Thank you for the opportunity to gather our neighbours together!
With a September storm looming, we gathered approximately 60 neighbours for a neighbourhood block party in central Courtenay. The idea was hatched between our family and our neighbour, James, who works with Lush Valley/owns The Farmer’s Kitchen food truck. The hope was that we could gather neighbours for an afternoon of connection, delicious snacks, cold & warm drinks, art, and music. It all came together beautifully!
My kids and I delivered invites door-to-door around 6 blocks and posted flyers on telephone poles in the neighbourhood, suggesting people RSVP if they knew they would like to attend. Throughout the two weeks leading up, I had some neighbours call and let me know they were planning to join, which made planning easier, but we also made extras for lots of day-of drop-ins, and I’m glad we did.
One neighbour volunteered to make desserts, others volunteered supplies like rain tents, chairs, and tablecloths. We had a talented neighbour set up his keyboard and play incredible live music, and a friend of ours set up an art station to keep kids and adults alike busy painting treasures to put up around the block. It was not at all necessary, but some neighbours chose to also bring garden bounty to share – grapes, figs, apples. A couple of young neighbours handed out lemonade.
We had neighbours who had lived here for 25+ years, one who was moving in next week, and everything in between. We learned about how the neighbourhood has evolved and what has attracted newcomers to the block. Names tags were very helpful in personalizing interactions and helping us learn the names of those around us!
I was nervous about putting the idea out as I wasn’t sure how it would be received, but everyone I talked to leading up to it was positive, so that was encouraging. I learned that there is a community appetite for this kind of gathering, and people appreciated the invite and opportunity to get together. I believe strongly in the power of community, connection and knowing there are people around to help if you need it. This felt like a great way to introduce neighbours who were new, reinforce the connection between those who have known each other for decades, and remind all of us that it’s worthwhile to step out of our comfort zones and connect with intention.