Tips for group activities
Community Activities and Tips
Neighborhood Watch Parties
There is nothing better than grabbing a blanket and some snacks and watching a movie, other than watching one with your neighbors. Community neighborhoods can host a weekly Movie Night where families can come together for some fun entertainment.
- Form a committee or simply do it on your own.
- Select a central neighborhood park with a wall or space to set up a screen to project movies.
- Pick movies everyone might like and are appropriate for their ages.
- Encourage people to bring their food, but have snack stations such as popcorn makers. Movie night can incorporate food trucks – hamburgers, hot dogs and ice cream trucks.
- Enjoy the movie together.
Food Truck Fridays
After a long week, why not give residents in your neighborhood and yourself a break? Forget about groceries, dishes and grab dinner together at a local park. Coordinate a group of local food trucks to come to you and provide dinner options for the entire family. The event is focused on food, fun, families and the opportunity to get to know your neighbors.
- One person can coordinate, or you can form a committee.
- Determine neighborhood park location and time.
- Select food trucks weekly and promote via Nextdoor, Facebook or in mailboxes.
- Invite community members.
- Enjoy food and the end of the week together.
Meet & Move Neighborhood Walking Tour
A group that walks together stays well together! What an excellent opportunity to take a pleasant stroll with the kids and other neighborhood families. In doing so, you might relieve stress, improve your health and become more familiar with the sights and scenes of your neighborhood. More importantly, you can come together to check in on each other.
- Select a regular date, time and location to meet.
- Invite others to join.
- Get your comfortable sneakers and strollers and get to walking and talking.
Football Watch/Themed Block Parties
Football, family and community can all score big wins. Whether high school, college or professional, plan a day to cheer on your favorite local teams with your neighborhood team. Block parties are always a good reason for everyone to get together and enjoy some good company, good times, and good food! At events like these, people can find commonalities and celebrate wins!
- Everyone wears the jersey of their team or event-themed attire (even if it isn’t the same) – there is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition.
- Create your favorite food and bring snacks to share.
- Have interactive games.
- Enjoy yourselves.
- Make it a point to cheer for your favorite teams and for your neighborhood children.
Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt
Hosting a neighborhood scavenger hunt is a great bonding exercise for the whole family and community. Looking for clues and discovering new things at every turn makes the search even more meaningful. Scavenger hunts bring neighbors together to work as a team to accomplish a goal while having fun.
- Form a committee to plan.
- Explore your community or a neighboring community.
- Make it culturally enriching and educational.
- Make it fun.
Tapas & Talks
Tapas and Talks blend foods and community conversations. People can come to share food and thoughts about the neighborhood and the changes they would like to see. It’s about creating a positive space to recognize families and individuals by celebrating various cultures, embracing different views and being inclusive of everyone.
- Make these monthly meet-ups.
- Determine location and time.
- Promote and communicate to community residents.
- Encourage people to bring cultural tapas reflective of their family, heritage and likes.
Connected Tapestry Bracelets
Always remember the people in your support network and recognize their value by making “Connected Tapestry Bracelets” that you created together and then can wear and give as gifts to every member. Every thread of color woven into the bracelet represents a person who positively contributed to you, your family and your children. When you wear it, you know you are not alone. When members of your COConnected communty wear theirs, it’s a reminder that they are valued. Through this form of arts and crafts, community members can make something that can serve as a powerful reminder of the importance of mutually beneficial relationships that we all need.
- Form a committee to determine the date and time of the event.
- Invite and communicate to community members.
- Gather threads and materials.
- Provide crafting stations or tables.
- Create, share stories and enjoy the gift-giving.
Wine & Whine Down Wednesdays
Every parent needs an opportunity to take a break. Weeks can be long, and days of multi-tasking and focusing on the needs of others can be draining. You may be tired of hearing children whine, yet feel you need a safe space to do the same. So plan to get together with a small group of friends, family or neighbors to enjoy a glass of wine, talk about your week and express your needs. You can help each other and create the pause you need to get through the rest of the week.
