Have a ball. Two of the most popular and long-standing activities that attract members of the Walton County Snowbirds are basketball and ballroom dancing.
The Paul Smithers Snowbirds Legends Basketball League is so popular that they hold an early season in November and December for local players and early arriving snowbirds. Its regular season runs from January to March. The program is open to groups of snowbirds from Panama City, Destin, Fort Walton and Navarre Beach as well as those from Walton County. Players are 55 or older with the majority of recent years in the 60-75 age bracket. The rules of the National Senior Games Association are followed by teams generally three against three. The United Methodist Church of Destiny rule of “no shirts or skins” is also followed. Players are asked to come prepared with a dark shirt and a white shirt. Half-court games are played by the active 20-25 people who attend scheduled “pick-up” sessions most Mondays from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Life Center of The United Methodist Church of Destin, 200 Beach Drive. Although there is no cost to participate, a collection (suggested amount of $30 each) is made during the season from January to March as a donation to the church. For important contact information, go to the Walton County Snowbirds website, http://waltoncountysnowbirds.com.
Ballroom dancing, according to a recent AARP Bulletin article, is similar to basketball in that it’s fun, requires almost no equipment, and boosts cardio. For the Walton County Snowbirds, the two are also alike because sessions are on Mondays. Dancers meet at Faith Assembly Hall, 306 South Geronimo Street in Miramar Beach, Monday evenings at 5:45 p.m. The basic courses for beginners last one hour. The focus is on basic dance floor etiquette, style and steps. Advanced beginners take the stage at 6:45 p.m. and stay until 8 p.m., learning more advanced steps.
Facilitators Len and Jan Hoover, assisted by Dave and Gail Tudman, assist beginners who choose to stay to practice with one-on-one assistance during this time. Members are requested to wear the Walton County Snowbird name badges received upon registration. No additional fees beyond the general initiation evaluation of $20 are required. Shoes with smooth or leather soles work best but are not required. Wearing a mask is encouraged.
Additional information on other ball game activity groups and other dance activities can be found at http://waltoncountysnowbirds.com. The leaders will be delighted that you contact them with any questions. The website contains the dates of the next registrations and general meetings. Participate, join and come have fun!
Debra Wynn, whose other home is in Connecticut, looks forward to another year as a member of the Walton County Snowbirds.