As I was driving out of my community this morning, I noticed a sign posted at the entrance that said, Volunteers Needed ASAP, Community Fall Festival may be canceled. A few weeks ago we touched on the benefits of volunteering for your Homeowners Association by serving on the Board of Directors. Today it occurred to me to touch on the fact that while serving on the Board is an extremely important job, there are other ways in which one can help out the community. People often complain that their community offers minimal social opportunities to get to know your neighbors. Perhaps, this is due to the lack of volunteers to organize these events. It is the old adage that you get out what you put in. If you are a social person who loves to organize parties, why not use your skills to get the community together and organize a Community BBQ or Festival. By organizing an event for the community you will help foster community spirit, promote goodwill among your neighbors, and get to know the people who share your HOA. Your work will certainly be repaid when you see the smiling face of your new friends and neighbors. If you are interested in helping out your community and volunteering for your community association, contact your HOA Board of Directors or the HOA Management Company.
This article first appeared on September 9, 2013 in The Villages Daily Sun
Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club
Labor Day weekend, golfers across the nation were teeing up to play a fun round of golf and, at the same time, raise funds for the Folds of Honor Foundation.
The foundation provides services and scholarships to the families of military personnel who have been killed in service to our country.
The Patriots Day golf tournament was sponsored by the Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club Veterans Association, David Blackston Financial Advisory, title sponsor, and Brown Golf at Eagle Ridge and host of others.
Over 206 golfers came together for this fun golfing event, an event that pits the Army and Air Force against the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.
Registration started early Sunday morning with everyone enjoying a quick breakfast of coffee and muffins.
I walked around a bit, talking with several golfers, wanting to know why they were participating. I was not surprised at their responses.
To a person, they all agreed that it would be a fun day and that it was for a very worthy cause.
Then I spotted two younger participants, Drew and Kyle Blackston, and learned that they were the sons of the title sponsor of the event and would be playing in a foursome with their dad, David and mom, Andrea.
“Why is your family so involved in this event,” I asked.
“This is our home and we are just trying to help out the community and like to get involved,” Drew responded.
Drew added, “We support the military and everything they do. My grandfather on my dad’s side served in the army in France during WWII. My grandfather on my mom’s side fought in WWII in the navy”.
Opening ceremonies started with event chairperson, Jack Cherry, introducing Dave Blackston, who sang the national anthem, and team captains Ron Spencer, leading the Army and Air Force, and Bill Stewart, leading the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.
In a moment of levity, Ron reminded everyone that their team had been defeated by the Navy, Marine and Coast Guard team last year then said, “Today is the day of redemption”.
Ron followed that up by telling all the golfers, “I want you to go out there and have some fun today”.
During the announcements, Jack also mentioned that there would be several ROTC cadets volunteering during the event.
I spoke briefly with Belleview High School teacher and Air Force ROTC sponsor, retired Lt. Col. Terry Dickensheet about the cadet program and the cadets who would be working the event.
“The mission statement of the program is to develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community,” Terry said.
He told me that senior Anthony Beckzo, junior Alisha Stamm, sophomore Zakary Solgut, and freshman Zachary Stamm had volunteered to be at the event.
“As each team comes up to hole number 9 on each course, they will salute the veterans, pull the pins while they putt and put the pin back,” Terry explained.
After a beautiful day on the golf course, the golfers returned to the clubhouse and were greeted by the great down-home, toe tapping music of the Last Time Out Band.
Once everyone was settled in their seats, Jack requested all the veterans to stand up and be recognized. He then asked everyone else to stand and, “give a moment of silence to all those brave men and women who have served this country and given their last measure of devotion”.
Veterans Association Chaplain Jay Welty gave the blessing before everyone sat down to a delicious lunch of pulled pork and chicken-salad sandwiches, scoops of macaroni and cheese, potato salad, three bean salad, cake and ice cream catered by Toppers Tavern.
Anticipation mounted as everyone wanted to hear who this year’s winners would be.
Director of golf Dale Smauder announced that after a friendly competition between the services, the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard had once again taken the trophy, and that the trophy would be on display at the pro shop.
The rest of the afternoon was filled with heartfelt thank yous to all the volunteers who had contributed to the success of the event, chance drawings and a wonderful silent auction.
Tony Hagwood, general manager of Brown’s Golf, took a few moments to thank everyone for their participation in such a fantastic cause.
Thanks to all the hard work of all the volunteers, sponsors, golfers from Spruce Creek and surrounding communities, and generous donations the event raised over $17,000.
Club activities and events are for Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club residents.
Mary Chariter is a resident of Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is one of the most important times of the year for any association. It is the time for annual meetings, when Condominiums hold a vote to decide who will sit on their Board of Directors. It is crucial that you are familiar with some important statutes and rules to ensure a legal, conflict-free election. I will run through some of those important rules below
A candidate must give notice of their intent to run as well as be eligible for candidacy, no less than 40 days before the election, to run as a proper candidate. To be considered eligible the candidate must also meet certain criteria listed below
1. Co-owners may not sit on the board together unless they own multiple units in the community, and there are not enough candidates to fill the vacant spots.
2. If an owner is more than 90 days delinquent on any fee, fine, regular or special assessment they are not eligible.
3. A person who has been convicted of a felony in any US State or District, including crimes committed in other states that would be considered a felony in Florida, is not eligible unless their civil rights have been reinstated for a period no less than 5 years.
The notice of intent to run must be received by the association no less than 40 days before the election. It should be submitted by certified mail, return receipt requested, personal delivery, regular US mail, facsimile or telegram. The association must issue a receipt acknowledging delivery of the notice
Two notices must be mailed or delivered to the unit owners prior to the election itself in addition to the annual meeting notice.
First notice must be mailed or delivered at least 60 days prior to the election. It must include the association name and address, as well as remind the unit owners to submit their notice of intent in to run in writing, at least 40 days before the meeting.
The second notice must be mailed or delivered to the unit owners with the annual meeting notice and agenda no less than 14 days, and not more than 34 days prior to the election. The second notice should include the printed ballots, the envelopes for returning the ballots and candidate information sheets that were submitted to the board.
The personal information sheet should be only one side of an 8.5″x11″ sheet paper. It can include information about candidates background, education, and qualifications including factors relevant to the election. All candidates must have an equal amount of space for their personal sheet.
The included large envelope should be pre-addressed to the person authorized to receive the ballots. The large envelope must also contain a section for the voter’s name, unit identification and signature. The ballot, which contains all candidates names in alphabetical order is then placed in the smaller unmarked envelope. There should only be one ballot per envelope, but multiple small envelopes can be sent in a larger one if the owner has multiple units in the community. If the small envelope contains more than one ballot, those ballots will be disregarded. The large envelope is then mailed or hand delivered to the association, not to be opened until the election meeting.
The election must take place at the annual meeting and be held within 45 miles of the community. No quorum is required, but 20 percent of eligible voters must cast their ballots for the election to be valid. There must also be additional blank ballots at the meeting, for qualified voters who have not yet voted. These ballots must be in the same format, including the large envelope, info sheet, ballot and small unmarked envelope.
The ballots should be collected by an impartial committee which cannot include board members, officers, candidates or the spouses of those people. The election committee then checks the signature on the outer envelope against a list of qualified voters, checking each name off as they go. If there is no signature on the outer envelope then the vote is disregarded. Once the first outer envelope is opened for counting, the polls are closed. The inner envelopes are placed in a receptacle before counting openly in the presence of unit owners.
There can always be issues, even at the most well ran condo association elections. If you follow the guidelines provided above you will ensure that your election is legal and valid in the eyes of the chapter 718, Florida Statutes which govern Condo Associations.