Hats off to the remarkable Sandra Cordie of Sartell for trying to raise more widespread interest in “National Night Out.” (See story in today’s paper.)
We also want to commend Cordie’s neighbor, Stephanie Partch, who is also working to inspire others to set up National Night Out events.
The two women are now planning the sixth annual Night Out event in their cul-de-sac neighborhood near Unity Church. Cordie began hosting the get-together when she realized some of her neighbors in 14 households did not even know one another on a first-name basis.
National Night Out, nationally, began 29 years ago as a way for neighbors to get together, to get to know one another and to inform one another of safety issues with the help of local law enforcement.
The Night Out events have proven to be very effective in helping keep neighborhoods safe. Because of such get-togethers, some formerly crime-prone neighborhoods in cities across America have become safe, vibrant, viable places to live.
This modern, too-busy world has too often broken down or prevented the bonds that used to rule in neighborhoods of the past where most neighbors were on a first-name basis with one another. Of course, just about every neighborhood had one or more crank or kook, but even those people were regarded as people to whom a certain amount of respect was due.
National Night Out is a way for neighbors to network in case of threats to their neighborhood. Such threats could come in the form of vandalism, of con-artist salespeople, a rash of vehicle breaks-ins or other burglaries or suspicious people lurking about. Thanks to a roster of names, phone numbers and email addresses, neighbors can contact one another instantly to inform them of what to beware of. There is strength in numbers, and Night Out is a good example of that.
Some people are leery of organizing a Night Out for fear once they get to know neighbors, one or more of them might turn out to be pests. That fear is baseless. Neighbors, if they choose, can still maintain a polite “distance” from one another, but all will have the advantage of being safer.
In addition, yes, some Night Out events have been a catalyst for new neighborly friendships, mutual interests and even job networking.
And if those were not benefits enough, let us not forget National Night Out events are fun times to get together, enjoy some snacks and shoot the breeze with others.
Those who know Cordie are well aware of her knack for connecting people and groups of people for educational purposes, both in her neighborhood and in her job as director of educational programs for Resource Training and Solutions.
Thank you Cordie and thank you Partch for your efforts to get other neighborhoods motivated.
Author: Dennis Dalman
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.