From The Blog
KICA Core Functions: Recreation
KICA’s Recreation Department manages the amenities at The Sandcastle as well as the boat launches at Rhett’s Bluff and Eagle Point, the kayak launch and storage at Cinder Creek, private events and more. The department also offers an array of programs to enhance our members’ experience, from community clubs and fitness classes to cultural events.
The department is headed by Kay Narmour, who has been working at The Sandcastle almost since its inception. Originally hired for only six hours a week to cover while management was off, Narmour quickly began to handle weekend events and her hours increased. When she began working for KICA, “No one could foresee how The Sandcastle would eventually be used.”
Today, this essential department is professionally staffed and provides a broad range of opportunities for many interests and needs. They host numerous community groups, offers killed event planning, and oversee daily fitness and member recreational needs. The team provides interesting social, wellness, and educational opportunities, and is constantly creating exciting new offerings.
The crown jewel of the department’s facilities is The Sandcastle, the exclusive community club for all KICA members. The recreation staff, housed at The Sandcastle, provides a wide array of services and programs for members’ enjoyment. (To learn more about the origins of The Sandcastle facility and its uses over the years, view the November and December 2017 issues of Digest, available online at kica.us/digest.)
The newly-renovated beachfront facility is scheduled to reopen on July 3. Renovations include sweeping new views of the ocean from the first floor and a stunning new pool. With its surrounding Ipe deck and green lawn, the new pool will be a premier spot for island relaxation. The family pool will still provide swimming fun for families, along with the playground and kiddie pool.
The social experience will be elevated to a new level with the breezy new Sandbar, and tasty fare from Chef John Zucker at the Castle Grille. Zucker, a Best Chef America recipient, owns Cru Catering and Purlieu French bistro on the Peninsula.
Members will access The Sandcastle with a member card, which is also used for purchases from the Sandbar and Castle Grille. The card allows them to conveniently sign in for classes and programs, or pay for program fees. Accounts are billed at the end of each month, and members can authorize family to charge to their member account if they wish. To obtain a member card or find out more information, contact [email protected].
The Sandcastle is a popular rental venue for private member events, such as weddings, anniversaries and birthdays. Event staff can walk members through all of KICA’s available spaces, and can offer event planning support if requested. The Sandcastle includes a full caterer’s kitchen, and is the only island event space where you can select your own caterer.
Recreation and Fitness
One of many exciting updates that come with The Sandcastle renovations is an improvement to member fitness areas. With new state-of-the-art fitness equipment, the first floor will now feature panoramic ocean views from the gym and the multi-purpose Oceanview room. Wellness programs include fitness classes, yoga, Zumba, strength, weight and aerobic training, aqua aerobics and more. Susan Lozier of Total Fitness will continue offering fitness classes and personal training on-site, as she has done for 18 years.
Outdoor recreational programming includes swimming ,paddle sports and boating. Under the paddle sports umbrella, contractor Tidal Trails offers surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding and more. Kayak storage at the Cinder Creek facility is some of the most sought after space on the island. Visit kica.us/fitness for fitness offerings and water sport activities.
Community Clubs and Groups
Community clubs and groups are a great way for members to stay active and involved. These groups are hosted throughout KICA’s facilities, depending on their needs. In a typical fall week, Beachwalker Center and The Sandcastle might host photography, gardening, Bible study, bridge and book clubs, just to name a few. See a list of these groups at kica.us/groups.
There are also instructional classes introducing members to new interests or providing fun opportunities. For example, Our World is a series of free lectures and discussion on various topics, including history, culture, finance, current events, international affairs and much more. These talks are normally held twice a month from October to May at the Sandcastle. The department also hosts nationally known authors for presentations and book signings. Popular author Mary Alice Monroe has been a frequent visitor at Kiawah Reads.
Recreation staff are always looking for creative ways to delight and entertain. There are many opportunities to socialize and meet new neighbors at events like Sunset Music on the Creek, the KICA Oyster Roast, Celebrate Kiawah and the biannual Lowcountry Art and Artisan Showcase.
Meeting Daily Challenges With A Smile
One of the challenges the department juggles is the demand for space for all the programs and community uses. Among the many reasons the board acquired Beachwalker Center was to provide additional meeting space. When The Sandcastle reopens, some groups will return there, and others will remain at Beachwalker Center, which offers enhanced storage, visual and audio features that benefit some groups. Another challenge is staffing for a seven-day weekly operation. Recreation closes only on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Despite such challenges, the Recreation team loves being the “fun providers.”
The Recreation Department also acts in ways members never see. During the past three years of floods and storms, Recreation staff supported the departments working on island recovery. They greeted the tired workers, prepared and served meals, and bolstered their spirits – essentially organizing a respite for those who were working nearly around the clock in those initial days after storms. Narmour and her team, along with her husband, shopped, while the rest of the team set up tables and buffets. According to Narmour, “The power was out. Resources were slim. Our coworkers were exhausted with heavy, wet work. We did what came naturally in support of each other.”
While crises are rare, the Recreation Department offers support to KICA members on a daily basis. Narmour says, “My staff is hardworking, dedicated, innovative and creative. In addition to providing all these opportunities, they also attend to a wide array of member needs, and field questions outside the scope of the department. Member Services is a key role of the team, and they are all outstanding at providing that service.”