NORTH ROYALTON – With the emergence of Facebook and Twitter, work from 9 to 5 or 7 to 7, plus overtime, endless schedules of soccer practices and dance recitals or workouts and veg outs, neighbors are connecting face to face less and less.

Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw wants to change that – at least for a day. Instead of connecting via a social network over a keyboard or iPhone, Langshaw wants his residents to connect in person at an old school social over ice cream.

The new councilman is hosting the Ward 3 Summer Ice Cream Social from 2 to 4 p.m., July 28 at the St. Matthew Orthodox Church Pavilion located at 10383 Albion Road.

The social is free, and any and all Ward 3 residents are welcome.

There will be a DJ, DJ Vince, and loads of ice cream on the house. Residents are only asked to bring one non-perishable food item to help stock the North Royalton Food Bank’s shelves. July, Langshaw said, is a critical month for the food bank, so by bringing a food item, residents are also helping support one another.

Langshaw said the idea for a social grew from his door-to-door visits with residents throughout the ward this past year.

“In conversations we’ve had, residents said these days we are so busy with our routines, rushing kids to practices, that we are too busy to interact with our neighbors. So, residents wanted to know what we can do to change that,” he said. “They raise a good question. So much is online now with Facebook, but it’s really so important that we live in a community and interact with our neighbors and have a sense of community.”

Langshaw has long attempted to foster open lines of communication between himself and constituents. As a school board member, he began hosting monthly coffee talks with residents, where they could come to him and openly share concerns, issues or questions. He continues those talks today as a councilman.

But he said the ice cream social is different and is meant to open the lines of communication between neighbors.

“This is a fun thing just for people to get to know each other versus getting to know me. This is for my residents, something to spur and promote a better sense of community. It’s a time to get to know each other,” he said.

It’s a simple concept that has become complicated by life.

“It’s something that has been lost. Our parents and grandparents knew their neighbors, people knew who their neighbors were. With the lifestyle we live today, it’s fast,” Langshaw said. “One of the greatest things about North Royalton is we have great people, but we just don’t have the opportunity to interact. This is a good way to address this and make it fun to live in not only North Royalton, but in Ward 3.”

And the scoop is, if the social is a success, Langshaw will consider making it an annual summer staple. So, the more the merrier and the greater the chance of the social being hosted again next year.

Hey, there’s nothing sweeter than free ice cream.

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