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OLD VERSION How to organize a Neighborhood block party

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A playbook on how to organize a summer block party "Meet your neighbors" party annually in your Saratoga neighborhood. This deck will be periodically updated, so please use the link to access the latest version of this deck
Hello Neighborhood Safety Captains,
Many of you have been chatting with me about running a neighborhood block party in your neighborhood
The How, What, Why, When etc
NOTE: If you already run an annual neighborhood block party, you can stop reading now

I decided to share this Block Party Playbook for all the neighborhoods that are considering running a block party this spring/ summer
It is very important to initiate these block parties for a variety of reason - every neighborhood should have it. The deck explains why!
The Neighborhood Captains can jointly run it, or you can solicit volunteers by posting an email on your neighborhood email group

The deck explains it all here
https://www.slideshare.net/rishi59/how-to-organize-a-neighborhood-block-party
Let me know if you have questions

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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OLD VERSION How to organize a Neighborhood block party

  1. 1. A simple guide to running a successful annual Neighborhood Block party by Councilmember Rishi Kumar, Saratoga Version May 15, 2017
  2. 2. Objectives of this deck • Provide Saratoga neighborhoods the various options and approach in running a “Neighborhood Block Party”/ “Meet your Neighbors party”
  3. 3. Why should my neighborhood run an annual block party? • An annual “Meet your Neighbors” block party connects neighbors, and makes the neighborhood safer. • Living in a neighborhood is more fun and joyful when you know your neighbors • Get integrated with the Neighborhood Watch program – in case you were left out • Bonus: Discover the super talents of your neighborhoods at the block parties
  4. 4. Who should lead this effort? • Neighborhood Safety Watch Leaders can collaborate in running this • Highly recommend finding a leadership from within the neighborhood to run this every year • You can engage a new leadership team every couple years, to create newness – Always announce the party on your neighborhood email group and request for volunteers, plan a brainstorming session with the volunteer team, to give it a new flavor every year • Important to have a planning meeting, and invite neighbors to join the “Leadership team”
  5. 5. When should we have our block party? • Spring or Summer is the best time – An outdoor block party works best • Best time to have these parties is between 4pm to 7pm on a Sunday – The neighborhood leaders can best decide what will work for the neighborhood • Many neighborhoods run their block party the weekend before schools get back in session i.e late August – You can check the school calendars here to decide when students get back to school and run it the weekend prior • NOTE: These parties will typically get 50% to 70% of the neighborhood attending; there is no perfect time for a 100% participation
  6. 6. How should I notify our neighborhood and collect RSVPs? • We recommend emailing your neighborhood email group about 3 months in advance with a “Block the Date” notice (see sample flyer in the next slide. Suggestion – keep your block party flyer *simple*) • Design a flyer, go door to door drop flyers and inform neighbors – See many more sample flyers at the end of this presentation, keep it simple – Drive the RSVPs to an online Google form – Engage Block Captains / neighbors to drop flyers on their own street/ zone • Post the information on the neighborhood website (optional) • Collect RSVPs via a Google Form online; two options – Option 1: Here is the template that you can copy and modify • www.tinyurl.com/PartyTemplate (Make sure you copy and then modify) – Option 2: Alternately, you can have your neighbors enter information in this spreadsheet for planning and head count purpose • www.tinyurl.com/BlockPartyPlan (Make sure you copy and then modify)
  7. 7. SAMPLE FLYER
  8. 8. Flyer: Invite new neighbors to join your neighborhod email group (Use the opportunity to add to your email group subscription and create awareness of neighborhood initiatives, run surveys, get feedback etc) YOU ARE INVITED JOIN OUR <NEIGHBORHOOD NAME> EMAIL GROUP Stay CONNECTED and stay INFORMED via email With what’s happening in YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD RECEIVE IMPORTANT INFORMATION DIRECTLY TO YOUR EMAIL INBOX You can subscribe at http://groups.google.com/group/<NAME> OR You can email <Email of email group moderator> to be subscribed into the Neighborhood email group FYI we have held a neighborhood meeting on <date> and launched a NEIGHBORHOOD SAFETY WATCH program This email group is part of this effort, towards a connected neighborhood Visit <URL for Your Neighborhood Safety Watch deck> Our Neighborhood website <URL>
