Report to Members on Recent Activities of HCCF – Spring of 2014
Walk-A-Thon / Sports Day:  On 22 March 2014 we held this event.  We made $7,600.  We had two newspaper articles (one in the Sun and one is the Herald-Tribune) subsequent to this event.  Barb & Chip Smith organized this event very well.  We thank them and all the neighborhood volunteers for their organizing efforts.  Scrub Jay Glen had the most money raised and the most contestants of all the neighborhoods – well done!  Country Club Cove was judged to have the best spirit.  We thank Tom Rainey, golf course superintendent, for setting up the putting holes on the first green at the top of the practice area.  We thank Mike Smith for setting up the tennis area for the competition on hitting a target with a tennis serve.  He ran that event as well.  We thank Chris Trottier for donating the hot dogs; and, Rozier & Jane Sharp for donating the cookies.  In the putting contest there was a three-way tie among David WellsTom Prickett, and Jim Woods with 6 strokes over three holes.  In the tennis serving contest, the winner was Frank Daly with Roberta Gorton in second place.
Annual Food Drive for North Port School Students:  The Community Services Committee under the leadership of Jennifer Dirrigl had a very successful food drive.  Volunteers delivered food to the pantries of North Port High School and the Imagine School on 3 March.  Ten van or truck loads of food were distributed; 60% to North Port HS and 40% to the Imagine School.  We extend thanks to all who contributed food and helped to deliver the goods.
Crowded Calendar and a Re-evaluation:  The annual calendar for HCCF concentrates activities from October through March to match the period when most residents are in Heron Creek.  In that span we have: (1) a grants cycle from August to mid-November; (2) annual nominations from October to December; (3)  a wine tasting gala fund raiser in early November; (4) a golf tournament fund raiser that has spanned the time from early January to early February; (5) the annual meeting of the membership in mid-January; (6) the orientation of new directors in early February; (7) the annual food drive for North Port students in late February to early March; and (8) the annual walk-a-thon / sports day fund raiser in late March.  We have formed a subcommittee of the HCCF Board to study that calendar for a better arrangement, including the possibility to replacing something that has a good promise of an improvement.  Some things (e.g., annual meeting) cannot be moved without a By Laws change by the membership.  Some have complained that we have too many requests too close together (e.g., the food drive followed by the walk-a-thon).  The re-evaluation is to address this concern.  However, a greater concern to the president of HCCF in 2014 is the workload of the volunteers.  I am acutely aware of that impact.  Those “too many…too close” complaints will not exist if the volunteers quit in substantial numbers.
Membership Drive:  The Membership Committee is chaired by Bob Finitzer.  In March that committee sent out letters with a new brochure to those households in Heron Creek who are not members of HCCF inviting them to join.  It is too early to report on the results.  That committee sends a reminder to each member at the annual date when dues are expected. 
Start of a Benefactor Program:  The HCCF Board has agreed to implement a Benefactor Program to local businesses and professional persons.  The idea includes several things: (1) a one-and-done concept; (2) a three tiered price and recognition levels for businesses and professional persons to choose; and (3) an approach to them through the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce (NPACC) by getting known both organizationally and individually to the business community in North Port.  Membership in HCCF will remain exclusive to homeowners in Heron Creek, or former homeowners, or members of Heron Creek Golf & Country Club.  The one-and-done concept means that we go to businesses and professional persons for a contribution once a year instead of each time there is a fundraiser, three times in 6 months.  HCCF is a member of NPACC since the summer of 2013 under the sponsorship of HCCF Board member Richard Wimmer.
A Visit to Neuro Challenge, Inc., in North Port:  HCCF made a grant to Neuro Challenge, Inc., in November 2013 so that they could set up an office in North Port to serve families with a member who has Parkinson’s disease (PD).  On 24 March Dale Kirkland visited their office at 5600 Peace River Road in North Port to observe what has been done and what they are doing.  He met with the program coordinator, Carisa Campanella.  She showed him a spreadsheet of the equipment our grant funded to set up two rooms in that white building behind the Presbyterian Church on N. Sumter Blvd.  They have an office room and a consultation room.  They are serving about 30 to 40 persons (PD sufferer and care giver) in North Port and were surprised at the demand.  She said that about 60% of the PD clients are men and noted that many are veterans of the Vietnam War.  She was deeply appreciative of the grant.
Food Request from GCCF:
On Monday, 31 March 2014, I sent an email to members of HCCF urging them to help GCCF and All Faiths Food Bank with a summer program designed to help feed approximately 21,000 youth in Sarasota County this summer.  HCCF is not responding to this appeal as an organization; rather, we hope that residents of Heron Creek respond individually to this appeal.
Dale Kirkland, President of HCCF