Kim is a great friend of mine, and recently her and her son Auden (5) arranged a Play Streets: closing the road for an afternoon for a big group play. They initiated and carried out the project together and Auden’s been involved at every stage – so I got her to tell me all about it for the blog!
“From the start Auden was really keen to be involved – he designed the flyer, we made it together and he was great at distributing and door knocking – it really wasn’t long before he was delivering a great spiel when we were going round consulting! Another neighbour and her kids were working with us recruiting other parent volunteers, and we were doing the outreach, and taking delivery of the Road Closed signs and cones. As it led up to the day he was also talking about it constantly, but interestingly I think he enjoyed the planning more than the event itself. The day was quite chaotic – we’d had the event cancelled by the council, and then reinstated at the very last minute… I think Auden found the number of people quite overwhelming.
Great things happened that day. I can’t even tell you how lovely it was… it was totally chaotic and crazy because we’d only had it reconfirmed the day before but – we had at least twenty five people playing out and so much positivity – not one person I met was negative. I had at least three young guys drive by and ask what was going on… and then just give me a big thumbs up and tell me what a great idea it was! And an older lady came out in her slippers to say “it’s so nice hearing the sound of children…” One dad has decided to bring his barbecue next time and a retired woman on the street wants to do sport with the kids.
One job I thought Auden would love was taking photos, but he seemed less interested in that on the day – he did love though finding some sweets of his and handing them out to everyone. He’s excited that there’ll be another playing out… so I’m thinking that next time we’ll do something more focused with him, he loves making cakes so perhaps he could have that to do – handing out the cakes.
We had a follow-up meeting with a council officer – so we had that in the park, Auden pitched in a little but mainly circled us on his bike!”
So what did Kim learn? “It’s good to have a focused job for Auden, so that he knows what he’s doing and why.”
And Auden? “How to speak to people door to door, and produce a great flyer!” Nice work Auden. Another future volunteer co-ordinator perhaps?!