HOA, library host Zoom-based webinars

Sam Maner, a genealogist, gets ready to host another webinar like the one he hosted Jan. 25 for members of the Tellico Village HomeOwners Association.

Tellico Village HomeOwners Association has partnered with The Public Library at Tellico Village to bring residents a new, virtual way to gather and keep busy.

The library for six years has hosted a variety of seminars ranging in topics such as genealogy, Civil War history and financial planning, Carol DeForest, library director, said.

“When COVID hit, I couldn’t do them in-house anymore,” Deforest said. “Ken Litke (HOA president) not too long ago said, ‘Let’s do Zooms,’ and I contacted all the people that I had been using in the past — most of them have answered me — and asked if they wanted to Zoom and most of them did. He’s doing all the technical aspects of that. … We’re doing all the classes through Zoom, and I think they’re going to be popular this way, too.”

Ken Litke, HOA president, said he got the idea to approach DeForest because of the impact COVID-19 has had on all organizations within the Village. He hopes to soon collaborate with others, like the Tellico Village Computer Users Club, to conduct similar online activities.

Litke said throughout the pandemic, the HOA has been able to fulfill the resident advocacy portion of its mission. Social activities, however, came to a halt.

“We wanted to make sure our events are conducted in a manner that meets current recommendations to make it as safe as possible for our members as well as our volunteers,” Litke said. “Some may say we are moving too slowly and some may say too quickly. Our board decided it’s better to move cautiously. While we’re planning a limited number of face-to-face events, we are currently conducting many events online that we hope can disrupt the winter doldrums by providing fun classes, lecture series and other events that can keep your brain buzzing and your imagination humming.”

HOA hosted Thursday a financial education webinar for members, which is a “great example” of the virtual activities members can participate in, Litke said.

Genealogist Sam Maner hosted a genealogy webinar Jan. 25. Maner has been working with the library on hosting similar seminars for years and has taught genealogy at Pellissippi State Community College for 15 years.

While the online class format does pose challenges— like not being able to work hands-on with individuals — it covers the basics. He lets members know they can call him with additional questions.

Maner said the class had “pretty good attendance,” and he believes attendees “got a quite bit out of it.”

“In addition, we have Zoom meetings on … Civil War history, legal changes affecting seniors, online games, Medicare, Social Security tips, things like that,” Litke said. “All of these things are on TellicoLife for viewing or in our HOA social update, which we send out a lot.”

Litke started the webinars to keep people busy while they’re stuck inside during cold weather months. Once temperatures start to rise, he said he has outdoor activities planned.

“HOA is planning on starting a number of outdoor activities beginning March — trivia, Singo,” he said. “… The HOA is planning a special virtual social event for March. … Our new normal maybe is having our face-to-face socials and meetings where it makes sense, but also having some real educational things as well, continuing that on. We never did that in the past but have more of those.”