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Aboard the SS Blakely Hall in 2014

By Christy Garrard, Executive Director for Highlands Council and Dahlia Park Resident

Jan 2015 feature story V2 SMOne way to describe living in Issaquah Highlands is to living on a land-locked cruise ship; with Highlands Council as your onboard cruise director for all things social.  You can chose to stay in your cabin (home) and enjoy a very private journey or you can take advantage of the variety of entertainment options made available for all ages and interests.  Either way, you pay for the entertainment, whether you participate or not, via the community enhancement fee that is not assessed until you sell your home.

We start each year with a resident orientation to provide new passengers (neighbors) with foundational knowledge of urban village living. Then we do it again mid-year, usually in September.  No matter how long you have lived here, all are welcome to attend. The next orientation is January 22nd at 7pm inside Blakely Hall.

The rest of the year is a full itinerary of events from art shows to film screenings, town halls to toddler groups, celebrations, ceremonies and concerts.  Highlights of our 2014 journey include a week-long celebration of the arts with Art Outside at the Highlands Day Festival in July.  Our next big port of call was Halloween in the Highlands, a family-friendly festival at Grand Ridge Plaza that had many pre-events such as Thriller flash mob rehearsals and a community costume swap to get us all in the fall spirit.

The HY or Highlands Youth, this year on its maiden voyage, hosted several events just for our teen passengers, including Seahawks parties, a flashlight egg hunt, summer human-sized nest build as part of Art Outside, and a fun photo-booth and thankful tree activity at the Halloween Festival.

Of course many of the programs, clubs and affinity groups that meet at Blakely Hall are resident-initiated and volunteer run.  Highlands Day and Halloween Festivals are staff produced but managed by a large group of community volunteer leaders and support folks.  We celebrate these volunteers annually with a Volunteer Appreciation event each spring.

Enjoy this montage of last year’s adventures.  Come out of your cabin this year and join us on deck at one of a variety of social opportunities. No matter your age or interest, there is something for you and your family.  And if you don’t see it in the Community Calendar do let us know.  Your cruise director staff here at Highlands Council is happy to accommodate.  Bon Voyage in 2015.