by Leila Kinion
On Saturday, June 10, 2023, I attended my first Hiddenbrooke community event in years. This gathering was a wonderful idea brought about by the HPOA Social Committee (I was not part of planning this event). My family arrived with our 2 small dogs, chairs, games, and snacks. I immediately saw the ice cream table and quite a few children. I was excited! There was also a birthday party that was taking place near the playground so it was a bit hard to determine who was actually there for the ice cream social vs. the birthday party. There were a couple family lawn games set up. I honestly didn’t know who anyone was there except my neighbor Priscilla Silvey and her granddaughter. I set out to engage and introduce myself to as many people as I could.
Laurie Foster, our HPOA Board president, had a table set up in front of the bathrooms to hand out name tags & collect names/numbers of those community members that had ideas for what they would like to see “pop up” within Hiddenbrooke. I saw things like a yoga group, singles group, family group, etc.. My family and I set up our family lawn games that I had brought. In the game area, I met Gil Solorio and his extended family. I also met Tracy Pullar & Craig Funcke. We started up a game of Corn-hole with some teenagers who were ready to play. I met a woman name Denise who has 2 granddaughters and we exchanged numbers for a future play-date. I met a father of a young 3-year-old girl who was on a playdate and I offered them bubbles to use. I invited my friend Joy (Hiddenbrooke resident) with her two young children to the event.
At the ice cream table I met Renee Go & Jen Pollard. I told them I just joined their Social Committee much to their surprise. Renee & Jen are extremely kind and worked very hard scooping scoop after scoop to all the attendees. The next event they voiced to plan is the Neighborhood National Night Out in August. At 4pm, the ice cream was packed up and I requested we all take a group picture with myself included to document this fun event!
My husband, Glen Kinion, and I spent some time striking up conversations about our own personal visions for the community. I was able to spend more time with our current candidates, social committee members and partners. Troy Killion’s vision is to to maintain property values. I can agree with that for sure. Gil was extremely engaging, informative & open to conversation. My husband and I learned about his history and experiences within Hiddenbrooke that were helpful. Renee talked about National Night out in the future. Jen offered the most information about the history of prior social events (i.e., what events they’ve had before and how she has seen the community change with the club house completely non-existent). Jen is a prior HPOA president and is a wonderful resource for anyone that wants to know the history of HPOA.
After everyone left, I continued my engagement with the birthday party family and learned that they were also Vallejo natives dating back to the 60’s. I met “Mary” and she was extremely grateful and excited to join future Hiddenbrooke events. Then before we left, Glen and I engaged with one last family that had missed the ice cream social. A young couple, who are Utah natives with a small 5-year-old daughter. They had just moved from Benicia to Hiddenbrooke. They were excited to learn about future Hiddenbrooke activities and the Neighbor Exchange website.
All in all, I would say that the HPOA Ice Cream Social was a successful event. The event allowed neighbors that wanted to connect with one another a chance to do so. I believe the Hiddenbrooke community needs to adopt the Ice Cream Social as an annual event. Here are my thoughts for future Ice Cream Socials:
– I can envision signage introducing the members of HPOA board, social committee members, and any new community groups that have formed.
– There can be an introduction speech and closing comments by the hosts of event.
– Enlist volunteers to scoop ice cream so the social committee members can roam around making connections and talking up the various committees.
– HPOA Board members can have this opportunity to share its activities, and explore the “wish lists “ of attendees as they write down their recommendations for future groups and what’s most important to them living in Hiddenbrooke.
– Enlist volunteers to be leaders of the games, and maybe offer light snacks or a food truck.
I can see this Community Ice Cream Social becoming bigger & better each year. Thank you Social Committee for planning this fun community gathering.
About Leila Kinion: I was raised in the heart of Vallejo my entire life. I just celebrated my 21st year as a Registered Nurse. I’m a community, public & patient advocate. I’m a mom of 3 amazing girls. My husband’s name is Glen. I went to all Vallejo public schools and graduated from Hogan HS. As a reference, this High-School transitioned to a Junior High in 2011. If anyone knows the history of this City, it’s the generational families that have endured all the triumphs and hardships. I remember the booming and profitable community it once was when Mare Island Naval Shipyard was open. The shipyard sadly closed in 1996. To learn more about the history of Mare Island, visit https://www.nps.gov/places/mare-island-naval-shipyard.htm
I walked to school my entire life through the streets we dare drive through now. I’m saddened how the city I once felt safe in has now fallen. Fast forward, over the next 26 years I have remained in Solano county. I moved for the first time to Hiddenbrooke back in 2012, and then moved to Green Valley. My family and I have since returned at the start of the pandemic in 2020 to be closer to family and live in the community I fell in love with years ago.
There are many reasons to love this pristine valley and sanctuary many of us call home. One of my main reasons I love this area was the sense of community I felt back in the days where we had access to the pool, gym & clubhouse. We had many great days engaging and making memories with not only our own families but also with our neighbors. My husband has played many rounds of golf here. I’ve attended company Christmas parties, a wedding and even a 20-year Anniversary wedding celebration at the club house. My eldest daughter met her two best friends from this Hiddenbrooke community at High School and they are still best-friends as adults, going on 11 years strong.
Somewhere along the years this community lost its vibe and energy. Anyone who is willing to volunteer their personal time for the sake of the masses is truly an inspiration! I’ve been there and done that for thousands of nurses & patients across the bay area. Cheers to many more uplifting and joyous events in the future! My vision is to help start similar social groups that engage people of ALL ages & family dynamics. My groups will consist of those who wish to uplift & empower the city ( this is not for everyone). As a neighborhood we should rally for the city and community we call “home”. The new Hiddenbrooke Solano County Food Bank drive that just begun is testament on how to give back. My envisioned groups will also encourage fitness & community engagement. A community that grows together – will thrive together and collectively work to keep our unique neighborhood safe, people friendly, fun, and pristine. I have recently joined the HPOA Social Committee, and there are some great new members. If anyone wishes to join please reach out. The more ideas we have the better!