There are plenty of stories about HOAs and PMCs who are fighting with residents about everything from flags to house paint colors, ornamental turtles in the front yard, fences … the list of skirmishes is endless. But at FRONTSTEPS, we’re are focusing on building more productive conversations. When we saw the great story about Cedar Creek Homeowners Association, we just had to highlight it.
This past weekend, 45 of their residents residents got together to pick up trash along a stretch of nearby highway that was littered with cans, bottles, cigarette butts, even a few tires. They wore bright orange reflective vests and spent their day improving their neighborhood and getting to know one another. Bravo!!
Here are a few other ideas that associations can do to build camaraderie among one another and ultimately make their neighborhood a more desirable place to live.
Charity donation: Choose a local charity and collect items and/or money for the group. Put the collection box in an area that everyone sees (near the mailboxes or pool entrance) and of course, educate residents about the charity, who it benefits and what kind of donations they need.
Plant a community garden: Arrange for a place where neighbors can plant veggies and flowers together. Include a work area for cutting flowers which can also double as a mini farmers market.
Honor and celebrate: Invite the neighbors out and celebrate graduates – grade school, high school, college, even the little tiny kiddos who have ‘graduated’ from kinder deserve some recognition. For older kids, it’s a chance to meet neighbors who may have summer jobs or internships available.
Sweat equity: Check on elderly or homebound neighbors and find out if there are any small construction or landscape projects they need help tackling. Put a call out to residents and host a ‘barn-raising’ type day. Kids can make lemonade and adults can trim trees or pull weeds, clean gutters, and pitch in on the more involved projects.
Seating: Set up benches, porch swings, table and chair suites, and brightly colored Adirondack and you’ll notice more and more people using them for mini gatherings!
Cedar Creek folks plan on collecting trash again. We're so impressed -- and while these events might not solve all of the issues that arise in community situations, it might help foster connections on a personal level. During the next sweat equity event, you might meet that young wife who proudly flies her American flag year round, even though the rules say differently, and you may learn about her deployed husband ... and then you might just re-think that violation.