Goleta Old Town Community Association Wins National Recognition
Source: Goleta Old Town Community Association
Neighborhoods USA, a national organization dedicated to building and strengthening neighborhood organizations, held its annual Neighborhood of the Year competition in Birmingham, AL. Nine neighborhoods from across the United States competed in various categories. Goleta Old Town Community Association entered in the category of Social Revitalization / Neighborliness for their programs in the Old Town area.
“The competition was tough”, says Goleta Old Town Community Association Board President Phebe Mansur. “There were a lot of good programs submitted this year. That deck was feeling pretty stacked going into this.”
The competition took place on Thursday, May 24th. Each neighborhood goes before the Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) panel of judges and presents their programs. They have 12 minutes to make their case before the judges.
Old Town’s entry detailed their journey from formation to creating special neighborhood events like the Candy Crawl on Halloween, Movie Nights for kids, Concerts at the Gazebo, and the inaugural 2016 Goleta Christmas Parade. The support of other organizations like Goleta Valley Community Center, the Elks Lodge, the Goleta Rotary, and the city of Goleta have helped power the achievements of the Goleta Old Town Community Association. Everything was going really well for Old Town when the Thomas Fire hit, putting so much poisonous ash and smoke in the air that it forced the cancellation of the 2nd annual Goleta Old Town Parade in 2017.
Determined to save Christmas for the kids, the team raced into action to bring Santa Claus to the Goleta Valley Community Center, and created a fun night for families including holiday games and cookie decorating.
“You just can’t let Christmas go up in smoke,” said Mansur. “We had to find a way bring holiday cheer to the community.”
The judges apparently agreed that this was an outstanding example of a neighborhood pulling together, awarding the team 3rd place in the final judging out of 17 entrants and presenting the award on May 25th in Birmingham.
“It’s wonderful to have your good work recognized nationally,” said Mansur. “We did all these things because we love this community. But it’s certainly affirming when other neighborhood organizations from across the country also think you’ve done something worthy.”
Created in 1975 to share information and experiences used to build stronger communities, NUSA continues to encourage networking and information-sharing to facilitate the development of partnerships among neighborhood organizations, government and the private sector for the ultimate goal of strengthening every neighborhood.