#LIFEONCURFEW 2Nd ANNUAL CHICKEN WING COOK-OFF (AND WHY IT MATTERS FOR YOUR STREET)

We live on a great street. A street where neighbours are friends and friends are neighbours. A street where we have built in traditions like an Australia Day BBQ, Bacon in July, Octoberfest and this, the Golden Wing; but where we don't need traditions to get together because plenty of arvos each week our kids are out playing while we adults talk and share an arvo beverage.

This sort of community doesn't just happen overnight. But it is worth building; and once it's establised it has its own gravitational pull. One of the new residents on our street is our postie. His family bought in this year, in part, because of the community vibe they sensed (aided by the bottle openers screwed to the power poles which apparently get spoken of in the post office). He said the agent who sold the house used this community as part of the pitch. This is real street value.

Our kids love having older kids who accept them and hanging out with our 'street friends'... it really does take a village to raise a child and if our young'uns benefit, the older kids benefit even more. One of my neighbours with a teenager said it takes the pressure off when it comes to weird social dynamics that form in peer groups at school if you've always got friends to come home to.

Our hosts tonight are models of generous hospitality and I'd put most of this community thing down to their efforts years ago. But getting this sort of thing happening on your street is possible.

So here are some thoughts about what you can do if you want life on your street to look like #lifeoncurfew.

1. Get to know your neighbours.

This might sound beyond you if you don't speak to each other already, but why not start by trying to kick off an annual event...

2. Create a way to keep in touch

Our street has a Facebook group, it helps us organise events (and vote for winning wings), coordinate meals when people are sick, arrange pet minding and bin duty when people are on holidays, and serves as a modern version of Neighbourhood Watch when things go wrong (and they do). This, alone, is a good reason to create such a thing and invite your neighbours to join, but like the first point it lends itself to the next...

3. Build some traditions

We do birthdays, random hang outs and spontaneous working bees, but these bigger events are a good way for new people to dip their toes in because they tend to have a more visible presence and we normally letter box drop to invite people along. They become part of the rhythm of life together and build community through the stories and memories they create.

"Love your neighbour" — Jesus (he was a pretty influential guy who maybe knew some stuff).

Here's a post I wrote a while back on my blog with some more info about how #lifeoncurfew unfolded, and more about why you should do this with your neighbours. It'll be good for you.

Our weird modern individualism leaves us shut in, buffered away in our little castles, where we're hypnotised by big screens, binge watching streamed shows that our friends aren't necessarily watching... and that makes us feel isolated and lonely. Maybe you need to get out more and maybe that starts with opening your front door.

Created By
Nathan Campbell
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