When COVID-19 shut down the City of Clermont’s senior facilities, staff innovated.

The Parks and Recreation Department devised a way to continue its senior bingo program – by going virtual.

To staff’s delight, bringing the program online more than doubled participation. The fourth 10-week series starts April 1 and continues at 2 p.m. every Thursday on the City of Clermont’s YouTube channel. Those who’d like to participate can register for free by emailing ADingman@ClermontFL.org.

“Virtual bingo has provided our seniors with a fun, safe activity to enjoy every week,” Interim City Manager Susan Dauderis said. “Many seniors have been socially isolated during the pandemic, but virtual bingo has helped connect them to the community.”

Over 60 residents consistently tune in to play the free Champions for a Lifetime program. Participants receive emails with digital bingo cards and theme details. Themes have included nautical, aloha, roaring twenties, sports and the great outdoors. Prizes are awarded to the winner of each series.

“Our seniors have provided us with a lot of positive feedback regarding virtual bingo,” Clermont Parks and Recreation Director Scott Davidoff said. “Their photos and notes have inspired us to continue offering the online option, even after we restarted in-person programming this past fall.”

Parks and Recreation Specialist Amy Dingman serves as the cheerful caller, and her outfit and table decorations are always festive.

Resident Sandy Jaster said she enjoys seeing Dingman’s smiling face and the creative theme of the week. Jaster never played bingo at the city’s facilities, but started when it went virtual.

“I look forward to this each week,” Jaster said.

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