Even though school is almost out, it’s still springtime and love is in the air! On Friday, May 11th 2018, The Arc of Nature Coast had their annual Spring Fling Dance. It was held at their education center, 6495 Mariner Blvd in Spring Hill. The education center provides Life Skills Development services for over 250 adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities from Pasco and Hernando Counties.
The Arc Nature Coast holds 5 dances a year and they are open to the public. There is the Sweethearts Dance in February, Spring Fling in May, Summer Sizzler in August, Halloween Costume Party in October, and a Christmas Dance in December. The Halloween Dance is very popular because there is a costume contest and the Christmas Dance is a community favorite because Santa visits and gives everyone a gift. The dances are held from 7pm – 10pm, and there is always plenty of pizza, drinks, and snacks to go around. The cost is $5 for each attendee but parents and volunteers get in free. There are door prizes and a raffle at the end of the night. The Arc Nature Coast even hires a deputy for the night to ensure everyone’s safety.
This Spring Fling was the first dance since their dear friend and volunteer, Joe Capote passed. Joe’s wife, Gail, is an instructor at the education center and their son, PJ the DJ Lobato was the amazing DJ for the night, cranking out all the fun tunes for people to dance to. At the end of the night, PJ and Gail were presented with a memorial brick paver that will be placed in the donor courtyard of the education center in honor of Joe’s service to The Arc Nature Coast.
Nancy Stubbs, who has been with the arc for 17 years, says that they put on the dances because the people they serve enjoy them. It’s a way for them to socialize with their friends and make new friends. The dances originally started about 25 years ago, hosted by the Arc Nature Coast’s Parent Support Group. Since then, the Parent Support Group has disbanded, however the dances are so popular that the tradition has continued.
Most of the prep work for the dance is done by the enrichment center, but other Arc volunteers help out as well. The actual facility is used until 3pm for Arc programs, so there’s only a few hours to get everything ready. Anyone interested in donating door prizes for future dances or volunteering with this wonderful group should contact Nancy at [email protected].