But the events also raise money. This month's tourney reaped $1,100, which will go toward buying picnic tables for the nature center's new pond pavilion, as well as classroom teaching materials that will be used by local school students and home schoolers who take field trips to the center.
Manchester resident Sharon Hughes, chair of Charlotte Quest's board of directors, said DePalmer's bocce-based fundraising has been invaluable to the nature center.
"The things we've been able to accomplish with what he donated have been tremendous," said Hughes, who recalls that it was DePalmer who first recruited her to serve on the board 17 years ago. "It's been wonderful that he's been able to do this for us."
Bill Skinner, a Manchester resident who serves as vice chair of the Charlotte's Quest board, agrees.
"It really has brought the community together," he said. "Vince and Pat open their house up to everybody and they give all the proceeds from the tournaments to help the community. And people have really gotten into the game when he exposed them to it."
For DePalmer, fundraising tournaments for Charlotte's Quest are a labor of love.
Then again, so is bocce, which he describes as a game based on a combination of skill, strategy and luck.
"In theory, bocce is probably closest to shuffleboard, but really nothing compares to it," said DePalmer, who is retired from the U.S. Air Force and the Social Security Administration. "There's lot of skill and technique and strategy involved."
"In some ways it's just like playing chess, except you can't always put the pieces where you want them to go. It's easy to play and it is easy to get the basic hang of it. Then you get more involved in it you realize it can get pretty challenging.
"But once you play, you're hooked."
For more information on DePalmer's annual slate of bocce tournaments to benefit Charlotte's Quest Nature Center, call 410-374-6193, or email email@example.com. The next dates will be in 2013, and information will be available at http://www.charlottesquestnaturecenter.com.
More information on bocce and rules of the game can be found of the Web site of the D.C. Bocce League, at http://www.dcbocce.com.