  9. 9. How can I get help with the outreach?(Block Captains can get the outreach going quickly) • Engage the block captains in the outreach to their specific zone – Call a Block Captains meeting or make phone calls to individual block Captains requesting their help – Block captains can all pick up flyers from a central zone (like your porch) and drop flyers/ converse with neighbors of their own zone • Request the block captains to use this opportunity to build their zone directory and engage the rest of their zone into the Neighborhood safety watch program – Block captains can visit www.RishiKumar.com/nsw to download the block captain flyer for this purpose
  10. 10. How can our neighborhood block party committee avoid any liability issues? • You should include the terms and conditions to attend on the RSVP form – See the sample terms and conditions here – www.tinyurl.com/PartyTemplate  It is best to have everyone RSVP online so that they have seen the terms and conditions.  Additional layer of protection: Have the terms and conditions sheet printed out and at the registration table when folks sign-in, and explicitly stating that “if you sign-in, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions”
  11. 11. What is a typical agenda for the annual Neighborhood block party? NOTE: The first two below are very important • Meet the neighbors (MOST IMPORTANT COMPONENT) • Introduce the Neighborhood Safety Watch leadership team – Connect new neighbors to their Block Captain • Conversation over food (brunch, lunch, afternoon snacks, dinner – whatever works for the neighborhood) • Meet the Sheriff / Fire Marshall, introduce the neighborhood CERT leader (emergency preparedness leader) • Introduce neighborhood efforts such as Neighborhood Watch initiatives, • Kids games + Ice Breaker games for adults • Entertainment by neighbors NOTE: To keep it interesting, have a theme to the party, example A Neighborhood La Bamba Theme, with Mexican potluck food, pinata, perhaps
  12. 12. What would make it a more engaging block party? • To keep it interesting, have a theme to the party, example A Neighborhood La Bamba Theme, with Mexican potluck food, pinata, perhaps a husband-wife mariachi band playing, Mexican costumes, giving out prizes to the best dressed couple etc. • A new leadership team every few years will keep it fresh and the neighborhood engaged to show up • Engage the families with kids into this block party, by ensuring there is something for the kids (of all age groups) • Identify new leaders every year by inviting and having a large volunteer team • Get feedback from the neighbors
  13. 13. What are the items needed to run this Block Party? • Space/ Location • Paper plates • Tables (rectangular) • Round tables • Chairs • Kids Games • Ice Breaker games • Tent canopies (if your area is not protected from the sun) • Sound system (optional) • Name tags (Printed name tags with zone number works well • Registration / Sign-up sheets Items Needed
  14. 14. What are expenses like? • Some neighborhoods with 40 to 50 homes participating, can contain expenses to less than $100 • Tip – keep the per family fair share low i.e Keep it simple • Typical expenses include – Paper products – Ice – Games for kids – Decoration – Misc. food expense assuming you run a potluck • The remaining items from the previous slide can be found within the neighborhood (if possible avoid renting them, keep your expenses low)
  15. 15. What are my options with the location of this block party? • Option A – Cul de Sac within the neighborhood • Option B – Neighbor’s back yard • Option C – Nearby park or school or neighborhood club house NOTE: We recommend having your party within walking distance of your neighborhood, gets a decent turnout
  16. 16. Option A: Running it in a Cul De Sac What do I need? • You will need a permit from the city – Residents planning to host a block party should fill out a Special Event Permit application (above). The $100 fee and insurance requirement are waived for block parties. http://www.saratoga.ca.us/thingstodo/event_permits.asp –Two forms are needed: Fill the Special Event permit form and Block Party Signature form • See the previous slide on Items Needed • Important to have a lane open for emergency vehicles in case you are blocking the cul de sac • Alcoholic beverages are not permitted for an event that is permitted by the city of Saratoga
  17. 17. Option B : Running it in a neighbor’s backyard - What do I need? • See slide on Items Needed – No permit is needed – The host decides any specific restrictions – Host neighbor gets the help of the neighborhood to run this party in their back yard – Follow the RSVP process again and make sure the neighbor hosting is protected from any liability via the Terms and Conditions • NOTE: We have noticed that this model is a bit easier to execute, and logistics are less demanding. Getting a host annually every year is difficult, so you can rotate the party between the cul de sac and a neighbor’s backyard year to year
  18. 18. Option C : Running it off site at a park or school or your HOA club house • We recommend running the block party in the neighborhood • If you have a park or school in the middle of your neighborhood, that could be a possible location too • Consider booking the park or the school and playing it by the rules • Be good neighbors and leave the place better than you found it
  19. 19. What should I expect as accomplishments from this annual event? • Foster friendship amongst your neighborhood • New families get plugged-in with others/ neighborhood happenings • Important to rejuvenate the Neighborhood Safety Watch program of your neighborhood annually • Important to introduce the block captains to the neighborhood. Sometimes neighborhoods have name tags that identifies neighbors by their specific zone • Use this opportunity to explain (in brief) some of the neighborhood initiatives • Build pride in the community and the neighborhood
