Community during Social Distancing (Read about Day 11 and inspiration for this post)
What is community? According to the American Public Health Association in an article reviewing the importance of community to public health defined community as: “A common definition of community emerged as a group of people with diverse characteristics who are linked by social ties, share common perspectives, and engage in joint action in geographical locations or settings.” (Am J Public Health. 2001 December; 91(12): 1929–1938)
During the COVID19 pandemic, a sense of community and social interaction based on shared common perspective is challenging. As someone who normally has quite a negative attitude towards screens and their impact on face to face social interaction and personal connection, I am now more glad than ever that we have the ability to connect over screens in our community of friends by having drinks together or watching a movie at the same time or even working out together over zoom. My family lives abroad so being able to connect with them all together but separately is precious to me.
But it's still not enough for me, it doesn't satisfy my need for connection. We are all forced to be at home now living in our neighborhoods. I want to see people in my neighborhood connecting for a shared cause while keeping distance and staying safe. I want to see us become a community.
A Community is about the people. People form and maintain communities to meet common needs. It is both a feeling and a set of relationships among people.
Trust- it is a sense of belonging, safety and caring, where together they may influence the environment in which they live.
The feeling of community manifests through shared experiences or shared history.
“Neighborhoods, companies, schools, and places of faith are context and environments for these communities, but they are not communities themselves.” (Chavis and Lee, What is community anyway?, 2015)
I am here to offer a community building challenge and win a free BLOCK PARTY brought to you by Play Adventures(when the pandemic is over)!
Today my kids and I began to make a hopscotch. We made it with 55 jumps. But later in the afternoon we felt it wasn’t enough and we made more obstacles. They are written on our sidewalk with pictures and instructions (Man, I hope it doesn't rain!). We asked neighbors passing by to also create sidewalk obstacles out of chalk, so eventually our four- five block radius we call neighborhood, will connect obstacles. Right now due to the virus, the neighborhood kids can not do it together but we can definitely all work on our own and all do the course at some point during the day without coming into close contact. We can still create a community based on a shared interest.
Our common interest is keeping our kids physically active, keeping our kids engaged in a time of stress and insecurity, a togetherness and a shared project.
My challenge to you is to rally your neighborhood and create a sidewalk obstacle course. You can leave notes, signs (and chalk) around your neighborhood streets or just see if they will join in on their own (minimal effort). Your kids can think of the ideas. Mine thought of: jumping, spinning, jumping jacks, long jump, stop to smell the flowers, resting, acting like a monkey, leapfrog and much more.
To win the free block party my kids and I will judge the videos sent to us (maybe come to your block so they can try it out and then determine who should win the contest! Winner will be announced April 15th (to make sure you can order chalk and recieve it if you dont have any)!!!!!!
Rules of #SidewalkCommunityChallenge:
Rule 1 Have Fun
Rule 2 Keep you distance and stay safe
Rule 3 Draw an obstacle course on your sidewalk
Rule 4 Get others to continue on their sidewalks in your neighborhood
Rule 5 Connect the sidewalk obstacles
Rule 6 Let the kids try it (at different times to keep social distancing practice)
Rule 7 Video tape it! Post on PlayAdventures Facebook Page with the #sidewalkcommunitychallenge
Whomever has the biggest most elaborate obstacle course will win a free block party brought to you by Play Adventures after the pandemic is over!
Contact Naomi for questions at www.PlayAdventures.org