Sartell City Council member Sandra Cordie has a new wish on her list. She wishes all the neighborhoods in Sartell would host a “National Night Out” get-together.
“It’s really the easiest kind of party to plan,” she said.
National Night Out began nationwide 29 years ago as local efforts to promote neighborly spirit and to strengthen community relations with law enforcement with the intention of creating safe neighborhoods. It always takes place on the second Tuesday in August, which this summer is Aug. 7.
This will be the Cordie neighborhood’s sixth annual National Night Out. This time, Cordie and her good neighbor, Stephanie Partch, are both organizing the event, which will take place in Cordie’s backyard. There will be rootbeer floats, lawn games, breezy conversation, representatives of the Sartell Police Department and members of Unity Church, which is now in the former Celebration Lutheran Church building. The neighborhood, with 14 neighbors, is situated in a cul-de-sac area near Unity Church.
At the party, neighbors will also bring questions, suggestions and any new email addresses and/or phone numbers so that safety roster lists can be updated.
Cordie decided to create a local National Night Out six years ago. One neighbor had a daughter who was very ill. Cordie bought a get-well card for the girl. When she took it to the other neighbors to have them sign it, she was quite surprised that some people did not know of the girl or her plight. She decided it would be a good idea for neighbors to get to know one another a bit better – thus National Night Out was born. And it was a big success. It’s not only educational, each time, but participants have a lot of fun. Many bring food to share or snacks, then they sit in lawn chairs and enjoy light conversation. From the police, they learn any new safety issues to be aware of. Some of the neighbors are “snowbirds,” gone during the winter months, so the police always have good tips to share with them.
“It’s a good chance to reinforce the partnership between the citizens and the police,” Partch said. “And it gives youth a chance to be involved with their neighbors. It’s also a chance for people to get outside and visit, a nice change from being in the house all winter.”
In an effort to get others to form National Night Out gatherings, the Sartell City Council passed a resolution recognizing Aug. 7 this year as “National Night Out in Sartell” night. The council also decided to waive the traditional fee for blockading streets. Typically, neighbors block off their streets during the event.
“One of my goals as a city council person is to get more people to do one (National Night Out),” Cordie said. “It’s so good when neighbors get to know one another on a neighborly basis.”
Organizing such an event could not be easier, she added. There are only two steps – 1. planning it; 2. letting the police know.
Planning, Cordie said, is as simple as making up a simple flyer telling the What, When, Where and Why. The flyers can be hand-delivered or mailed to neighbors. Cordie has always delivered the flyers shortly after the Fourth of July to give neighbors plenty of time to plan to come. Now that all the neigbhors’ emails are on a roster list, it’s simple as pie for Cordie and Partch to email them reminders of the upcoming event.
Anyone in the Sartell area planning to host a National Night Out should contact the Sartell Police Department and ask to speak to officer Rob Lyon. The department wants to shedule and coordinate so that an officer can, hopefully, make an appearance at each gathering. Call Lyon at 251-8186 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.