There are definite advantages to knowing your neighbors. For example, what if you're baking a recipe and run short on sugar? Where will you turn to borrow a cup? Kidding aside, it's beneficial for the safety of our homes and children that neighbors look out for one another. It's helpful if neighbors can spot a stranger on the street, and especially if one is lurking near your home. Children need to know where they can turn in an emergency and the difference between a friendly neighbor and a stranger. A concerned community helps to create a sense of well being and safety for all.
With the hectic lifestyle most of us lead, it's much harder to get to know our neighbors than it used to be. Between rushing to our jobs, racing to drop the kids at daycare, running off with them to soccer practice, etc., it is hard to find time to connect with and get to know our neighbors. That's why Watertown organizes and promotes block parties each year. Block parties provide the opportunity for neighbors to socialize at least once a year. Even if you don't become best friends with your neighbors, it is beneficial for the safety of your neighborhood to know your neighbors when you see them. This is an opportunity for young and old to interact positively, and it also lets your neighborhood to build a “safety net” within your neighborhood.
Successful Block Parties are cooperative efforts. Not only is it too much work for one family, but the simple act of many families contributing to the event helps build the feeling of community.
Block parties are appropriate for all ages and part of the fun is providing the opportunity for children of different ages interact. The key is to have a wide range of activities...some activities that are fun for young children, some that are fun for older children, and some that bridge the gap and can be enjoyed by all children and even adults. We challenge you to encourage youth to attend the parties and to help plan your party. We also challenge you to get organizations and/or businesses involved too – whether its an assisted living center, nursing home and/or a business that is located in your neighborhood (maybe they could provide prizes???).
Front yards, driveways, sidewalks and garages are logical locations. You can even block the street and actually use the street for the party location (kids love being able to play in the street for a day!). Return the Street Closure Form to the police department or contact the police department at 882-6210 for more information.
For ease of planning your block party we have developed a Block Party packet. This includes BLOCK PARTY GUIDELINES; an INVITATION for you to download and use; a CHECKLIST for a successful party; a STREET CLOSURE FORM to return to the police department; a REGISTRATION FORM to register your block party (in order to be eligible for a prize drawing); a BLOCK PARTY EVALUATION; and ACTIVITY IDEAS for your block party.
After the party, have all of your neighbors fill out a BLOCK PARTY QUESTIONNAIRE so that everyone has a chance to give input and help plan the next block party.