Thursday, July 26, 2007

Focus People, Focus!

I was selected to sit on a panel for a focus group last night. It was a lot of fun! It’s nice to get out of the house and have a conversation with a great group of people. Getting paid for my thoughts was really nice also. There is usually a really strong personality in a focus group, which inevitably dominates the conversation and tends to annoy the entire panel, including the moderator (who happened to be from Reston, VA). I’m happy to say that there wasn’t a one in the group.

Everyone was in a varied stage of life and came from very different backgrounds. We got to share the things that we really like about our communities and things that make us unhappy and that we would like to see change. I'm sure the purpose was to determine if we need more highways, rec centers and parks, but it made me reflect upon the things that I enjoy about my new neighborhood (and UT in general) and the things that I, myself, can help to improve and change. I don’t want to sound like my neighborhood is the end-all-be-all, because no neighborhood is perfect (although, the guy from Utah County seemed to think his was), but there are things that each of us can help to do.

There was a girl there who was so nice and was a young mom of young kids. She had recently moved, but said that she had felt a lot of pressure to “conform” to her LDS neighbors and felt like if she didn’t take the missionary discussions and join the church that she would be “outcast” by the other moms in the neighborhood.

One thing that my neighbor Julie did that so impressed me was to have a neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt. She put fliers on everyone’s door on our block which gave the instructions, time, date and place. Each child participating in the “hunt” was to bring 12 filled plastic eggs. Then each family that was attending brought 1$. They collected the eggs the day before and then hid them on their street in the front yards of all the houses. Each child then collected 12 eggs. The big kids hunted on one side of the street and the little kids on the other. They also had “golden” eggs hidden for bigger prizes. Following the hunt, we gathered around and visited over juice and donuts. Isn’t that great? We got to know some Vietnamese neighbors of ours as well as some people that we rarely see outside. It was just so impressive that one person took the initiative to bring the neighbors together! We’re having a neighborhood summer party this weekend, which should be fun as well. Good times.

Do you do fun things in your neighborhood to include all your neighbors? Let's share some ideas, shall we?


Onthego Family said...

Every Friday night in the spring we have a party on our street or the one behind us. Someone made a "The Party's Here!" sign and the family hosting sticks it in their front yard at the start of the week. Then one of the guests grabs it on the way out Friday night in prep for the following week's party.

The parties are open to everyone. They're always outside so we don't have to worry about kids tearing things up. It's Bring Your Own Drink and a dessert to share. Most people bring camp chairs so they can sit around and chat.

HRT said...

We have two summer block parties - one at the beginning of the summer. We block off the street and have a bike/wagon parade. Everyone brings their own meat and a side dish to share. This year we organized a bit more and with the invites asked people to bring either a salad, chips, or dessert. We are planning another party this Fall and it will be a neighborhood campout where we will all put tents on our lawns and sleep outside. We'll see how that works!

At Christmas we do another block party. Whoever is the host/hostess designates the charity. You are supposed to bring a plate of cookies to share, and then buy enough toys or bring the money you would spend on neighbor goody plates to donate to charity. That way everyone gets cookies without them being delivered to your door daily, plus we do some good for the area. It works out really well.

laurenthequeen said...

We get crusty looks from our neighbors, so there's not alot of socializing here.

mothergoose said...

We don't have any neighborhood parties here yet, these all sound like so much fun. I should do one of these..