Neighbor Day is dedicated to strengthening local communities
September 22, 2015
After years of telling our kids not to talk to strangers, maybe it’s time to send a different message. Instead of walking to and from school, eyes down, to avoid random contact, wouldn’t it be nice to see them waving and smiling at familiar faces in the neighborhood?
This Saturday, Sept. 26th, is the first of what some hope will become an annual event: Park City Neighbor Day. The intent is to encourage residents throughout Summit County to get out and mingle with people on their streets, in their condo complexes and around the corner. Already various neighborhoods are planning picnics, group hikes and outdoor games. One group is planning a roadside litter cleanup followed by dinner and another is planning to show an outdoor movie.
Sounds like fun doesn’t it?
This year’s Park City Leadership Class is leading the effort which is tagged: Connecting and Strengthening Park City — One Neighbor at a Time.
Those who remember when families didn’t stray far from the ‘old neighborhood,’ might wonder why it’s necessary to encourage people to meet the family next door. In their day, you not only knew the couple across the street, you knew their parents and their parents’ parents. And when a new family arrived on the block they could expect a visit from the Welcome Wagon — manifested by a round of visitors bearing plates of food and earfuls of gossip.
But times have changed, especially in Park City where natives are few and far between and most residents are relative newcomers. With subdivisions sprouting up in former pastures around the Basin and real estate changing hands at a rapid pace in Park City, there is a good chance that many residents don’t even know who lives next door.
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Leadership Class members want to rectify that situation by asking everyone to pledge to meet three new neighbors on Saturday. They have also set up a website where participants can invite surrounding residents to special Neighbor Day activities, take the Neighbor Day Pledge and share informal surveys about the people they meet.
The benefits of knowing our neighbors are obvious — companionship, support and safety. Those are the bonds that previous generations nurtured as they mingled at smaller local schools and churches, the corner grocery store and post office. But these days our kids attend regional schools and email has replaced trips to the post office.
We need to revive the Welcome Wagon tradition and take a stroll around the block. This Saturday tell your children to make a special exception to the rule — that it’s OK to talk to strangers. And be sure to take your own advice, too.
For more information about activities around the county on Saturday, log on to pcneighborday.org.