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Parrot Heads In Michiana
Carey Bert, President
Parrot Heads In Michiana
Our club really began years ago with a group of people growing up in the same vicinity but not knowing each other at all. This common thread which connected them was the music of Jimmy Buffett. They all found comfort, enjoyment, and meaning in his music, as it touched them in a way other music did not. Some of these people had been listening to this tropical music for decades and others for just a year or two. The length of time they had enjoyed Buffett’s music did not matter.
What did matter was that at a particular point in their lives they all felt compelled to seek out others who felt the same way that they did, others who not only enjoyed his music but wanted to make the world they lived in a better place. It was not until our Founder, Jan Caudell, inquired of PHiP about forming an official club, that Parrot Heads in Michiana came into existence. Although our club has only been in existence for a short four years time, it has grown by leaps and bounds. The first meeting was attended by six people. Five of these came back for the second, and were joined by 6 others. The third meeting was a club Christmas Party and it was very well attended by the members at that time. At that time the club was approximately 25 members, and that Christmas marked the club’s first participation in a charitable event.
The event was one put on by a local television station. At that event the Parrot Heads made their first public appearance and were a big hit. Our members definitely made a scene and not only helped the charities, but got our club’s name and existence out in front of a large group of people.
The next big club fundraiser was a food drive in March of that year. With that event the officers began learning a lot about using the media to our benefit, and who to contact for publicity. We also began learning what did and did not work and how to utilize our membership to help with our fundraising projects. The drive was held at a busy local supermarket and was our first taste of the success of putting on a charitable event on our own. It proved to be a very addictive experience, and left many of our members hungry for more successes.
Our next event really proved to be a turning point for the club. This next taste of success came about in May from an unexpected source. Our host restaurant for our monthly business meetings had been putting on a huge Buffett text party for years. They asked if our group would like to have a section of their text to use anyway we would like. We replied, “Hell, yes we would!” As it turned out, they gave us an entire side text to use, so we decided to choose as our charity a local camp for disabled children. We invited other Parrot Head clubs in the area and set up games, raffles, and sold “Naked Parrot” shots. We negotiated a special rate with a hotel and planned an afternoon “Meet and Greet” with food and entertainment and a bus to the tent party. We partied just like Bubba does and did the old man proud. We raised $1,600.00 for the charity and had a blast doing it.
Not only had it been the largest project we had attempted, but this particular event really got our name out there to a lot of prospective members, and we signed up a few new members in the process. Membership snowballed, and with each new event we participated in, more people expressed an interest in joining. Every meeting saw the ranks grow until the club now stands at 80 members strong.
The club’s officers feel very strongly that it is important to support other Clubs’ events. We heavily advertise these events on our website and in emails and encourage our members to attend whenever possible. In addition, the officers themselves attempt to attend as many events as humanly and financially possible.. We have continued actively soliciting new members. In addition, the club has averaged some type of fundraising event or activity every two months. We now hold an annual Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser to benefit a young person in need of an organ transplant. We also have annually run an Empty Bowls Soup Dinner to benefit a local charity.
We are contacted consistently by businesses and also by charitable organizations who are hoping to have Buffett nights, and want our help and attendance. We have participated in many of these either with fundraising efforts, or membership tables. We have a great core group of members who pitch in to help out on our events. As of this year, our club has raised a total of more than $50,000 and donated over 3,500 man-hours of volunteer service. Our Monthly “Bizness” Meetings are generally well-attended, with anywhere from 25 to 35 members present on average. In addition to these monthly meetings, we hold various social events. The club has entered a float in the county fair parade, entered a river raft in a local city raft race (and won best-overall raft), participated in Alzheimer’s and breast cancer walks, hosted various trop-rock musicians such as “The Whaleshark” at local bars as fundraisers, sent many members to Meeting of the Minds over the years, and attended many other Clubs’ events.
We have set up a great website which we are very proud of, and instituted a “Phirst Tuesday Phlocktail Hour” ,where we visit different local restaurants on the first Tuesday of each month for a strictly social gathering. We have recently begun partnering with another local charitable/social group of young adults on certain fundraisers and social gatherings. By continuing to offer a wide variety of both social and charitable events, and trying to appeal to various age groups and interest groups, our Parrot Head club hopes to continue to spread the message of Jimmy Buffett.
Visit us on the web at: http://www.parrotheadsinmichiana.org/
Carey Bert, President
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