OCEANSIDE — Aug. 1 is National Night Out. The annual celebration bring residents together to get to know their neighbors and learn community safety tips.
Oceanside has held National Night Out gatherings for more than five years.
“This is an opportunity for families to come out and become familiar with one another, build up their community and be involved in the daily happenings of their neighborhood,” Adrian Mendoza, Libby Lake Resource Center community assistant for city Neighborhood Services, said.
This year National Night Out activities will be held at four city parks. Each gathering is organized by local groups that serve the neighborhoods year-round.
“We have a variety of groups that organize and participate in the events,” Mendoza said. “There are local neighborhood groups, faith-based groups, nonprofit youth programs and city departments.”
A basketball tournament will take place at John Landes Park. Pastor Sheldon Brown sparked the idea as a fun way to engage families. Kids can participate with their team or show up and be assigned to a team.
“He (Brown) starts the basketball tournament earlier in the summer, and has the championship games on National Night Out as a big finale,” Mendoza said. “This has brought out more of the older youth and young families.”
At Joe Balderrama Park, Crown Heights Resource Center, and Libby Lake Park family-friendly movies will be shown on 20-foot outdoor screens.
Snacks and activities will also be part of the fun.
“Balderrama Park will have a small resource fair and food, Crown Heights will have a small carnival-style event with games and food and Libby Lake will have the movie and some snacks,” Mendoza said.
City police officers and firefighters will be at all sites to answer questions, build rapport with residents and hand out stickers to kids.
“Recent violence has perpetuated fear in some of these neighborhoods and residents have retreated to the safety of their homes,” Mendoza said. “The National Night Out events provide the city with an opportunity to remind its residents that the city is invested in its neighborhoods, and continues to work on making their parks and streets safe.”
The city’s goal is for residents to walk away from the gatherings with a sense of being heard and supported. The night promotes police-community partnerships, neighborhood camaraderie and encourages everyone to make their neighborhood a safer, better place to live.
National Night Out
Crown Heights Resource Center, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
John Landes Park, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Joe Balderrama Park, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Libby Lake Park, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.