Yes, snowbirds, spring has made its presence known here on the Emerald Coast. We learned a new meteorological term this past winter, as the Polar Vortex made its presence felt even here in our winter haven. It is a good thing that all the fun and friendship still created a warm season for the 1,973 members who joined the club this past year. Under the direction of President George Olson the club saw healthy growth as new members numbered 468. Membership was up over the past year, and the only statistic showing a decline was the percentage of Canadian members. Ontario still claims the most members at 362, with Michigan and Minnesota coming in second, both with 257.

One of the last tasks of the year for George was the presentation of a plaque of recognition to the club photographer David Harkness. David has been taking pictures of club events for more than 15 years, submitting them to newspapers, the website and compiling a photograph album for the outgoing presidents. Many thanks to David for his dedication over the years. Before leaving the stage George and Barbara were given life membership status in the Destin Snowbird Club in recognition of their years of service to the members.

The last gathering of the club has been held and, to the delight of the audience, the entertainment was provided by the newly formed group Beauty & the Beats. Look for them to perform at next year’s mixer party. Further details will come soon on

The office has been packed up and put into storage until next fall. Thanks to Paul, Bob and Ed for looking after this task, while the new board met to plan for next year. Welcome to new board members Dean Harper, 2nd VP, and Linda Zukonik and Dave Douglas, members at large. They join 1st Vice President Tom Franklin; Treasurer Ken Lemire, Publicity Director Sigrid Aeschleman; Web Master Gene Holzer; and incoming president Nancy Hewitt. Over the summer months the hunt will still be on for a secretary.

Paul Hewitt and the prize committee distributed approximately 2,000 prizes at the 21 meetings, Mixer Party, Fashion Show and Golf events. Thanks to the more than 250 vendors who contributed to our door prize pool this past year. A full listing of these generous sponsors is listed on our website. Vendors can check their email for notification as the team of 14 will again begin their rounds starting in October. The prize committee can be reached at

Planning is underway for the next season. Look for some new entertainment, and a return of old favorites. More trips are planned, including a Christmas excursion to Bellingrath Gardens, Dec. 16, bus trip to St. Augustine Fla., Jan. 21-23, 2015; as well as returning trips to New Orleans and a Western Caribbean Cruise. Information about all these excursions is available on the website or contact Creative Tours by Pat in Mary Ester at 850-243-7777.

On behalf of the board of 2014-15 and I, thank you again to all the members who supported our meetings and events, the volunteers who looked after activities, and the many good friends of the Destin Snowbird Club who reside here all year long. Safe travels to those who will be leaving soon, and best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2014 season here on the Emerald Coast.

Nancy Hewitt is the former publicity director and incoming president 2014-15.