Dear Members of The VHA:
It’s been a full year since I turned over The VHA President’s job to Phil Walker. Let me start by saying that Phil has done a great job during the most trying times we as an organization have ever faced since our inception. During my five years as President there were many issues to deal with, but none like this. We, the thousands of VHA Members, owe Phil a big “Thank you” for his leadership!
Many of the various VHA programs and events that are normally provided to our community, such as New Resident Night, Golf Cart Safety, The Hoedown, Bingo, A Night With The Developer, Quarterly Town Halls, along with educational programs such as Where Your Money Goes, Snakes and Venom, Covenants and Restrictions, Living to 100, Cutting the Cord, and many others, have been severely impacted by the virus. We sincerely hope in 2021 and going forward that we can get back on track serving our members and The Villages as a whole by reinstating these and other programs on your behalf.
The VHA Leadership made the decision that our organization would be an apolitical one. There are enough quasi- political organizations in The Villages that bombard voters with mostly negative data trying to influence their choices, all the while searching for their next cause to use as a recruitment tool to get their candidates elected. I would caution you to beware of those who want to destroy what works, without a plan and proven evidence, but claim their way will be better. I’ve always wondered why people move here because they thought it was a terrific place to live in retirement, and then try to turn it into what they left behind. The Villages and District Government have a system in place that works very well even though it may not be perfect. I always remember the old axiom that says: “Don’t destroy the Good, in search of the Perfect.”
The VHA tries to establish working relationships with all entities that impact the lifestyle and property values that we’ve all chosen for our retirement years. Those entities include The District Government, The University of Florida Healthcare system, the Villages Health, The Hospital Auxiliary, the County Governments, the Wildwood, Fruitland Park, Lady Lake Governments, Law Enforcement and The Developer. Our efforts are directed towards being positive and trying to work with the organization with the ability to solve a problem. If not solved by working together, it could degrade into a law suit which, as we’ve learned in the past, can unnecessarily cost Villagers thousands of dollars to defend.
We worked with the District, PWAC, Village Center District and Sumter Landing District to get The Enrichment Academy (TEA) up and running when the Life Long Learning System was closed, and again worked with them to allow the existing PWAC to fulfill the advisory role South of CR-466 rather than create another level of bureaucracy. We were also the organization that provided support to residents in the Historic area when they were isolated by flooding with no power and food, and raised and sent thousands of dollars to Texas and The Bahamas when they were devastated by Hurricanes. We have a proven record of cooperation that is beneficial to all.
Our new website at www.thevha.net is operational, and will provide a wealth of information to facilitate living here in The Villages. Our monthly newsletter “The Voice” will continue to be delivered with the Daily Sun on the first Wednesday of each month; look for it. Both will provide you with an opportunity to join with us.
I have been asked many times: Why should I join The VHA? Let’s start with our Value Proposition which provides each member with the opportunity for:
- Communication Opportunities
(Providing Civil Discourse on Community Issues)
- Social Opportunities
(Enjoying Time Together)
- Educational Opportunities
(Learning new ideas and skills)
- Volunteer Opportunities
(Enhancing the Wellbeing of the Community)
- Philanthropic Opportunities
(Helping Those in Need)
Our Value Proposition contains numerous areas that make your membership valuable and a good investment. We currently have more than 16,000 members, and as I’ve said many times before, “The Larger We Are, the Louder Our Voice Becomes.”
The three branches of our organization: The VHA, The VHA Community Foundation, and The VHA Helping Hands, are working diligently as a team to support our Value Propositions, and we strive to offer each member an opportunity to participate in those efforts. Join us. We welcome your ideas and your support, and hope you will be willing to be part of something larger than yourself while giving back to your community.