Friday, November 30, 2007

Say Hi ! Day


Today is the first annual Say Hi Day which was implemented by the Community Safety & Crime Prevention Council of Waterloo Region. I have noticed Say Hi signs along roads in our area and on the back of our city buses but didn't know what it was about until today. The program was started in 2004 as part of the Get Connected campaign to encourage increased community engagement, especially among youth.

Making eye contact with strangers and greeting them can be intimidating for many people. I remember the halls of high school and the dread I sometimes felt when I had to pass a group of people I didn't know hanging around in the corridor. There was seldom any basis for my fear other than my own self consciousness and insecurity. These days, I often walk the streets and trails in our community alone and make a point of giving everyone I pass a smile, nod or greeting. And nearly everyone reciprocates graciously.

The Say Hi website gives these reasons for the campaign.

By reaching out to neighbours and friends - you can help build a strong community.

  • You'll get connected with your community
  • You'll remove barriers that separate people
  • You'll nurture a sense of belonging & inclusion
  • You'll start a dialogue about community safety
I know few of my neighbours well as most people work and sitting on the porch is a rare past time these days. And our cold winter days keep people indoors for months. Our community includes our workplace, schools, recreational, social and spiritual centres. We need to teach children to be street smart without making them fearful of everyone they don't know.

So Hi there! Welcome to my community!

Photos from the Say Hi website

10 comments:

  1. An interesting concept, Ruth..... probably a little easier for people to accept and implement than the "free hugs" (from one of your previous posts)

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  2. That's nice.-I remember my family being more connected and familiar with the neighbors around the block when I was younger.Now it only goes as far as the people who border ou property or maybe just across the street. Too bad really.

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  3. That seems like a pretty good idea.

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  4. Hi there in Canada!
    This is great. I decided many years ago living in a foreign country where you even look different that the best way not to feel self conscious by the stares, was to smile and give a friendly greeting.
    Most people respond including waitresses, check out clerks, children and many others. We need some care here but as an "anciana", older lady, I am not suspected of negotiating a pick up.

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  5. I like the idea! Since moving farther south in the U.S., I find it to be customary for strangers to smile and nod or say Hello when passing. Friendly exchanges did not happen often in more northern states.

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  6. A great idea!

    I remember some years ago now, driving into Surrey and taking the sky train to a hearing that I had to go to. I was excited, this was my first time on the sky train ... so I started to chat with the people in my set of foursome seats. I soon realized what a country bumpkin I was. These people did not want to talk, looked at me a bit askance ... who was this weirdo ... a bit unsure as to how polite to be back ... so I finally caught the hint and just enjoyed the ride! But I had a good chuckle over the whole incident. I still find riding the buses in Vancouver fascinating. People are so interesting to watch ... why would anyone want to drive when they can ride?

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  7. I am not so original (Naturewoman beat me to it)--but my first reaction was to just leave this comment.
    Ruth, HI!
    And to all of Ontario, Canada--HI.

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  8. And a warm Hi! to all who commented.

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