first event in Prosperity neighbourhood has encouraged neighbours to think about other events to share experiences and make their neighbourhood a better place to live. By registering their event with Festival of Neighbourhoods, Foxglove’s Easter Egg activity will now be entered into a draw for a chance to win a $20,000 Neighbourhood Improvement Grant. Why not let Festival of Neighbourhoods support you and your neighbours to hold an event? 
Bring your Neighbours together and let’s have fun!Julie, Rebecca, Andrea and Aleksandra
2016 FON Outreach Team

Comments:
You are Sunshine!

Way to go everyone- so glad to see such amazing things happening!

Devon

Hi Devon, thanks. Keep in touch and hopefully we can start more conversations how to bring arts-based activities into our neighbourhood engagement work! I am sure it would make a lot of difference. Aleksandra

Draw-A-Thon!

Hi Aleksandra, 

I was so excited to recently come across this art gallery event and of course it made me think of you!

Drawing together on such a large scale is a fn community-building activity.

Maybe I will see you there?

https://www.facebook.com/events/1097094967044773/