Cool-contest idea unites Jefferson Township neighborhoods

MARLA K. KUHLMAN
mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com
Julie Meek and her family receive orange push popsicles and ice cream sandwiches in the Kitsmiller's Crossing subdivision.

The community spirit of the Weldon and Kitsmiller's Crossing neighborhoods recently won the residents a cold treat on a hot day.

After deciding last month to cancel this year's Jefferson Township ice cream social, the parks board came up with the idea of a contest to keep the community involved this summer, according to Kelly Kiener, assistant township administrator.

Susan Lewis Kaylor, chairwoman of the Jefferson Township parks board, said the contest asked residents to collaborate with their neighbors and showcase their social-distancing summer community spirit.

They were asked to create a 2- to 3-minute video showing anything from honoring frontline heroes to celebrating the class of 2020 or fun in the sun and post the video at facebook.com/jeffersontownshipohio or email it to info@jeffersontown-ship.org.

Once the votes were tallied, Kiener said, the township announced the Weldon and Kitsmiller's Crossing neighborhoods as having the top two entries.

"It was wonderful to see all of the creativity and collaboration that went into making the videos," she said.

Ice cream was delivered via a refrigerated truck at 2 p.m. July 18 to the Kitsmiller's Crossing neighborhood and 3 p.m. at Weldon.

"The mobile ice cream social event was a hit," Lewis Kaylor said. "Neighbors and families stayed in socially distant groups and along the neighborhood route."

She said the children seemed to have a lot of fun on a hot summer day.

"I think the two winning videos were creative and inspiring, which is especially welcomed during this time of uncertainty," Lewis Kaylor said.

Kitsmiller's Crossing resident Laurel Littrell said she edited and submitted her neighborhood's video, but it was the brainchild of Tiffany Baronzzi.

"Our neighborhood found out about the contest only days before it was due," Baronzzi said. "I was motivated to brainstorm a win for a Kitsmiller's ice cream party."

She said her neighborhood does an evening bicycle ride every week and she knew that needed to be in the video to show their community bond.

"It was absolutely amazing how our neighbors quickly got together and brought their talents to make this happen," Baronzzi said. "Kids were biking, adults were cheering them on with homemade signs; (there was) a 'reporter' to host; we had drones flying overhead, a guitar player and of course the crew who recorded, sliced and edited the video. It was awesome."

Weldon resident Karen Davidson said her neighborhood has a Facebook page, so neighbors were asked to submit photos of three things: spreading kindness, outdoor beauty and neighborhood fun.

Once Davidson had the pictures, she compiled the video.

"We are a new neighborhood and with COVID-19, we wanted to find ways to get to know each other," she said. "Our elementary students gave the graduating seniors gifts.

"We displayed bears, hearts, eggs at different times for kids to do scavenger hunts as they walked or rode bikes."

Pictures of all those events are featured in the Weldon video as well as the neighborhood's many sidewalk chalk displays, a mini "field day" with huge bubbles, kick ball and a parachute.

"The ice cream social was awesome," Baronzzi said. "It was the perfect mid-day dessert for a hot summer day. Both kids and adults came out. It was a great way for our community to come together, especially during these times where socializing is very limited."

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla