Ocean Pines Resident’s Academy Planned

BERLIN – A new program in Ocean Pines is expected to give residents a firsthand look at how the homeowners association works.

This fall will mark the start of the first-ever Ocean Pines Association Resident’s Academy. Homeowners will be invited to take part in a free six- to eight-week course.

“We’re excited about the academy because it’ll allow members to understand what we do and how we do it,” said Bob Thompson, the association’s general manager.

Dates have not yet been finalized for the academy, but it will start sometime this fall, according to Teresa Travatello, the association’s director of marketing. She says the program will consist of a session a month. Each will be focused on a specific division or department.

“Participants will get a first-hand look at how the Ocean Pines Association and all its parts work,” she said. “We intend to make the sessions informal, interactive and fun.”

Travatello said she came up with the idea for the academy after taking part in a similar one herself in Delray Beach, Fla. There, Travatello participated in information sessions and tours of municipal facilities. She also learned how the city used tax money, how the budgeting process was done and the roles of the city’s employees.

“What will be neat about the Ocean Pines Association Resident’s Academy is that it will take what’s normally invisible — all the stuff that’s taken for granted, like where your water comes from and what happens to it when it enters your drain and where does your 911 emergency call go — and gives it meaning,” Travatello said. “It’s a hands-on, simple way to get an education into the gears of the homeowner’s association. The only cost is your time.”

Participants in the academy might do things like tour the police station or water treatment plant. They will also learn how the association’s budgeting process works and how the community interacts with Worcester County government.

Thompson said that because the association was member-owned, residents should appreciate the chance to learn more about the organization. He believes the academy will also serve to clear up many misconceptions about the association.

“This is an opportunity to learn more,” he said. “I’d hope folks would want to experience that.”

The academy will be free and applications will be available on the association’s website, www.oceanpines.org, in August.