  20. 20. Grant money from the city • If you already registered your neighborhood Safety Watch program here you can apply for a city of Saratoga grant here • You can use funds towards the block party
  21. 21. VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure you host it every year • Yes – make it an annual tradition • And it should not be just an annual celebration, have smaller zone parties in each of your Neighborhood Safety Watch zone – the block captains should initiate that.
  22. 22. • AIVER AND RELEASE OF ALL CLAIMS Version – April 17 2017 ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙ FOR Attendance/ Volunteering/ Participation <Our Neighborhood Name> Neighborhood Block Party • Please read this form carefully and be aware that by attending/ volunteering/enrolling you/ your child in the above event you will be waiving and releasing certain claims • Our presence at the block party implies acceptance and agreement with below • ASSUMPTION OF RISKS ◙ ◙ In participating in the above event, I acknowledge hereby, of my own free will and without inducements, promises or statements other than those contained in this Agreement, I am solely responsible for any certain risks of physical injury; and I agree to assume the full risk of any nature, whatsoever for any death, any injuries, damages or loss of property, and the person and the property of others, which me / my child / my extended family may sustain as a result of attending/ volunteering/participating in any and all activities connected with or associated with such a program. • Waiver and Release OF ALL CLAIMS ◙ ◙ I for myself, or on behalf of my child and for my heirs, representatives, assigns, successors and administrators, hereby express release and agree to waive and relinquish all claims I or my child and extended family may have as a result of my attending/ volunteering/participating at this event, against <Our Neighborhood Name> Neighborhood Block Party Organizing Committee and neighbors of Block Party location , the party host and its officers, agents, servants and employees from any and all claims from injuries, damage or loss which may have or which accrue to me or my child on account of attending/ volunteering/participating in the program. • I also understand that food at this event is pot-luck, and the consumption of such food is based on my desire and inclination. I agree to waive and relinquish all claims I or my child and extended family may have, as a result of food issues during my attendance, participation or volunteering against <Our Neighborhood Name> Neighborhood Block Party Organizing Committee and the neighbors of Block Party location , the party host and its officers, agents, servants and employees from any and all claims from injuries, damage or loss which may have or which accrue to me or my child on account of participation in the program. • I further agree to indemnify and hold harmless and defend <Our Neighborhood Name>Neighborhood Block Party Organizing Committee and the neighbors of Block Party location , the party host and its officers, agents, servants and employees from any and all claims sustained by me or my child, arising out of, connected with, or in any way associated with the activities of the program. • Any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this contract, or a breach thereof, shall be determined by arbitration administered by the American Arbitration Association in accordance with its International Arbitration Rules. San Jose, CA will be the venue of resolution of all disputes. • Convenant Not to Sue: ◙ ◙ I agree never to institute any suit or action at law or otherwise against <Our Neighborhood Name> Neighborhood Block Party Organizing Committee and the neighbors of Block Party location , the party host and its officers, agents, servants and employees, or to assist in the persecution of any claim for damages or any cause of action which I may have by reason of injury to my person or any property, arising from the attendance/ volunteering/participation at this event. I further expressly agree that I will never raise any claim against <Our Neighborhood Name> Neighborhood Block Party Organizing Committee, the host and the neighbors of Block Party location , the party host and its officers, agents, servants and employees regardless of the nature of the injury or damage. I further agree that my heirs, executors, administrators, personal representatives and/or anyone else claiming on my behalf shall not institute any suit or action at law or otherwise against <Our Neighborhood Name> Neighborhood Block Party 2017 Organizing Committee and the neighbors of Block Party location , the party host and its officers, agents, servants and employees, not shall they initiate or assist in the prosecution of any claim for damage or cause of action. • I have read the terms and conditions towards my attendance/ volunteering/participation at the <Our Neighborhood Name> Neighborhood Block Party and am in absolute agreement. • My presence at the block party implies explicit acceptance and agreement

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