Community Association Month

March is Community Association Month

March is a time for the snow to finally melt and spring to bloom, but it’s also Community Association Month! Proclaimed by Calgary’s mayor Naheed Nenshi, every March we celebrate all the wonderful things community associations across the city have done for their neighbourhoods.

Community Associations are completely volunteer-based and rely on neighbours like yourself to pitch in and help out when they can! Collectively, community associations make up some of the largest collective volunteer movements, continuing to expand as awareness increases.

What is a Community Association?

Community Associations are not-for-profit organizations that are created and facilitated by people who live around you who want to make a positive impact in the environment that they dwell in. Their general mission is to improve neighbourhood life in a particular region. Sometimes a community association will represent multiple neighbourhoods and cover a larger vast region, while others will consist of a smaller residential area.

These associations are in charge of organizing activities, providing local services and programs and generally encouraging discussion and engagement among inhabitants living in the same area.

What kind of programs and activities do communities generally facilitate?

All community associations are different and may value certain agendas more than others. But the main focus of all community associations remains the same: Enhance the livelihood of fellow neighbours and give a voice to the community. Ways to achieve this mission often include the organization of recreational activities as well as educational programs.

This includes:

  • Outdoor skating rinks

  • Providing information to residents through a newsletter and/or online presence and acting as a unified voice on issues affecting the community.

  • Undertaking neighbourhood improvement initiatives such as spring clean-ups, community beautification, tree planting, playground development and more.

  • Youth programs

  • Seniors programs

  • Cultivating community gardens

  • Facilitating committees of planning development and safety meetings

  • Encouraging community pride by organizing communal parties like BBQs and neighbourhood street festivals

There’s truly so much to benefit from being involved in your local community association. Participating in these local collectives can enhance your life in a way that provides you with endless opportunities that are literally in your backyard!

What are the benefits of being part of a community association?

Have a voice in your community

Along with the fun recreational activities, community associations also cover some serious business. They are at the frontlines of social, cultural and environmental issues and aim to address these concerns through collective discourse done at local meetings. They actively listen and respond to the needs of fellow residents by creating initiatives that concentrate on neighbourhood improvement and plan activities and programs to support citizens affected by these issues.

When you are part of a community association, you are given a platform to have your own concerns addressed and give input to how your community can productively make a positive impact. The more people that participate in these discussions, the more diversity there is in ideas and solutions.

Feel as if you’re part of a big family

A large part of the work that community associations do is promoting civic inclusion and a shared sense of community among your peers. If you’ve ever volunteered before you know that satisfied feeling of being part of a group or team who’s values align with yours. Participating in an association that cares about bettering the lives of local citizens includes a lot of collective building strategies and involves a lot of teamwork! It takes many hands to make light work and by joining a community association you are granted the benefits of learning new cooperative strategies and lessons in team building.

They can be a lot fun!

While a large component of the work that community association volunteers do includes addressing community concerns and issues, there’s lots about neighbourhood improvement that involves fun for all! Meeting the needs of your residential area often means the organization of recreational activities to perpetuate positivity. How exactly does forming a neighbourhood baseball team make a positive impact on your peer’s daily lives? Well, communal activities like sports teams are especially important for children as it teaches them fundamental skills like cooperation, focus, coordination and can keep them out of trouble and in school.

Community gardens are a fantastic way to teach both adults and children about sustainability and eating local. These fun activities foster growth in the community and by bringing residents together, it builds trust and removes social barriers.

A more interactive and engaged neighbourhood is a safer neighbourhood.

At Blocktalk, we recognize that when residents communicate and interact with one another it brings everyone closer and there are less crimes likely to occur. This is because when we tell each other of safety concerns we may have and keep watch of suspicious signs of crime, we are taking preventative measures to collectively avoid dangerous situations in the residential area. When criminals are aware that the neighbourhood is watching and working together to counter these acts, they are more likely to stay away in fear of getting caught.

Community associations are often responsible for encouraging the practice and procedure of how to act fast in emergency situations and starting up neighbourhood watch programs. When someone goes missing, it can be a crucial factor to have everyone living around you keep their eyes open for any trace of the missing person. You can never be too cautious when it comes to safety and by holding discussions related to this you’ll always be one step ahead of danger.

While it may be a month to celebrate community associations, it’s just another month for Block Talk as we embrace the philosophy of community associations all year round! The Block Talk app specializes in working hand in hand with community associations by allowing users to post announcements on behalf of the association to keep the neighbourhood in the loop. Looking to recruit youth for a youth group? Post about it in the community section. Make a schedule of community meetings public by communicating with the app so users can receive alerts of upcoming dates. Notice anything particularly suspicious at a nearby park? First tell the police then let others know by posting a report as an emergency/non-urgent safety alert! A community association can collect this information to address issues and create solutions for improvement of the area.

A lot of great work gets done thanks to these volunteers and information on your local community association is usually very accessible, so try searching online for details. If you’ve got the spare time to do so, consider joining and reap the benefits of uplifting your community and truly making a difference for folks that live just down your block!



 

Connor Brown