Volunteer to Work on a Committee
There are a great many opportunities in Kingswood to volunteer your services to help with any of our neighborhood responsibilities and events. All of our activities allow for a lot of participation and assistance from our neighbors as well as a whole lot of fun. To find a place where you can serve, try one of the following:
The duty of this committee is to assure the maintenance of the appearance of the three Kingswood entrances and other common areas. In addition to the areas below, we need an overall coordinator.
- Entrance Planting. We have volunteers in place for our entrance plantings and for putting out flags on Veterans Day and the Fourth of July; but extra sets of hands are always welcome.
- Holiday Decorations. Currently, we have a core group of volunteers who have agreed to be responsible for decorating our entrances for the holidays. But, since we have three entrances, there’s always room for more help.
- Small FEMA Lot. Since it’s so visible within the neighborhood, we pay to have someone mow the small FEMA lot at the corner of Lenox & Kings (“Kingswood Commons”); but we need somebody to monitor, schedule, and coordinate the mowing service.
- Large FEMA Lot. The large FEMA woodland is planned to go back to Nature; but we need a committee to monitor the growth of invasives so we can address the advisability of hiring a bush hog if this becomes necessary. Also, the government has agreed to mow an eight to ten foot strip along the curb periodically; we need somebody to determine what this schedule is and remain conscious of this timing to insure that the area is maintained.
- Nature Trail. Our new nature path is on land owned by neighbors, Loren Hunt and Deb Weiler, who have been extremely generous in making the path available to Kingswood residents. Already, several work parties have been organized to spread wood chips on the trail. Ideally, we should have a standing committee to organize periodic, future work.
- General Maintenance. Aesthetically, it lifts our spirit to live in a well-maintained neighborhood. Beyond this, we protect our property value and our home’s salability through beautification. Kingswood could use a committee to schedule periodic clean-ups throughout the neighborhood.
Social Events Committee
Kingswood used to have a dress-up holiday dinner dance. No more. The days of formal dinner dances have gone the way of top hats and white gloves. We live in a new world of virtual relationships.
The social events listed below give us an opportunity to have face-to-face contact and meet and establish friendships with our neighbors. Some neighbors have successfully taken responsibility for some events, but many could use assisatnace or, in some cases, events need committees to make sure they happen if we want them to.
- Children’s Easter Egg Hunt. In recent years, this event has been held because one of our neighbors has made it happen. Soon, her children will outgrow the event and it may fall to another parent, with younger children, to step in and pick up this responsibility. Perhaps, this transition will happen organically. Or, if we like, we could establish a sub-committee of the Social Events Committee to insure the perpetuation of the event.
- Annual Spring Picnic. Part potluck, part love gift on the part of the grilling team, and part logistical challenge, this tradition has been Kingswood’s largest neighborhood-wide event. It’s a great time to char, eat great food, and get to know our neighbors better. A multi-part undertaking, the picnic really should have a committee to plan and execute it.
- Yard Sales. Individual neighbors hold yard sales on occasion. Holding a neighborhood-wide sale could increase traffic, leverage our publicity efforts, and reduce the number of garage sale days. Should we think about creating a committee to coordinate this?
- Halloween Pre-TrickOrTreat Potluck. Like the Easter Egg Hunt, this event happens because of the dedication of its creators. Also like that Spring event, this Fall party is focused on children who will outgrow it. Should we create a committee to insure the future of this enjoyable event?
- Care Cookies. This event, like many in Kingswood, exists thanks to the energies of one person. Should we have a committee to support and perpetuate it? Might it inspire similar efforts?
- Holiday Caroling. Again, this activity is coordinated by a single person. Volunteer carolers sing for neighbors, one house at a time. A delightful experience. Unfortunately, the carolers only walk through a relatively restricted part of the neighborhood, leaving other areas unserved. If there is interest, perhaps additional teams of singers could go out, serving more of the neighborhood.
- Welcome Wagon. Houses don’t turn over that often in Kingswood because folks like it here and tend to stay. But when houses do sell, we like to welcome new folks. Immediate neighbors might bake something or prepare a goodie bag. In addition, we now have a recently formed committee who will insure that newcomers receive a proper introduction to the neighborhood, a copy of the directory, instructions on how to get into the directory, onto the listserv, etc.
- Mommy Network. We have an increasing number of families with young children moving into Kingswood. The new Mommy Network connects families for play groups, babysitting, school work, and other child-related activities.
Our Association is largely about communication. We have in place some of what we need. However, we have major holes in the cast of players needed.
- Listserv. We currently have someone managing our listserv.
- Social Networking. Our Facebook page is up, but waiting for greater involvement.
- Directory. A decision needs to be made about how often we’ll have an updated directory. If the neighborhood has expectations of an annually updated directory – which may or may not be feasible in an all-volunteer organization – then it would be essential that we form a committee to oversee and manage this complex process. Such a committee would need to be working with Street Captains to monitor information changes throughout the year, leading up to actual production – a project unto itself, even if we move from paper to digital.
