A Game for All Ages and a Fun Way to Get to Know Your Neighbors

I recently had an opportunity to sit down with Rick Halla, the President of the Bocce Buddies. They are a chartered club with over 75 members and counting! According to Halla, “it’s just a fun way to get to know your neighbors, to get outside and enjoy our beautiful weather and to get a little exercise in, no matter your age and fitness level!”

On the day we sat down, there were more than 25 club members present to play a game of Bocce Ball with their neighbors. During a typical 90-minute meeting (the club meets on Mondays and Fridays at 8:30 AM and Tuesdays at 6:30 PM) they hope to be able to finish two games, however, due to the ever-increasing level of these players, they sometimes barely get in one game. Take club member George, a 92-year old resident, I observed this day, who walks slowly and even created a custom cane to pick up his balls, but he can throw the ball with a marksman’s accuracy. Halla reported, that over time, he has witnessed some residents’ health improve through their participation in the club. “We make sure we are playing as many 2 x 2 games as possible, which provides for more walking back and forth for the members, therefore, increasing their daily exercise.” There is no prerequisite for joining the Bocce Buddies, other than a desire to play! “There are new people joining all the time,” says Halla, “our members are great at teaching the rules and assisting new members with strategy. We welcome all levels to play and join our club! There are no membership dues.”

What’s turning out more and more residents, says Rick Halla, “is the awesome newly refurbished Bocce Courts at the Montecito Clubhouse just outside the HOA offices. Our courts were previously in major disrepair, making it no fun to play on. There were tears in the grass, an uneven playing surface and inconsistent and damaged side boards that needed replacement. The courts were not just an eyesore, but a misrepresentation of how we want our SCSH Community to be perceived on the outside. As a realtor, I wouldn’t show the Bocce Courts when I had a buyer, because I didn’t want them to think that this was typical of how SCSH maintained our amenities,” Halla said.

Halla and others began a campaign to educate the Board of Directors about the need for this refurbishment project. Their arguments for the need of repair and replacement funds included, how the current state of the courts prevented our residents from enjoying one of our amenities, how these courts looked to an outsider considering a purchase in SCSH, not to mention how it prevented our Bocce Buddies from ever hosting an event for our residents to participate competitively. The BOD looked at the many issues presented to them by Halla and others and they were quick to respond with the necessary funding to repair all seven of the courts – five at the Montecito Clubhouse, and two at the Santa Rosa Clubhouse; although they have run out of the replacement grass, so one court at the Santa Rosa has been out of commission for a while now . . . we need to check on that,” says Halla. “We really appreciate and would like to thank the HOA Board of Directors, especially Erica Hedlund and Barb Stocky, for their help in funding our project.”

The club plays year-round in foursomes and groups of six. If residents want to play Bocce at any time other than when the club meets, bocce balls are available for use at the Fitness desk.

For more information on the club, or anything to do with the Bocce Buddies, please call Rick Halla at (760) 347-9676 or just drop in anytime the club meets. The club meets on Mondays and Fridays at 8:30 AM and Tuesdays evenings at 6:30 PM at the Montecito Clubhouse.

Erin Smith
Information Advisory Committee