Taking a page from many of the forward-thinking migratory birds that escape the northern chill of winter every year and head south to nest, so do the Destin Snowbirds. Shivering folks from Ontario, Canada to Michigan have been flocking to our emerald coast every season for some rest and respite in the gloriously warm, beachy landscapes. But that's not all we have to offer, this is a friendly city where all the folks "have time to say hello" according to poem "I've Fallen In Love With Destin," by LTC. Ret. Samuel Lombardo. The full poem can be found on the Destin Snowbird Club website.
The Club began during the winter of '73-74, when "Red" Lyon and his wife Virginia found sanctuary in their first retirement winter here, and during the season organized a group of like-minded friends who would enjoy evenings and socials together. The group slowly grew in size until the late 70s when the first official club papers incorporated the Destin Snowbird Club, Inc.
Today, membership in this non-profit is at around 3000 with a seven member board and a large committed community of volunteers who help organize and execute winter activities that range from games nights to Caribbean cruises, parties, bowling nights, bridge tournaments, golf scrambles and more. The Snowbird's are a welcome addition to the Destin community for those permanent residents who've become friends and extended family, and for the local economy that relies on the boon they bring to rental property, shopping and all-around positivity to the community.
In honor of this time of year, with the Snowbirds safely landing in the area, here are five things you didn't know about The Destin Snowbird Club!
5.) Each season a nominating committee nominates the members of the Board. For a nomination as president the process is always about progression; offering the nominee the experience of learning the ropes as second Vice-President and upwards. The system has proven to be very successful over the years, and the expertise of new volunteers are always welcome.
4.) The early days were painstakingly documented and each president's term of duty were recorded in what became "The History of Destin Snowbirds" which was published in 1998. This publication has been updated every year by former Club Historian, Addie Selid, who was the one to originally recommend the project.
3.) Each year, the Destin Snowbirds sponsor the Northwest Florida State College Music Department and Choir by providing financial scholarship opportunities.
2.) In the spring of 2014, the longtime club photographer David Harkness received a well-deserved plaque of recognition. He has been diligently and wonderfully documenting the fun and camaraderie of the club for more than 15 years, sharing pictures with local news publications and compiling photo journals for outgoing presidents.
1.) LTC. Ret. Samuel Lombardo, who's poem is featured on the site, has had poems published in local publications and is a decorated war hero whose military career spanned three wars: WWII, Korea and Vietnam. His medals include the Silver Star and Bronze Star of Valor.
Interested in learning more about the Destin Snowbirds? Tuesdays are their general meetings at the Community Center, or "The Roost" that features entertainment and door prizes! Visit the Destin Snowbird Club for info on how to get involved, or view their Calendar of Events for 2014/2015.
12273 US Hwy 98, Suite 204 | Miramar Beach, FL 32550
Office: 850-460-2955 | Fax: 850-807-2999