Friends of Boca Grande planning for a busy season

friends-of-bg-bookletBY SUE ERWIN – Tickets are selling out fast for the multitude of events planned by the Friends of the Boca Grande Community Center.

Programs are planned to begin in November.

“We’re trying to grow our Florida series. Many people are very concerned with the environmental and economic status of the state,” said Debbie Frank, Program Director for the organization.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam will speak about the many challenges Florida is facing that, if disregarded, will adversely affect the future of Florida’s water resources. Putnam is scheduled to speak at the community center auditorium on Monday, Nov. 14.

Florida – The Forgotten Coast, a program planned for Tuesday, Feb. 28, will include a discussion by conservation photographer and Florida Wildlife Corridor expedition team member Carlton Ward, Jr. and Debi Osborne, Director of Land Protection with the Conversation Foundation of the Gulf Coast. Jim Cooper, President of the Lemon Bay Conservancy will also participate in the talk.

Friends will be debuting a new series this year called “Global Issues” where they’ll be simulcasting from the Sarasota Institute of Lifelong Learning. There is no charge to attend but pre-registration is required.

“It’s a new topic and depending how it goes, we may eventually be able to bring the speakers here to talk live in the future,” Frank said.

The lectures will be held on Fridays from January through April.

Boca Grande Live will return this year beginning Friday, Jan. 13 featuring Coconut Cabaret with Bob Milne and will culminate with the National WWII Museum’s charming vocal trio the Victory Belles on Wednesday, April 17.

Grace Ott will be facilitating “Lessons Learned from Living” in a Health and Well Being program scheduled from November through April. The series will address the experience of illness, loss, trauma, survivorship and the inspiration that can follow. From coping to surviving and moving forward, the keynote speakers at each session will education and inform guests.

“We’re approaching the topics from an educational standpoint and these professionals will be speaking at no charge,” Frank said.

Another new addition this year on the agenda in health and well being is the SilverSneakers fitness program. National strength and conditioning association certified personal trainer Tricia Hamann will offer fitness classes at the community center. The SilverSneakers fitness program is the nation’s leading fitness program designed exclusively for older adults. This comprehensive program addresses the physical, mental and social needs of Medicare-eligible members (65-plus).

“We’re trying to build up our fitness approach on the island. This is a nationally recognized program and we are very excited to bring it here,” Frank said.

The popular Great Adventures series will be returning with keynote speaker Gary Knell, CEO of National Geographic. Knell will lead a discussion on the organization on January 24.

A brand new series, History and Heritage, will feature New York Times best-selling author Nathaniel Philbrick who will speak about his latest book “Valiant Ambition: George Washington. Benedict Arnold and the Fate of The American Revolution.

History’s Greatest Voyages, a small study group that will meet weekly in the special interest room, will explore the unknown and engage in conversations that drive scientific knowledge.

Medical School for Everyone will be returning once again in January with keynotes speaker Dr. Jim May and Dr. Les Nash.

“These programs were so popular last year, we knew it was important to bring them back,” Frank said.

Tickets for the “America’s Conflicts” series are going to be sold as a package through the end of the year. If there are tickets still remaining after January 1, they will be sold on an individual basis.

There will also be another free concert this year. “West of Galway” will perform on Sunday, March 19.

“Since it will be the weekend of St. Patrick’s Day, we thought it would be fun to bring in an Irish band to

entertain people,” Frank said.

For more information, visit Friendsofbocagrande.org.