Why do neighbourhood organizations exist?

Submitted by Nastinia Bailey on June 18, 2013 - 6:37pm

I've been asking myself why I helped start a neighbourhood association. A fellow neighbourhood association chair in a nearby neighbourhood articulated a good reason that resonates with me...

He said that neighbourhood associations (NA) plan events that EVERYONE is invited to and all feel invited. This rarely, if ever, happens without a NA. It may be a very social neighbourhood with many BBQs and dinner invites and parties but rarely is everyone invited. Even if someone hosts a Halloween party, for example and says "Hey, everyone is invited. Come on over." Many people will not feel truly invited and welcome unless they know the person.

Yay! I found a good reason for NAs to exist! I still think it is time for me to resign as chair of the NA and let someone else step in who loves event planning.

Can you think of other unique roles that NAs play? (Non-political NAs.)


Its all about the kids

I agree Nina that inviting everyone is a key part of a NA.  Recently we have been working with the Social Planning Council in KW about creating an award for the festival of neighbourhoods.  One thing thay emphasized was the importance of everyone being invited for the event to count towards our award.

I have also foudn that NA play an important role in terms of kids programming.  There are a couple in Guelph that form summer camps for the local kids or winter festivals.  This would not be possible without the backbone support of the local NA.

Nina does your NA do camps like this?

Good question!

Hi Nina,

Thanks for sharing this with all of us. I agree with what your friend has said about having events where anyone and everyone can join.

I think it is up to us, as individual neighbours/households, to take the initiative to meet each other and build a relationship on our own terms. Being newly married, my husband and I have done this in the last 10 months of living in our home. It's been so neat! That said, I think the Neighbourhood associations act as a connecting catalyst and as a resource to spring board folks into connecting more than monthly (or yearly) at an event. Admittedly, we haven't connected with our neighbourhood association as there has been a lot of transition in our life in the last 10 months- BUT, I know they are active and exist- I see signs posted listing BBQs, go carting, Easter Eggs hunts and it makes me happy. I'm happy because I know there is a group of people in my large neighbourhood who are taking care of us- providing ways for us to come together. Though we haven't attended any of these events yet- just knowing this is comforting; it makes me love my neighbourhood that much more. (just imagine if we went to those events- ha- we're getting there... :) )