- Pick a location where no one has to do anything except bring or enjoy wine.
- Invite friends, family and neighbors.
- Bring your listening ears and encouraging words to share.
- Simply be there for each other and enjoy the break.
Tips for planning community events
7 to 9 months in advance
- Establish clear goals and objectives. Before starting on your event logistics, make sure you have a clear sense of what your organization is trying to achieve and what a successful event will entail. In outlining the goals and objectives, it also helps to also make a plan for evaluation.
- Establish lead organization & staff member(s). Outline event responsibilities and assign each to a specific individual or “point person”.
- Identify any event partners or sponsors. This may be time consuming if seeking specific types of partnerships.
- Make a budget. Determine the target expenses for venue, activity materials, childcare, food, and anything else that you need to include.
- Secure a venue. It’s best to secure the venue before attempting to plan other event details. In looking for the right venue, think carefully about transportation options (it should be accessible by bus, if possible), parking, and proximity to the target community. If possible, hold the event somewhere your target audience already frequents.
3 to 6 months in advance
- Plan the details of the event activities. Will you need presenters? Will there be a discussion? If so, who will lead it? Will you be hoping to screen a film? If so, ensure that you have the correct permissions. As you put together the activities for the event, think about your audience and include content that is truly relevant to them, as this will encourage attendance and engagement.
- Make a plan for childcare. Providing childcare is essential in encouraging participation from parents and caregivers in events. Some child care organizations specialize in event child care and will provide activities and supplies, but this option may be more expensive. It may be possible to find volunteers or work with a smaller childcare agency. Ask if local churches or other community organizations might be able to help. If utilizing a volunteer or a staff member, make sure that you provide all of the supplies, including activities suitable for kids of different ages.
- Make a plan for food. Another factor that encourages participation and lessens the burden for community members to attend is providing a free meal for all attendees. Though this can be costly depending on the size of the event, a couple of low-budget options include:
- Contact local restaurants and see if any are willing to provide food as an in-kind donation or at a discount.
- If hosting a smaller event, see if any volunteers will provide home-cooked food. Contact local grocery stores: all registered 501c3s are eligible for gift cards to many local grocery stores on a regular basis.
2 to 3 months in advance
- Test the registration system. If requiring attendees to sign up in advance, it is a good idea to set up and test the system you are using for registration.
- Start outreach. The optimal outreach methods will depend on the audience, but community organizations often report greater success in reaching out to community members in person whenever possible. Go to the places that are popular with your target audience to encourage them to attend (for example, if you are trying to engage young parents, go to a parenting class and see give a short presentation before class starts).
- Be prepared to answer questions. Remember that while you’re providing a service, you’re also asking for time and energy from community members in order to help address important issues. Make it worth their time by staying organized, listening intently, and honoring their knowledge and opinions.
- Finalize the schedule. With the venue, food, and childcare details secured, you can build a firmer event schedule. The schedule may include the following:
- Event begins; welcome guests as they arrive
- Short introduction
- Dinner is served
- Begin presentation while guests eat dinner
- End dinner/clean-up tables
- Begin discussion
- End discussion
- Event ends
1 month in advance
- Finalize all speakers, presentation and discussion content, event schedule, and location.
- Increase your outreach efforts as the event date gets closer.
- Prep your event evaluation survey to request feedback from attendees following the event.
Week of the event
- Review event registrations and provide a final attendee count for food and childcare, if needed.
- If using email or social media, send reminders to attendees.
- Double-check and confirm the details for food, childcare, venue, and presenters.
- Make sure all event materials are prepped and ready to do, including décor, tablecloths, name tags, etc.
- Make a plan for after the event.
- Will you email attendees to thank them for attending?
- Who will be collecting and logging the attendee evaluations?
- Is there other data that will need to be recorded?
Figuring out these details ahead of time helps to prevent a delay in important follow-up activities
Week after the event
- Send out follow-up feedback forms or surveys.
- Debrief with your team and partners on how you can make the process even smoother next time!
Tools for hosting group activities
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