Here are some of the tasks that would need to be implemented:
- Orchestration of the entire process
- Committee members assigned specific responsibilities
- Residents must complete a new information forms
- Street Captains would collect updated resident information forms
- Compile all resident information
- Turn raw data into a spread sheet
- Turn the spreadsheet into an alphabetical and by-street list
- Write and edit editorial material
- Design and layout
This is a huge task and should be shared by many people. If you have skills to contribute to this effort, place let one of the officers know.
Our neighborhood survey showed significant interest in security issues, even though we live in a very secure neighborhood. And, having a good number of retirees, we naturally tend to be at home and watching out for our neighbors. To insure that the security of our neighborhood continues, we need a committee to identify what our specific concerns are and how we want to address them, perhaps reinvigorating our Neighborhood Watch program.
We have a long-standing safety problem with speeders, some of it caused by residents. Recently, we commissioned a traffic study by the city traffic engineer to assess the magnitude of our “cut-through problem” between Timothy and Jennings Mill. The study showed that neither traffic volume nor speed excess exceeded the threshold for action. Nonetheless, development down Jennings Mill warranted establishing a data baseline for future use. We need a committee to stay on top of this potential problem.
Street safety also includes walkers and joggers, who should be on the left, facing oncoming traffic. If you’re out walking and see someone on the wrong side, take the opportunity to introduce yourself and encourage them to walk on the safe side.
And let’s wave to each other on our neighborhood streets: it’s not only neighborly; it also insures and acknowledges that we’re seeing each other.
We want to reach out to our neighbors in the event of births, deaths, or extended illness. But, currently, we do not have a committee for this purpose, as prescribed by our By-Laws.
Given our Street Captain network, theoretically, we have eyes and ears on every street to stay in touch with the comings, goings, and well-being of our neighbors.
The listserv expedites neighborhood-wide sharing of the news. But shall we send out our own news? Or shall we send announcements through an agreed-upon channel?
And how do we want to respond as a neighborhood? Or do we? Historical By-Laws indicate that at one time, the neighborhood sent flowers or an appropriate gift to Association members and their immediate families residing with them in Kingswwood at the time of the occurrence. In the case of a death, the family might request that a charitable contribution be made in their name in lieu of flowers.
None of this has been the case of late. Have times changed? Or is this due to the lack of a committee for this purpose? Whatever we do, we want to do it with forethought and consistency, so we need a committee to raise our consciousness, to formulate and maintain a policy.
Can you be part of taking on this compassionate responsibility?
What Else Do We Want?
This is our neighborhood. We can do, or invent, whatever we view as necessary or desirable.
Undoubtedly, there are enough tennis players here to form a league. Or bowlers or knitters or bridge players. Bikers, hikers, and Frisbee dogs. How many of us are driving across town to be part of an affinity group that probably exists right here, within walking distance of our front door?
We have enough young parents to start a babysitting co-op. Or a bulk purchase of diapers. Or a Mommy’s night out group. At the very least, a Timothy Road Elementary School parent circle. Not even dogs can bring people together like children can. And our generation of parents does not have your Grandma’s view of childrearing; today’s kids have a whole new breed of parents, inventive folks who can take full advantage of a setting like Kingswood to create something that has never existed before.
We have a new generation of active older adults here too. Seniors might want to consider looking into The Village, a new “Aging in Place” project beginning at the Athens Community Council on Aging. Kingswood would be a perfect setting to apply the Village model, which originated in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. The program provides essential services that focus on well-being, entertainment, and helping folks stay in the home and neighborhood they love as they age.
Clearly, we all share an affinity for the location and flavor of Kingswood. What else might we share with others in the over 200 households within our borders? Let’s find out. It’s “The New Kingswood.”
Si vis pacem, para bellum
One thing we all can agree on – bikers or hikers, young or old – is that we want to protect our homes, their value, and ourselves. Threaten any one of those and you’ll get everybody’s attention.
At the moment, Kingswood faces no threats. We have no “issues” – There are no roads, for example, being planned that cut through the neighborhood, as there were in 1995. This is a good thing.
It’s easy, in times of tranquility, to be lulled into complacency. Are we certain that peaceful Kingswood will never face a threat? Are we sure new development down Jennings Mill won’t impact us? That we won’t have an increase in cut-through traffic, for example? Might we need enough cash on hand to buy electronic traffic calming devices?
As the Latin adage goes, “If you wish for peace, prepare for war.” This time-worn saying assures us that a strong society is less likely to be placed in a position of harm.
Becoming prepared is possibly one of the most compelling reasons for us to build up our treasury and become organized and connected to each other here in Kingswood, to have a strong Association … to be well thought-out before we need to be.
Please become active in YOUR Kingswood Neighborhood Association.