If your community has become one of those sleepy little towns you’ve read about with little to no interaction between residents, it might be time to ignite passion in your neighborhood by engaging residents in community activities.

Your community is not the first to suffer from a case of the small town blues. To revitalize a community, residents and businesses must actively engage in planned events and work hard to turn inactivity into energetic synergy.But, where do communities begin?

Start by determining the cause of your community’s apathy. Is there a lack of leadership willing to initiate activities or are the do’ers burnt out? Is your community floundering due to a changing economy, lack of educational opportunities and limited employment options?

Whatever the challenges, every community has concerns and hobbies they share in common.Raising families, caring for aging relatives, cooking, gardening, decorating, caring for pets and earning and saving money are interests neighbors commonly share.Finding a way to cash in on shared interests can be the catalyst for change in your neighborhood.

Take the lead and develop a community events group with the goal of energizing and uniting your community.Encourage members to believe in their ability to develop plans and make changes.To retain time-challenged members, make it convenient to corroborate on projects online as well as in person and show appreciation for their efforts.

Communities hard hit by economic changes and job loss may be encouraged to interact by focusing on events where residents earn supplemental income, develop skills, market their talents and connect with community resources.Look to other communities’ successes and ideas for linking neighbor-to-neighbor by hosting fun and entertaining community events.
Ice cream socials are a fun way to meet your neighbors while raising funds for local causes such as veteran housing, local food banks, school supplies, home-delivered meals for shut-ins and community improvement funds.Offer simple yard games with prizes, neighborhood clowns, colorful signage, bottled water, lemonade, balloons, t-shirts and, of course, ice cream with all the toppings to attract support for your local cause.

Hosted community swap nights teach neighbors to support each other locally by gathering to buy, sell, swap and barter for needed goods and services while decluttering their homes.Ideas for swap items include furniture, car parts, appliances, household goods, elder care services, pet grooming, ride-share opportunities, music CDs and DVDs, toys, clothing, sporting goods, tools and more.

Annual pumpkin carving contests offer crafters, local businesses and community centers a venue for earning extra income while celebrating the talents of local youngsters and adults alike.Age categories might include seniors to toddlers with residents voting by ballot for their favorite carvings in each age group. Prizes for the best pumpkin are announced with pumpkins and winner’s names put on the community display.

Pet owners love their dogs.Celebrate the love in your neighborhood by hosting an event similar to Nashville’s Dog Day Festival. The festival includes a 5K run or walks complete with puppy parades, portraits, pet adoptions, Fido-related arts and crafts, obedience classes, pet fun zones and obstacle courses. Contests are held for the cutest and most talented pooch with experts available to answer questions related to dog training, nutrition, grooming and first aid.Funds raised may be donated to local causes and charities of your choice.

These fun ideas are easy to pull off and will create a buzz in your neighborhood while offering opportunities for neighbors to interact and work together towards community goals.More importantly, residents will begin to feel they are part of a community that cares and, in turn, will start caring for their community.