The pitfalls of organization (conclusion of a two-part series)

June 21, 2007 · Posted in Delmarva items 

Last week I posted about how I’d gotten to the point I arrived at tonight, the first meeting of my still-unnamed neighborhood organization. Tonight was the big night, and I was looking forward to seeing how many of my neighbors would heed the call. I anticipated three, maybe four. And I got one.

I suppose I shouldn’t be too disappointed; after all, I’ve always found that people make and break commitments quite easily when life gets in the way. But I have to hand it to the one lady who came, she put off attending a 40th birthday party just to see what this was about – and I certainly thank her for that!

So instead of a formal meeting, it was more of an impromptu discussion. I introduced myself, gave her a bit of background on why I decided to do this, and we discussed some of the issues that we share insofar as problems in the neighborhood. We actually agreed on three of them: the possible influx of rentals, street lighting, and crime. She also had concerns about cars speeding down her street and making the area more bicycle-friendly as she and her husband are fairly avid riders (the bike rack on her car let me know too.) For my end, I’d like to see a small playground placed on one of the “paper streets” in our neighborhood, but the two aren’t dissimilar aims.

So where do I go from here? Well, I ain’t giving up. There were two other people who I know were interested but were away this week, and I like to think that I’ve doubled the number of concerned people tonight since I met someone else who’s equally troubled about potential problems in the area. In about 45 days I’ll try, try again. (It’ll likely be quarterly once we get established though.) One goal I do have is to find an actual quasi-public meeting place rather than my house. I’ll also see about a bit more advertising. But even if a few people bring a neighbor, that begins to grow the group. If my two or three no-shows come next time, I’ve doubled the group. If they each bring a neighbor the next time, we’re getting into double digits.

Something else I need to check into is whether there’s an active Block Watch-style group in the neighborhood. I see a few signs about that allude to neighbors watching neighbors but I don’t think we’re organized in that way. I guess this will give me something else to do, unless one of readers knows how to find out. They can get back to me since my e-mail’s here for all to see.

I suppose this would qualify more as a whimper than a bang, but every organization starts someplace. As I noted, tonight I doubled the number of people who want to get involved in this locally and we have nowhere to go but up.


4 Responses to “The pitfalls of organization (conclusion of a two-part series)”

  1. myndful on June 22nd, 2007 6:30 am

    If there’s a Neighborhood Watch, the police will have the records. They should be able to let you know if there is one, and possibly the person who heads it up – although they might have to contact that person and let them know you’re interested – I think there are some privacy issues at work in NW groups.

  2. Tim Chaney on June 22nd, 2007 8:42 am

    Apathy plagues our neighborhood watch group also Michael. Whether they just don’t want to get involved or fear retaliation it’s hard to say. However just getting it started has increased police patrol for now anyway, and the county Narc/Task force did make a small bust during a street level sale. We do have 6 people in our group however I think the population is probably more dense. Who knows, if we can make it so people aren’t afraid to come out of their house, attendance may pick up, I can only hope.

  3. myndful on June 22nd, 2007 6:37 pm

    Don’t forget that busy-ness is a factor as well. I was much more neighborhood-active when I worked in a restaurant. Now that I’m in an office environment, working more hours per day, I’ve found that my day seems a lot shorter. Add a family into that equation (homework, dinner, school events, etc…)and you’ve got one heck of a schedule.

    Many people who would like to be involved in a neighborhood organization simply don’t have the time to organize one.

  4. Tim Chaney on June 22nd, 2007 9:15 pm

    I’m single and no kids working one job, I don’t know how people with kids and working two jobs have time for anything. I’m sure we can gain a few more in our group, it takes results and that might have already started.

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