The following post originally appeared in May 2010. With Summer just around the corner, and many of us making plans for the warmers months, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the concept of getting our kids involved in our local communities. The comments are open for discussion. – Kara
We live in a computer age, and for some aspects of that I am thankful. I feel lucky to be able to contribute as a member of the blogging communities, message forums, and email loops I am a part of. I enjoy connecting with other parents through Facebook and Twitter. But what about my local community?
Am I being as involved with my physical neighbors as my virtual ones? I hope so.
If your climate is like mine, the warmer weather and increased free-time in the summer months make unplugging from the computer and being more active in our neighborhood communities possible. The joke in my rural Indiana neighborhood is that as the snow melts we can all remember what our neighbors look like again without all those hats and scarves and giant parkas.
My kids and I already have plans for being active in our local community this summer, including:
- Visiting the weekly Farmer’s Market
- Enrolling in the library’s Summer reading program
- Taking swim lessons
- Participating in our neighborhood yard sale
- The Great American Backyard Camp Out
But I’ve been feeling convicted to do more this summer. I’ve been pondering what it means to be a good local citizen and how to get my kids involved.
This quote in Megan’s article on Simple Mom has inspired me:
“If your children are old enough, talk with them about what they see as a problem or issue in your community which doesn’t seem to receive much attention. Investigate the road blocks on the path to a solution, and if possible, begin the process of solving the problem.” - 10 Ideas to Inspire Community Connections This Summer
I want to teach my kids about being part of the solution and what it means to be a responsible, caring citizen. So, I’ve been brainstorming how we can act locally to care for our community.
Here are a few ideas that I’ve come up with:
- A Block Party – our street used to have one but no one wants to take on the responsibility for putting it together anymore. My husband and I are fairly good at organizing events and the kids and I certainly aren’t short on enthusiasm. This is a need we could fill and the party wouldn’t have to be elaborate to be fun and help our neighbors get to know each other.
- Supporting Local Animal Rescue – our rural community is, unfortunately, a dumping ground for stray dogs and cats. Our local animal rescue is a small privately run organization that relies on volunteers and donations to take care of the animals they take in. The kids and I could contact them to see what they need and ask them how we can best serve them.
- Keeping It Clean – remembering to take a garbage bag along on our walks so we can pick up any trash we see. Also, making sure to clean up after ourselves and encouraging our others to do the same. If we all work together, we can keep our neighborhood beautiful.
So, Let’s Talk:
How will you be encouraging your kids to get involved in your local community this summer? What opportunities will you be looking for to demonstrate good citizenship? Or just being neighborly? How will you and your kids be making connections this Summer?
The comments are open for discussion. I’m looking forward to reading your ideas for getting your kids in involved in your local communities.