By now you’ve seen your share of Pokémon Go stories in the news. Some articles sing its praises—most notably getting kids out of the house—while others highlight the game’s perils, like turning people into zombies and causing vehicular crashes.
Not sure what to make of it? Here’s a quick rundown of the game and why Pokémon Go should be a go for your community association.
Pokémon Go is a mobile app that allows players to track and capture Pokémon — cute little critters that are lurking in interesting places all over your neighborhood. In addition to capturing Pokémon, players are also encouraged to visit local landmarks, or Pokéstops, to snag items to enhance the game experience.
We’ve all had the experience of sitting at the dinner table and realizing that everyone’s on their smartphone. For a community, the equivalent of this experience is taking the time and effort to plan, fund and host a back to school block party and realizing that all of the kids in the neighborhood are interacting on their smartphones rather than engaging in the experience right in front of them.
This is where Pokémon Go can benefit communities and it’s also the secret to the game’s success: the app promotes physical activity in a unique way and it uses technology to bring us closer unlike tools that make us less present when we’re with our family and friends.
So, what opportunities can Pokémon Go unlock for your community? Here are our top 3, plus tips on how to plan your community Pokémon adventure.
- Promote safety. Because Pokémon Go provides an immersive experience, playing alone can be risky. If you’re not paying attention to where you’re walking, for instance, you could illegally trespass on prohibited property, get pickpocketed or even get hit by a car. There’s safety in numbers, especially with adult supervision. Organizing a supervised Pokémon event in your community ensures that your neighborhood kids have a safe Pokémon hunting experience.
- Encourage community engagement. With more than 7.5 million downloads, most likely your community members are playing Pokémon Go, so why not make it a community affair? Hosting a community Pokémon Go event is a great opportunity to get to know your neighbors better.
- Foster education. Remember those Pokéstops we mentioned? Well, they’re usually located at notable local landmarks, so this is a great way to sneak in some local history, which could be great for kids, and for community members who are new to the area.
Now that you know why you should organize a community Pokémon event, let’s look at how to ensure the event runs smoothly.
- PLAN: Before the event, work with your association board and community manager to plan the logistics. Scope out your route so that you know how long the event will last and what Pokéstops are along the way. This will allow you to brush up on the history of the landmarks before the big event. Also, consider the number of neighborhood kids who will participate and plan to have enough parents on hand to keep the group together. If you live in areas where the temperatures are still pretty high, you may want to plan an evening event and supply water to keep players comfortable. Will players need anything besides smartphones and walking shoes? Do you want to make it a themed event where the kids dress up in safari gear for their “hunt”? If you’re an Associa-managed community, why not invite Scout, our Associa Supports Kids mascot to join in on the fun? Everyone is playing Pokémon Go, but use this time to think of ways to create a unique experience for your community.
- COMMUNICATE. Now that you’ve planned the event, spread the word. Provide details including the date and duration and detail any items that will be provided or that you recommend players bring to make the event enjoyable and memorable, like snacks or reflective gear.
- ENJOY. You’re now ready to hit the streets with the neighborhood team for some Pokémon hunting. If the event is successful, consider making it a weekly or monthly community event. Pro tip: Get a head count at the beginning of the game and continue to do so periodically to make sure you don’t lose anyone during game play.
Pokémon Go is a great opportunity for communities to safely explore their surroundings, learn about local landmarks and develop stronger relationships with neighbors. As with all things, do your research to learn more about the rules of Pokémon Go and work with your board to determine whether it’s a good fit for your next community event.
Are you an Associa-managed community that needs help organizing a Pokémon Go (or other) event in your community? Click here to contact your local Associa branch!