This year has been quite a whirlwind! Nearly 12 months ago, the Carillon Beach community began planning for our 25th Anniversary. Our official community documents were signed on September 30th, 1991 and as we approached our Silver Anniversary year, the Carillon Beach Association board voted unanimously to make this a year to remember!
The mission for Carillon Beach’s 25th Anniversary was two-fold:
First and foremost, as a community, we wanted to recognize our milestone and celebrate our growth, maturity, and the achievement of having become one of the most pristine and “best kept secrets” on the Florida Panhandle. We are thankful to Mr. Bill Biggs who had the vision for our quiet “Village by the Sea”. Our white-picket fence lined streets are just a part of the grander plan conceived by renowned New Orleans architect Lloyd Vogt. Beautifully architected homes carefully set in the surrounding natural beauty have created perfect harmony with our mile-long white sandy beach. Carillon Beach is a wonderful haven and truly a best kept secret and we all recognize the magic in Mr. Biggs’ vision for our community.
Second, to give back to our community. What better way to celebrate the past, than to toast the future and return something meaningful to the greater Panama City community. The successful outcome of our planning was poignantly demonstrated by the joy, excitement, and endless gratitude from Carillon’s “extended family” at the Anchorage Children’s Home, a long time philanthropic interest for our community.
Special Recognition to Our Founder
During the elegant 25th Anniversary dinner, Mr. Bill Biggs was recognized by the Carillon Beach Association Board and presented a framed inscription commemorating the vision that he and his design and development team evolved into the Carillon Beach we all enjoy today. That inscription will be documented on a bronze plaque in the coming weeks and mounted in a prominent place on the Carillon Bell Tower for future generations of owners and guests to share.
Anchorage Children’s Home has been keeping kids safe for over 33 years in our community. Anchorage represents the “community vision” of four local citizens formed in 1983 to provide a safe place for runaway, homeless and abused teenagers. From those modest beginnings, Anchorage has grown to serve over 1000 youth and families annually through its’ emergency shelter, transitional living, group home care, counseling, street outreach and case management services to children in foster care.
Anchorage primarily depends on the support of our community to provide the essential care that abused and homeless youth deserve. Through community financial gifts, volunteerism, advocacy and awareness, Anchorage continues to provide a safety net to Bay County’s most vulnerable children. To learn more about Anchorage’s mission, needs, or ways to get involved, please visit www.anchoragechildrenshome.org, follow on social media through Facebook and Twitter, or call 850-763-7102.
A Year of 25th Anniversary Events
The Carillon Beach Institute and Carillon Beach Association sponsored several special 25th Anniversary Events throughout the year, including the fabulous 4th of July flyover “Carillon Beach ON THE BEACH”, Yoga on the Village Green, and 25th Anniversary hats. In October of 2016, highlighted events included a 25th Anniversary tented dinner “Under the Lights”. Food was provided by Trebeache’, wine by Carousel, and entertainment by acclaimed local artist, David Searing. During the dinner, a very successful Silent Auction focused our philanthropic objectives for Anchorage. On Saturday, we held our first ever Anniversary 5K & Fun Run, an Anniversary Festival including hayrides, cornhole, storytelling, and music (complete with contests!), a well-received Tour of Homes, and concluded with a special “Groovin’ on the Green” featuring The Mighty Hurricanes. It’s one thing to have the opportunity to participate and have fun at these events, but the best story is about the support and result of the events. While the Carillon Beach Association and Carillon Beach Institute sponsored the events, many of which were planned for the first time in our 25 years, we were overwhelmed by various homeowners, sponsors, and donors for all our events.
Our Goal and Our Results
Our initial goal was to raise $10,000 for Anchorage Children’s Home, but due to the exceptional generosity and support of our sponsors, donors, and community, we nearly doubled our goal. On Friday, October 21st, Carillon Beach Association presented Anchorage Children’s Home with a check for $18,865.
Two stories particularly touched the hearts of our volunteers. First, a group of teenagers from Anchorage Children’s Home came to the Children’s activities on The Village Green on Saturday October 15th. These kids, ranging in age from 12 – 17, enjoyed learning and playing cornhole, and the hayride, but most especially they enjoyed the music contests. Here’s the first story –
As the DJ was contemplating activities for this age group, one young man approached me and asked “Do you think we could have a dance competition?”. I told him that would be a great idea and he needed to talk to the DJ. He promptly pursued the discussion and within 5 minutes, the competition started! Earlier in the day, we sponsored a 5K and Fun Run and we still had some remaining finisher medals. To create some friendly competition, we organized footraces and “Simon Says” contests and we quickly learned they all enjoyed the medals. So – the story continues.
The young man approached me again and asked “Do you have any medals left?”. I told him I did, and he pondered and stared at the sky for a few seconds and then asked “Do you have enough medals for all of us?”. I told him I did, and he grinned, stared around for a few more seconds and very softly (in almost a whisper) asked “Do you think we could all get some medals for the competition?”. I nodded my head and said “of course” and he beamed with pride and ran back to the competition group as if he had found the golden egg! He then lined up all the competitors, came back to me and asked “Do you think it might be okay if I handed them out?”. I said yes and this young man proceeded to award each competitor with a medal that might as well have been an Olympic Gold medal. Each kid bowed their head, he carefully placed the medal around their neck, shook their hand and said “congratulations”. He systematically went through the process until he was finished handing out all the medals. He was the last competitor, so when he was finished with the medal distribution, he turned around, lowered his head, placed a medal around his own neck, stepped back into the lineup and crossed his hands. They all posed with such great pride! I thought to myself – this is what it’s all about!
It doesn’t end there. Here’s the second story —
Much later in the afternoon, a group of young children from Anchorage came to The Village Green. Unfortunately, the activities were winding down in preparation for the night concert – but the kids created their own entertainment and had a great time running around the Village Green, laughing and grinning from “ear to ear”. We arranged for the group to have pizza and lemonade on the patio of The Lake House. One of the counselors told me that they haven’t been able to have a meal like this (sitting down all around the table) in a long time and she was very appreciative. The Lake House provided the food and drink (Thank you!). As the kids were preparing to leave, one precious little dark-haired boy approached Marie (Carillon Beach 25th Anniversary Committee Member), hugged her neck, and said “This was probably the best night of my life, thank you”.
As Marie and I compared stories and shared the experiences, we both agreed – this is truly what it’s all about. Giving back to our community and making a difference in a child’s life – even if just for a part of a day, this is what our community’s hard work was about. After all, our Children Are OUR Future.
It’s all about the kids – isn’t it?
Farewell to our Last 25 Years, and Hello to our next 25 Years
As our 25th year draws to a close here in Carillon Beach, Florida, our community focuses on the next 25 years. We will turn toward the job of sustaining and improving our little paradise and looking for new ways to give back to our community!
By Tammi Thomas, Carillon Beach 25th Anniversary Committee Chair