Clubs adjust to closures in Sun City West

Each group impacted differently


Closures community-wide were put in place by the Recreation Centers of Sun City West and clubs were greatly affected.

Some have lost revenue due to the cancellation of the Spring Arts and Crafts Fair at RCSCW, which was scheduled for March 21. However, there are others continuing with business as usual, due to minimal contact. While others found a new way to operate.

Agricultural Club President Jim Gricol said the closure on their garden facility, 17800 N. 137th Drive, lasted approximately six hours.

“The rec centers officials decided we don’t congregate in groups and we typically keep our distance from each other while we tend our gardens,” he explained. “So they changed their mind and opened it back up for us.”

Plot Manager Scotty Brooks said its business as usual, but they are not to congregate on the patio as normal. He said for now, club members get work done at each of their garden space and then head home.

“We had to appeal to the rec centers to justify keeping our space open as it is an antisocial sport, and simply if not attended our food will ruin,” Mr. Brooks said. “Several people grow large quantities for the food bank in Sun City and it would truly pay the price if members couldn’t work to grow and get the food there.”

Mr. Brooks said members garden for relaxation and some even have more than one space, where food is grown and given away. Typically, members swap different types of food, but that ceased under social distancing guidelines.

Members of the club were grateful to be able to get back to their gardens as they worried about jeopardizing the food during the closure, which is now extended through May 3.

“It’s been really nice to get out to the gardens because most clubs are sitting around trying to figure out what to do and we’re mostly carrying on as normal,” Mr. Gricol said.

For the Decorative Art Club and Rhonda Potts, club president, painting has all but stopped. While some members are in the beginning stages of learning to paint, such as Ms. Potts, she said with more than one-year experience, she relies on the expertise of the more advanced painters to help.

“We miss the social contact and for me, since I am a new painter, I rely on my teachers, which are experienced club members who are my mentors. I am at a standstill right now,” she said. “I need to practice what I learned during class and I need those people to guide me through my inexperience.”

The club meets once per week and was ready for the craft fair as well, but now Ms. Potts said individual members will have to hold off until fall and have extra to sell. She said some of the more advanced painters finish projects daily so the numbers can be high in what has been created and ready for sale at the Village Store or craft fairs.

Ms. Potts said the club is sending email updates and communicating with members sharing any type of closure information.

“There is only so much you can do so we will wait to formulate our class schedule when we are going to get back into the building,” she said.

The Palo Verde Patchers club President Kathy Tiede said the group of 250 are communicating via a private Facebook group in hopes of keeping people up to date on the latest news from the rec centers and also sharing different projects created during quarantine.

The Palo Verde Patchers are part of the clubs getting an upgraded facility in Kuentz Recreation Center, 14401 R.H. Johnson Blvd.

“They are building a quilt room for us and before that we have shared rooms with about three other clubs,” Ms. Tiede said. “We were so grateful last year the governing board voted in May to get these new facilities since we have grown to be so large and then we will be open six days a week.”

This is the time of year when winter visitors leave for the summer months so club numbers are not quite as high, but starting next fall the club will have a new look. While members have also been prepping for the festivals this spring and fall, the fundraiser for the club is a quilt show at Palm Ridge Recreation Center, 13800 W. Deer Valley Drive, which is schedule for February of 2021.

“This is the way we raise money,” Ms. Tiede said. “Members also sell at the Village store and boutique, but that’s the individual member’s money. We live off of the funds raised for two years on the quilt show every other year.”

Some members are working on projects from home for future sales or donations.

Club members are also busy making quilts to send to the New Life Center, 415 N. Litchfield Road, Goodyear, which is a shelter for abused women and children. Club members are also working on Quilts of Honor for various veteran groups.

However, the donations will not be made until the room reopens, nor will any more presentations take place.