Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bingo!

We had a nice turn out for our first summer activities this week. Many thanks to Diane Gaines and park management for hosting these events for us “year rounders” who aren’t scared away by the heat of the desert sun.

Sunday’s ice cream social provided a pleasant “social hour” to get together with neighbors and meet new friends. The only thing we had to bring was our favorite topping. With all those choices on the table, we built some delicious Sundaes! Yum!

Monday was Bingo!! A special “Thank You” goes to Flo Fillipi for hosting the event. I think I could write a whole article about Bingo and all the work that goes on behind the scenes. Bingo is actually one of the biggest events held at Palm Creek as it occurs every Monday during season and involves several hundred people each week.

Palm Creek must obtain a special license to provide bingo on the premises and along with a license comes volumes of rules and the red tape of paperwork. Lori, a past Activities Director, went to the City Council to apply for the park's first bingo license many moons ago. As the park grew, Flo went back to the council for a second license. Did you know there is actually a State Department of Revenue—Bingo Division? They have the power to yea or nay a bingo license and they take in about 2.5% of the gross income generated from the games. What will bureaucracy think of next? Anyway….Flo takes care of all the paperwork and the reports that are required plus makes sure the licenses are renewed each year. She is the heartbeat of our bingo success.

Flo studies the official bingo rule book to make sure Palm Creek is in compliance and never comes in danger of license revocation. As the park grew and a second license was obtained, we were lucky to find another volunteer to head up that second license. A thank you also goes to Jackie Johnson (and hubby, Don who sometimes serves as supervisor on game nights or staffs the caller’s box). Flo and Jackie are responsible to make sure the “official” bingo rules are read at the beginning of each game. That’s why you will always hear them pleading for people to be quiet long enough for the “reading of the rules”. Our licenses dictate that the maximum we can award is $1,000 in one game and total for evening can not exceed $3,000. That is why sometimes we have to offer more chances to win jackpots because we can't exceed giving more than a $1,000 in a game. Flo did write a check once for $1,000 to a VERY lucky winner



Jackie (left), Flo (right), Linda (seated)

Flo and Jackie must round up enough volunteers to assist with each game. The ticket sellers, money handlers, and the caller must all be signed up on each license. That fat rule book specifically lists the duties of each position. That’s why you see the call back people who read off the numbers on a bingo card plus a separate person to hand out the prize money. A call back person can’t handle the cash. A bingo supervisor who sits at the back table as “judge” and counts the sale money can’t actually participate or play the game. I was really surprised to learn how many people it takes to make our bingo events a success. AND…..don’t forget those wonderful, generous, friendly folks who staff the kitchen each week. This year we were very fortunate to have Ted and Donna join our park. They staffed the kitchen EVERY week this past season.

Again…..a sincere thank you to Flo and Jackie plus their roster of volunteers who stage our bingo games. You folks provide laughter, entertainment, camaraderie, and FUN to hundreds of people week after week….year after year. I as an avid Bingo fan salute you.



Don Johnson.....Bingo Caller

P.S. Yes.....you must wear your name tag to bingo every time you play. Please don't ask to be excused from that rule as it applies to everyone. As the population of Palm Creek continues to grow, it is a very good idea to wear that name tag to ALL events.

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