The Great Neighborhood Initiative

These are the basics; accomplish these steps and you’ll see a difference. Here are some more advanced ideas:

1. Organize a neighborhood Walk Night. Give everyone name tags to wear!

2. Do you Facebook? Start a method for easy communication.

3. Invite a neighbor to your next family activity–even a trip to the local ice cream shop.

4. Host progressive mini-golf. Have each resident design one hole in their front yard, and invite neighbors to play each hole and keep score. Make a homemade award for the winner, and take a picture of each hole for the homeowner.

5. Start a holiday tradition by asking everyone to make a version of a snowman or another decoration for their yard, although it doesn’t need to be made of snow. Soon your group will be known as that cool neighborhood that decorates with snowmen every year!

6. Host a neighborhood party in your front yard, and ask everyone to chip in for a bounce house!

Just remember that 80 percent of the success of a great place is how it is managed after a project is finished. Disneyland would not be the popular place it is today if Disney hadn’t gone to great lengths to maintain it. The same will be true in a great neighborhood. The project will never be complete, but the rewards will be great.

David Coleman is a recreation supervisor for the city of Victorville, Calif., and the co-founder of The Science of Training. He can be reached via e-mail at

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