By PHYLLIS HODGES
The COVID pandemic stopped Sun City Center group activities in their tracks for the past several years. One casualty was the Community Association’s Hi, Neighbor! annual gathering that rolls out the red carpet for new CA members. When the CA gave Hospitality Committee Chair Janet Ditmore the go-ahead this summer for the come-back November event, planning kicked into high gear. Ditmore said that having worked with CA Event/Room Reservation Director Claudia Hinson for 10 years or so on this event, they have their act together to ensure each Hi, Neighbor! is better than the last.
The job included getting the word out to hundreds of new CA members who have moved into SCC since the last Hi, Neighbor! in 2019. It was evident that the message was received as droves flowed into the Community Hall on South Pebble Beach to take advantage of the opportunity to talk to representatives of CA clubs and 12 other community groups. The CA has 113 clubs and 75 of those participated, including three that have been formed recently (Baggin’ & Braggin’ Cornhole, Ballet/Tap and Swing & Country Dance). Current residents joined the fun to mingle and explore activities that might be of interest.
In addition to Hinson and the CA maintenance staff, Ditmore said she appreciates the volunteers from the information center who served as greeters and members of the SCC Line Dance Club who manned the cookies and drinks table.
The SCC History Society has traced the beginning of Hi, Neighbor! back to 1962 when the Del Webb activities director heard one of the residents call out, “Hi, Neighbor!” to a couple moving in across the street. He thought that was the perfect name for a group to welcome new home buyers. The first event was a potluck dinner, which, no doubt, most of the 300 or so new residents were delighted to attend. It soon became a club that met monthly for several years.