Every community should become aware of their local police programs and encourage involvement. And what better way to do that than to host your own National Night Out event?
What Is National Night Out Event and Why Is It Important?
National Night Out is an event designed to increase awareness about the local police programs in your community. It facilitates a better relationship between your community and local law enforcement, all with the objective of creating a safer and more compassionate environment for you and your neighbors.
The event is meant to bring people together while simultaneously raising awareness and encouraging participation in anti-crime activities. This includes town or neighborhood watches, drug prevention, and more.
National Night Out first started in the 1980s. What began as a simple act of neighbors turning on their porch lights and sitting outside has since evolved into planned events such as block parties, backyard barbecues, and even grand festivals. The event is held annually on the first Tuesday of August, with Texas celebrating on the first Tuesday of October. This year’s National Night Out is Tuesday, August 3, 2021.
How to Set Up and Host Your Own National Night Out Event
If you would like to organize a National Night Out event in your community, here’s how to do it.
1. Drum Up Interest
First, start by presenting the idea of hosting your own National Night Out event with other members of your community.
2. Assemble a Committee
Once you gauge enough interest, you should follow it up by putting together a team. Ask your neighbors if they would like to volunteer to help coordinate the event.
3. Plan the Event and Assign Responsibilities
Every event requires planning. Organize a meeting where you can discuss all the specifics and assign responsibilities to each volunteer.
When planning a National Night Out event, consider the following:
- Decide on the type of event you want to hold. How big is it going to be? Do you have a theme in mind?
- Look for a fitting location for the event you want and decide on a time as well. For outdoor events, think of places such as local parks, parking lots, open fields, and even closed streets. For indoor events, think of places such as community centers, event venues, and maybe even your local police station or fire house.
- You will also need to plan out what food and beverages to offer. For food, on-the-go items such as burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, pizza, chips, popcorn, ice cream, donuts, and other treats work well. For beverages, variety is key, but you also shouldn’t forget water.
- Think of fun activities and entertainment for every age group. Some examples include local bands, magicians, clowns, talent shows, parades, and carnival games. You can also organize sports tournaments, scavenger hunts, and other interactive activities.
- Contact local vendors who would like to get involved. Make sure to stay organized by listing down all of your vendors including their contact information.
- Your event will require funding, so it’s a good idea to ask for donations early. Send out a letter to local businesses and organizations to see what they’re willing to donate. Don’t forget to include all the information they need about your National Night Out event.
4. Start Working
Now it’s time to actually begin working on your event. Make sure all committee members accomplish their assigned tasks and check on everyone’s progress during meetings.
5. Promote the Event
Of course, you’ve got to make sure your event attracts attendees. Promote your event by handing out flyers, advertising on social media, sending out a press release to the local media, and email invitations to your neighbors.
Remember that this is a collaborative effort with your local law enforcement, so don’t forget to invite them, too. You can also partner with other organizations, local public figures, and elected officials to get the word out.
6. Express Your Thanks
Be sure to thank everyone involved. This includes those who helped out, participated, donated, and attended the event. A simple thank you letter is enough to put a smile on anyone’s face. Plus, saying thanks to everyone can make a big difference and set you up for continued success for next year’s event.
A Great Initiative for Every Community
National Night Out events encourage collaboration and awareness in local communities. Hosting your own will surely take a lot of time and effort, but it will all be worth it in the end.