On July 15, 2023, our neighbourhood enjoyed its second Block Watch party on a sunny day on a typically quiet road. There were 9 youths from around the area who planned and organized this event, which had more than 55 attendees.
Thanks to the Youth Neighbourhood Small Grant program, we were able to purchase food, prizes, and activity equipment for our party. These items enhanced this neighbourhood gathering by enabling us to bring neighbours together for a pleasant time while using this grant flexibly so it suits all the different people living in the neighbourhood. Children were able to meet other kids and become friends through our face-painting activity and games. Adults were able to meet new people through our icebreaker activity, which encourages them to interact with more people while having a chance to win a prize. Seniors had an opportunity to catch up with friends over food and have a delightful time.
Through this grant, all neighbours had a fun time, and the youth were given an amazing opportunity to contribute to our neighbourhood in this unique way.
I decided to apply for this grant for the second year because of how successful the event was last year. We hope to continue building new relationships while also maintaining current connections. This year, we had fresh activities and ideas that focused on continuing the neighbourly relationships established at last year’s party.
One of the new activities that we had at this Block Party was an Indigenous puzzle game. We set up a puzzle that creates a full image of a raven in the Haida art style, along with a description explaining what Haida art is. The neighbours had an opportunity to build the puzzle and listen to the description through our youth helpers. Introducing examples of Haida art was our way of spreading awareness of the various Indigenous art styles around Canada.
One difficulty that we encountered was that although there was sunny weather, it was quite windy, which blew papers away, slightly raised the canopy tents, and was an inconvenience. It took more time setting up activities, and the youth constantly had to pick up equipment that had blown onto the ground. Fortunately, we were able to restore the materials to their original positions, and it did not severely affect the party.
There were endless learning opportunities for the youth that came with organizing this party for the neighbourhood. For instance, budgeting, game organization, food brainstorming, and task distribution were all takeaways from this experience. In particular, we learned how to put ourselves into our neighbours’ points of view to plan activities that would be engaging for them. We had to consider which games would be most appealing to kids and depended on the younger youth for their opinions on whether the games were suitable for their age groups.
Overall, this was a fun summer event that helped strengthen relationships. It provided new neighbours with a chance to make new friends and feel more welcomed into our neighbourhood.